The mobile revolution is incomparable to any other technological wave in terms of speed and magnitude. Based on the data prepared by social media agency WeAreSocialSG, there are more than 6.5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide as of the beginning of 2014, with most of the users owning more than one subscription.
In addition, the global enterprise mobility market will rake in $140 billion a year by 2020, meaning that there is a predicted 15% annual growth in revenue for the next seven years (via Visage Mobile). In addition, this report by IBM Worklight states that 75% of Fortune 500 companies are taking steps to deploy HTML5 mobile apps.
These trends present enormous meaning and potential for businesses. Organizations need to arm a new generation of the workforce with powerful applications to make their work lives easier, and be mobile enough to meet customers where they are. Users are leading the revolution and companies have to adapt to it. Big names around the globe show that this is indeed happening.
Let’s take a look at three questions we had to answer when we were working on our application:
Our Mobile Sales App differs from the online system on a very fundamental level, as it is not only a reflection of the web software. Both platforms have divergent and varying functionalities with different purposes in mind for users.
For example, our mobile app functions mainly as a sales ordering app that also doubles up as a mobile catalogue, allowing salespeople to get on the road, whereas the online software aids inventory and stock management. However, the web platform and the mobile app are integrated and automatically synchronize the data between them.
This fleshes out an important consideration for businesses hopping on the mobile app enterprise bandwagon: by how much should your app be differentiated from your web platform and by how much should they be integrated?
If you plan on pumping resources into developing a standalone enterprise mobile app, take into account that the application may depend tremendously on the platform that it is integrated with.
As an illustration, Mailbox, a mobile email and collaboration tool, rides on top of pre-existing email service and is integrated with the user’s inbox.
Similarly, our co-founders had initial plans of building a mobile app instead of a web platform, but shelved the idea for development later on upon realizing that the mobile app could not be entirely independent without support or integration with existing infrastructure.
As of now, the mobile app acts as a differentiated product from the online system, but is powered and supported with the backing of the latter.
Ask yourself whether building mobile apps should come before launching mobile websites. Generally speaking, companies invest in mobile-optimized websites to build a mobile web presence, while apps are developed for very specific purposes that cannot be effectively accomplished through a web browser.
It all boils down to the type of service you are looking to provide; developing mobile apps would work better for enterprise software vendors as studies have shown that users prefer mobile apps for managing data, navigation, and connecting with others.
Clara Lu is an Inbound Marketer at TradeGecko, where it’s all about providing tools to power up efficiency and eliminate monkey work for businesses. TradeGecko is set to make Supply Chain Management a breeze by building easy to use platforms for transactions between wholesalers and distributors, automatically integrating all the backend operations. They recently launched their Mobile Sales App, a convenient mobile app specially designed for sales people to get orders on the road with the backing of the TradeGecko Cloud-based inventory management system.
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