Few would dispute the importance of the web as a channel – from marketing communications to online sales, supply chain management and bespoke internal communications, web technologies are part of the daily life of today’s company.

So it’s remarkable that many businesses pay almost no attention to a channel that commands significantly more time and attention than the web. That channel is mobile, and specifically mobile apps.

The time we spend on our smartphones now surpasses desktop web time, with apps accounting for 86% of that mobile usage: in fact the average smartphone owner now spends over 2 hours a day on various mobile apps. It’s clear that the app channel is one you can’t afford to ignore.

Mobile apps can transform your business wherever they’re deployed – whether engaging with customers, managing business partners and the supply chain, or building internal apps to save time and paperwork for employees. But how can businesses take that first step into mobile app development, without a significant up-front investment in skills and technology?

The Salesforce Platform extends the potential for mobile app development across the enterprise, giving you the ability to build and customise your own apps using intuitive drag and drop tools, wizards and forms.

Armed with open APIs, one-click deployment and simple legacy integration, you can conceptualise, build and launch apps at high speed – responding to business needs faster than ever before.

See Salesforce Platform in Action:

When it comes to customer communications it’s beyond doubt that mobile apps are firmly in the mainstream. Apple’s App Store has over 1.2 million apps available, has supported over 75 billion downloads and receives 300 million visits each week. And even these figures only tell half the story, with the Google Play platform for Android now touting nearly 1.5 million apps itself.

Revolutionary companies such as Uber and Airbnb have built their entire business models around apps, taking advantage of the ubiquity of connected devices – the Internet of Things.

With smartphones capable of providing everything from location-based services to high-speed streaming and social integration, apps that make innovative use of the technology are changing entire industries.

The opportunity is there to take customer-facing mobile apps far beyond a basic content delivery platform, offering real mobile-native experiences that change how your customers see you.

With an integrated platform such as Salesforce, the apps you build can pass real, valuable data to and from your CRM system – giving you a solid platform for everything from campaign-specific marketing apps to true multi-channel customer service.

See how the global tool manufacturer customised the Salesforce1 Mobile App to provide mobile service requests direct from trucks on the road.

Of course it isn't just consumers who organise their lives through a mobile device. Your business customers and suppliers do too – and you can make their lives easier by providing mobile apps for supply chain management, maintenance, ordering, support and more.

For example, a logistics app can track deliveries with an automatic connection to the driver's GPS. The customer acknowledges receipt with an app on the driver's tablet, which updates your back-end systems over the internet. And you can view the real-time data on your phone, drilling down in as much detail as you need with customised apps and reports.

For many businesses, the mobile app revolution starts at home. From marketing to IT, finance to operations, once you start thinking mobile-first you'll find the potential for using mobile to move your business faster is amazing.

How about an inspection app that captures images of a faulty part and instantly raises an order for repair or replacement? Or an HR onboarding app that automates the process of recruiting, training and managing the orientation of new employees? Would your sales team benefit from a quoting app to increase sales throughput and improve the quality of your leads?

The advantages for customer service are obvious – using a common mobile app linked to an online platform means issues can be tracked and resolved by agents spread across the world, in the field or in call centres. Customers can even submit issues using a customer-facing version of the same app.

Building this app-rich work environment needn't be difficult. Salesforce Platform is a suite of point-and-click tools that makes creating custom apps lightning-fast. Combine it with the Salesforce1 mobile app, a ready-made power tool for running your business from your phone, to connect your whole business on one standard, mobile-ready platform.

The right mobile app strategy can deliver benefits right across the enterprise, solving business problems faster and fuelling innovation. Whether it’s giving the CEO mobile access to live business dashboards or replacing paper-based vehicle inspections, making use of existing smartphone and tablet technology simply makes sound business sense.

Salesforce Platform is a set of fast, powerful, cloud-based tools that can be used to build apps at unprecedented speed – whether or not you're a developer. Out of the box you have a powerful workflow engine, API services, integration services, authentication, event log framework, analytics and collaboration services.

I can run the business from my phone and that's changed my life. ”

JOHN EDELMAN | CEO, DESIGN WITHIN REACH

It includes the Lightning App Builder, giving you the ability to create powerful apps with drag-and-drop components that are instantly ready for any platform – from desktop to smart watch.

You can go in-depth with code or use ready-made components to build your apps – it's up to you. Integration is simpler than ever before, with point-and-click access to external sources including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and more.

Already using Salesforce in your business? You'll have the added benefit of a common infrastructure and APIs, and because your people already know the system you'll find adoption rates are high too.

And the business payoff? According to IDC, the Salesforce Platform delivers:

  • 70% faster app development
  • 80% more apps developed
  • 520% ROI

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