More and more companies are adopting mobile-based enterprise solutions to capitalize on the fundamental value of streamlining internal processes.
Unique capabilities of mobile apps, such as location-based features, messaging, and notifications as well as their active usage in the connected world mean that enterprises can use them to improve productivity in multiple ways. The shift to mobile apps is also inseparable from other important innovative practices, like cloud computing, big data, AI, and the growth of the remote workforce.
This article reviews some of the key technological trends in the corporate landscape and the ways mobile enterprise app adoption helps organizations keep up with the changing world. To avoid confusion, here the term ‘enterprise app’ means employee-facing apps (with or without a customer-facing component) that are intended to improve internal processes.
Security remains the most important concern for enterprises
Enterprises are now under double pressure.
On the one hand, they need to deal with the heightened risks of cyberattacks that surged 2,000% for connected industrial systems and operational technologies, according to IBM 2020 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index.
On the other hand, it’s not just threats from hackers that enterprises have to mitigate. With the GDPR and the CCPA implemented, the growing emphasis is on privacy and personal data protection that envelops encryption, authentication, and data storage.
It requires a stringent security system that should be flexible enough to deal with the rapid changes characteristic of enterprise mobility. To relieve this double pressure and provide both efficiency and agility, enterprises tend to combine their native security systems with third-party security products.
SaaS and IaaS dominate the market
Public cloud services are seizing the market. Gartner predicts that SaaS will remain the largest segment of the public cloud services market, with IaaS being the second. The main projected development is the rapid year-to-year IaaS growth of 24%.
There are a few reasons why SaaS keeps its market share. First, the OOTB functionality allows putting app-specific solutions to work immediately with minimum settings. Second, SaaS apps often make good additions to existing systems. Take, for instance, a retail POS where salespeople are able to sell via their smartphones or tablets right from the shopping floor. And last but not least, smartphones are irrevocably replacing legacy hardware. Barcode scanning and payment processing, for example, no longer require dedicated equipment.
What’s more, micro-SaaS companies, dedicated to solving one specific problem, are able to provide highly-performing, feature-rich solutions instead of one all-encompassing legacy system to handle various tasks, from accounts to employee timekeeping.
As for the rapid IaaS growth, it can be explained by its gigantic potential for scalability, flexibility, and self-service. Plus, as mobile app development experts from Iflexion say, businesses believe that IaaS may translate into lower costs if used strategically: it’s possible to acquire resources on-demand and pay for what is actually used.
Smart offices and automation are fueling demand
Smart offices are inherently about using technology to improve productivity and boost safety. A connected workplace unifies operations under one system and empowers that system with machine-learning capabilities. In line with this, businesses can get more productivity while keeping employees content, as well as analyze a vast amount of data to make more informed decisions.
Mobile enterprise apps are a vital addition for smart spaces because they provide a higher degree of employee autonomy and help deal with specific issues away from a computer, like addressing problems with machines on the factory floor.
When investing in mobile enterprise apps, organizations also invest in AI solutions, a great portion of which is designed for mobile, from virtual assistants to speech recognition.
What’s more, enterprise mobility is fueling new working habits. Employees can now spend significant periods of time out of the office or even work remotely full-time while staying in the loop with the help of mobile enterprise apps. Mobile apps also increase office usability by facilitating the booking of meeting rooms, finding available desks for ad-hoc tasks, creating a parking management system, and accumulating space usage analytics.
Enterprises tap into the power of big data
Few enterprises now operate without leveraging big data. While big data is a critical component in providing an excellent customer experience, its applications for employees are no less useful.
Mobile enterprise apps, as an intrinsic part of the connected space, actively accumulate valuable analytics. For example, apps collect data about employee performance, which allows pinpointing process inefficiencies, predicting any major issues, and evaluate KPIs of specific departments.
Mobile apps also contribute to connecting corporate silos. They let different departments contribute to the unified database and share valuable insights company-wide as well as access critical data anytime from anywhere.
Accessible frameworks foster internal development
While there is a variety of third-party apps for solving challenges common for almost all enterprises, like accounting, many companies enjoy the benefits of apps developed in-house for company-specific tasks.
Hybrid app frameworks like Ionic and Flutter provide tools that allow developers to quickly and inexpensively put together an app covering a specific process. It can go as far as making an app for a one-off event. As employee-facing enterprise apps rarely focus on aesthetics, it’s possible to eschew a lot of the development steps and save time using APIs.
Summing it up
Boundaries between mobile and desktop apps are blurring. As portable technologies like tablets and smartphones become more advanced, this distinction continues to fade out. Luckily, enterprise mobile apps help businesses of all types adapt to these changes and boost employee performance by automating processes, enhancing workplace usability, and providing quick solutions to arising problems.
Mary Dorogokupets is a Mobility Researcher at Iflexion, a Denver-based software development company. She focuses on emerging technologies in mobile app development, AR/VR adoption by enterprises, and mobile-first digital transformation.