My partner, Dave, and I have been developing software for two decades and over that time we have seen a lot of trends. The most, previously notable event was when the client server paradigm was toppled by the internet revolution. It changed the way people behaved and thought about access to software – it was a very cool time. Despite how progressive that change was in the late 1990s, the complete adoption of mobile devices by business users has easily eclipsed my internet excitement.
As software development business owners, we are often confronted with questions regarding ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘why’ many of our clients are feverishly asking us to help build their business mobile apps while some others aren’t quite sure what all the ‘fuss’ is about. Well, here are some of the best reasons smart businesses are building mobile apps and why…
C’mon. This one is obvious. Everyone – EVERYONE – has a smartphone and they take it everywhere they go - actually, 72%, according to the U.S. Digital Consumer Report of 2016. Listen, I don’t see too many people walking around town with their desktop computers. So, appreciate the significance of the opportunity to keep your employees and customers connected to your business. By the way, I’m not talking about the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) ‘trend’ or the validity of the trend as it applies to laptops and tablets and whatever. I mean, everyone has a mobile phone, and in business, they are smart phones and they are dying to connect with you.
Everyone is busy. When is the last time you heard someone say they weren’t? People are always looking to save time and get their work done. Many companies begin their mobile strategy by converting or leveraging their company’s Intranet or portal but that method ‘adds’ a step to getting them connected to you. Further, it goes against the trends. Smart phone users spend 80% of their ‘online time’ on apps versus websites. In a 2016 survey by e-marketer.com, one-third of users stated that they prefer mobile apps because they provide a better user experience, that apps offer access to more features and capabilities and that push notifications and in-app alerts are useful. Build something your customers and employees will use.
So, you have an opportunity to reevaluate your process and your software when you go mobile. It’s kind of like making your own ‘greatest hits’ record. I don’t want to ‘nerd’ this up too much but through APIs (Application Programming Interface) developers can interact with multiple systems. This means you can select the ‘best of the best’ features from systems that you would like your customers and employees to have while roaming the world.
So many companies say they do something to stay ahead of the competition. That’s great. It demonstrates how progressive the company is and how aware they are of trends within their market. However, when it comes to making your company mobile and creating mobile apps, businesses have to act right now just to ‘keep up’ with the competition. In fact, in 2015, 68% of businesses had plans to develop one or more. It gets even more important when you think about where the ‘techies’ are putting their effort and resources. There are far more initiatives in syntax and development tools to accommodate mobile application development than any other distribution platform. From BLE and iBeacon to IoT, new technologies are geared for the mobile user. Are you going to be one?
5. Cost vs ROI:
The most popular apps our company has been engaged with are around Sales Operations, Productivity, and Service & Delivery. These are pretty broad areas but the point is this: A great user experience and efficient technology give a big ROI. I think this point is really obvious.
Still not convinced?
While the use cases for a business app are endless, let's consider this example to illustrate the potential for ROI. Let’s say you have 100 employees (to keep the numbers simple) and a mobile app costs your company 100K – it’s a Sales Operations app, by the way. It does lots of really cool stuff like, video product demos, connects to your CRM, generates a quote and has ‘one button’ order placement. It’s easy and cool so all 10 salespeople use it. Sound reasonable?
Now let’s make some conservative assumptions. Let’s say your product costs 100 dollars and your sales cycle takes 5 days due to process steps. So, your sales team currently sells 10M annually.
Based on those assumptions and the assumption that by using the app versus your traditional methods, your sales guys save about 30 minutes a day. Therefore you should expect:
- 25 hours per week will be saved by the Sales Team which could reduce your Sales Cycle from 5 days to 3.1 days.
- The Sales Cycle reduction increases Sales volume by 38% (5 days to 3.1)
- Applied to 10M, that is 3.8M increase.
- ROI: 37 X Cost of development.
How about Now?
The bottom line is, if you haven’t yet embarked on developing a mobile app for your business, you should get started. But remember, the keys to acquiring great ROI as illustrated in the above example, are user interface and user experience. Investing in the development of an app that isn’t “easy and cool” will have a direct impact on the return you achieve.
Craig Lamb is co-founder and Chief Information Officer at Envative, a company dedicated to improving business efficiencies and reducing cost through process automation. Envative offers complete service in the areas of custom software development, web and mobile application development as well as technical consulting.