The growth of smartphones in the consumer market has triggered many companies to evaluate how they can integrate apps into the corporate environment. Mark Mason, CEO of Mubaloo, the UK’s largest app developer for businesses explains; “It’s now clear that organisations have a lot to gain from the growth of smartphones. Many companies are beginning to realise how apps will be able to facilitate the day-to-day operation of a number of their business processes.”
“In the last couple of years Mubaloo have worked with several large organisations developing a variety of apps which work across different parts of their enterprise. Essentially these apps are all about improving cross-company communication, collaboration, project management, business process improvement and, of course, marketing”.
“As many of these companies have similar problems, Mubaloo have put together a suite of apps which can be white labelled. These range from the timesheet app, to the CEO ‘message of the day’ app to a financial dashboard app. We have highlighted about 20 apps which cover many of the fundamental processes that every large corporate has to deal with on a day-to-day basis.”
“A big decision that company boards will also have to make this year is whether to support the myriad of mobile devices in the market, such as iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft Phone 7, or stick to one particular platform across the whole company. This would mean many employees may have to double up on their devices; one mobile for private use, one for business. We’re also seeing a big take up in the Apple iPad as a presentation tool for many sales departments.”
Another issue Mason highlights is security. As well as giving employees access to sensitive corporate information through company apps, it will also be necessary to remove access to these apps if the employee leaves the business. Mason continues, “Mubaloo are working with a number of mobile security companies such as Sybase and Juniper, to enable our app suite to run on a platform which will ensure security of corporate information.”
He concludes, “Most organisations are now planning or developing apps that market their products or services. Some have also recognised the significant benefit that apps can also bring to their internal operations. Our job is to make sure they develop the right apps for their business that work hand-in-hand with their employees, as seamlessly as possible.”
Here are a few examples of the sort of apps Mubaloo believe corporates will be using in the future:
1) The brand extension app: currently the most common app in many businesses. These are extensions to policies & campaigns generally targeting customers and prospects.
2) The locator app: Using the GPS on the smartphone, the device will identify the offices that colleagues are in or notify when individuals are in specific locations.
3) Organogram app: Who’s who and who does what in your company. Could include photos, roles, skillsets & hobbies. Could help connect individuals or help managers build teams.
4) Induction app: Specifically for new employees to help them with corporate orientation, office locations, company policies, etc..
5) Dashboard app: Most businesses use a variety of dashboards to run their operations. Smartphones are a way of extending this to a greater number of employees improving the business decision making process across the enterprise.
6) CEO app: A way for the CEO to give their ‘thought for the day’, the company share price, the 4 top prospects, 4 recent wins, etc..
7) Expenses app: A simple way to keep track of expenses and the clients to charge them against.
8) Timesheet app: A way to control projects and the people working on them. Includes an in-app signing off procedure.
9) Benefits app: An app that keeps employees informed of their benefits and a way to change them as their priorities change. Could also help employees locate healthcare, childcare and company negotiated discounts with local shops, hotels, restaurants, etc..
10) Holiday app: Allows employees to book holidays, search on colleagues’ holidays and highlight potential team clashes.
11) Presentation apps: Keep company presentations up-to-date and in one place. Presentations can be downloaded via a company-wide ‘presentation store’.
12) Training app: Similar to the presentation app but for internal training, on-going personal development programmes, etc..
13) Newsletter app: Keeps all employees up-to-date with company-wide news and events.
14) Shareholder app: Keeps all shareholders, analysts and investment managers up to date with corporate financial information.
15) Travel & itineraries app: Enables the employee to book directly with the company travel supplier who would use the device to deliver a full travel itinerary.
16) Vote app: Could enable cross-company voting on specific corporate issues.
17) Conference call app: New tablet type devices will support conference calling with obvious corporate benefits that will bring.
18) Business development app: Keeps a track of clients and prospects.
19) Project collaboration app: A way to schedule projects and collaborate with colleagues.
20) Meeting Room booking app: A way to solve that indomitable problem.
These are just a few examples how companies will start to engage with their smartphones and tablets.