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If You Build It, They Will Come

As an IT leader, you have read the articles and have gone to the conferences where presenter after presenter has stood up and discussed how important it is for enterprises to develop a mobile strategy in order to ensure a competitive advantage and enable a more productive workforce.  Getting back from these presentations, you have worked to create a mobile strategy that identifies the outcomes you need to deliver both to your employees and customers, opportunities to use mobile technologies to support those outcomes and the best ways to achieve success.
At some point in time, you will need to decide what type of mobile app to create that is both useful and valuable in order to jumpstart your mobile initiative. As part of your mobile strategy, you have identified key areas where mobility could be most impactful. If you are unsure, there was recently a survey published by IDC/IFS  that polled 450 CIO/CTO/CEO executives and the dominant mobile app desired was CRM.
The study shows that the top-three business apps companies would like on their smartphones are:

  1. Customer relationship management (CRM)—31 percent of companies indicate CRM (e.g. management of sales, contracts, activities, and opportunities) is the mobile business app that would most significantly impact their business.
  2. Business Intelligence (BI)—13 percent of the respondents favored BI capabilities, for example KPIs and reporting.
  3. Approvals and Authorizations—10 percent chose functionality such as approval of requisitions, purchase orders, and supplier invoices as the most wanted business app.

CRM is an ideal as an initial mobile app for an enterprise due to following factors:

  • immediate boost to sales productivity which impacts the bottom line and gets the attention of key leaders in the organization of how mobile can impact their organizations.
  • is aggressive enough in terms of functionality and visibility that it requires key skilled people such as UX Architects and Visual Designers which sets the bar for follow-on mobile applications.
  • ties into corporate data which means that key conversations around API’s, existing services, and service security are held with key stakeholders rather than ignored.

One danger of using CRM is that that the CRM space is complex and the most successful mobile apps are those that accomplish one or two tasks incredibly well.  As designers and developers, we have a tendency to place a considerable amount of functionality into whatever application we are creating.  As with most mobile apps, it would be better to identify a single key task, release the app and let the app evolve as the sales team works with the CRM app and provides feedback.


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Perry Hoekstra

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