By Dan Stevens on March 18, 2014
Mobile applications have become part of our daily lives. As consumers, we already enjoy the benefits of productivity apps. Every time you log into your online banking app and transfer money or pay a bill, you’re helping your bank be more productive. They don’t need to provide a teller or customer service. You are completely self-serve via your mobile device.
Can you imagine if your bank had decided they were too busy to worry about a mobile strategy? Being forced to speak with a teller or go through the cumbersome task of logging into a full browser website on your smart phone? Neither would be as quick as the point and click that a mobile app provides.
The same principles are changing the way enterprise views productivity applications. Lets look at some of the key areas that are driving the use of productivity applications.
There are tremendous benefits to having a constantly accessible, and productive, workforce. With no PC chaining your team to a desk, they have all the information and work capabilities they need wherever they are. This flexibility opens a whole new world of efficiency and procedural improvements.
For instance, with a mobile app, field workers can now fill out forms more quickly. Work orders can be pre-populated and sent as a dispatch to technicians in the field. Sales people can submit their expenses while still on the road. Contractors can provide potential customers estimates as they finish a walkthrough of the client’s house. Productivity apps not only make it easier, but they make the processes companies have faster than ever.
Outside of the productivity gains of increased mobility, there exists the opportunity to reimagine the way you do business. The car, for instance, made it easy for salespeople to have larger territories. Each sales person could make more sales, and companies needed fewer employees. Mobile apps provide new opportunities to reimagine business and how they use information.
One way enterprises are using productivity apps is with data entry. For years, companies had entire groups of employees devoted to this redundant task. By switching to a productive mobile app, information is submitted once. Then, it can be integrated with a database easily with a csv file or using API webservices. The savings in time and work for enterprises cannot be ignored. Demmer, one large manufacturing company, saves 300 hours a year by switching to a mobile app.
Where could a mobile app improve efficiency? Do you have other tasks which could be taken out of the Stone Age and moved to mobile? Don’t let the task at hand blind you from the task that could be no more through a productivity application.
We don’t all have the same standards when it comes to completing paperwork. Some people do it right away, while others wait letting the documents pile up. Legibility of handwriting is an issue as well. Some people have perfect print, and others look more like chicken scrawl. Manually entering data, an inefficient process, becomes even harder with these issues.
Productivity apps can offer capabilities to raise the quality and standardized your data. Businesses can make fields required to ensure proper data collection, auto fill fields that remove data entry mistakes and increase speed of completion. All of the text is typed, removing the need to translate illegible handwriting.
Before you bring on a business changing solution like a productivity app, there are some simple steps to find out what will best serve your businesses goals and needs.
Why do you want a productivity application? There has to be a reason. There must be a NEED that it fulfills. You may discover other areas of your business would benefit by going mobile too. Answer this question will help you to prioritize your efforts and maximize your benefits. Don’t sell yourself short. Take the time to really think about it.
Make sure what you're doing to save time, actually saves you time (XKCD)
So you think you found the right application? That’s great! But what do your workers think? Everyone has different levels of technology-know-how. More importantly, they will be using this app every day. Taking their experience and knowledge into account will ensure that your workers actually use this shiny new solution. User experience can determine an app’s success or failure. So keep your workers in mind, nothing kills productivity more than a solution that is uselessly complex.
Whether you are the local plumber or largest retailer in the county there are benefits to be had by utilizing productivity apps as part of your mobility strategy. The only limit is how far you want to integrate them into your company.