Over the last 12 months I’ve surveyed over 700 companies, asking them if they have developed any mobile apps internally to help them with such things as supply chain management, logistics, purchasing, maintenance, service, or sales support. At this point, only 4% said “yes,” which is very low considering how many smart phones and tablets are in use by businesses of all sizes today.
The second question and answer was even more enlightening: “Do you think that at least half the businesses in your industry will have their own mobile apps for functions like that within the next two years?” The response was amazing: 100% agree that half of the businesses in their industry would. Let’s face it, two years is a short amount of time considering there’s such a low percent of mobile apps for business functions today.
So, what does all this mean for your business? It means that mobile apps designed by businesses for their internal use and competitive advantage will explode over the next two years. Therefore, all business leaders need to ask themselves: “Two years from now, do I want to be one of the companies that is not developing mobile apps to transform business processes?” Once you see the hard trends driving this software revolution, it would be hard to answer “no.”
Remember, a hard trend will happen; a soft trend might happen. The hard trend is that businesses will be developing mobile apps customized for their company for various functions. The soft trend is whether your company will be one of them.
Here’s something else to consider: The number of smart phones and tablets in all sizes of companies has obviously exploded in the last couple of years, and this hard trend is picking up speed. At the same time, the cost of being able to deploy business intelligence in every function is dropping off a cliff just as the capability of our smart devices, of our wireless and wired networks, and of both private and public clouds grows. So with costs decreasing and capabilities increasing, the time to act is now. The question is, “How?”
The key is to assess whether you have the in-house capabilities to develop mobile apps. Some companies do, and some companies don’t. It depends on the size of the business and your IT department. However, a lot of young people do have the capabilities needed. Therefore, I would suggest that you hire or “rent a kid.” In other words, if you don’t already employ some talented young people who have both the interest and knowledge to develop mobile apps, it’s time to bring some in. They have a lot of present and future value to offer.
You need to get ready for the mobile business app revolution now. Remember, we have two revolutions taking place: a hardware revolution (where our primary personal computer is shifting to our mobile devices like smart phones and tablets) and a software revolution (which is the mobile apps that will run on those devices). That means the rise of mobile apps for all business functions is a hard trend you can’t ignore. So you need to have the core competency of developing your own mobile apps that can give you competitive advantage, rather than relying on off-the-shelf apps you and your competitors can get through various app stores. The companies that transform their business processes using mobility will achieve new levels of success. The time for business process transformation is now.