Mobile devices have become a huge part of the world’s personal and professional lives. With people checking their smartphones over 100 times a day, it would be ill-advised to not incorporate them into the business setting.
They are revolutionizing business software just as laptops did when they first came out. More than ever before, information needs to be right at the fingertips of every business leader out there and SaaS applications are the best way to do that. Without it their business could easily fall behind in their effectiveness.
The biggest mistake for most companies when they try to make their tools and website mobile friendly is making a purely web-based application. Multiple problems can arise with a web-based app on a smartphone. It can become a nightmare for users to navigate if not properly organized for mobile and actually getting users to the information they need is almost impossible.
Some might say that there a lot more benefits to a mobile website rather than a mobile app, but the cons definitely outweigh the pros when looked at from a usability standpoint.
The biggest pro to a mobile website is the immediacy that it offers over a mobile app. An app needs to be sought out and downloaded. A website can be pulled up with any device as long as they have a web browser (which most, if not all, do).
Some other small advantages include the sites’ ability to be found and shared. It’s a lot harder for an app to be searched through the usual places like Google or Yahoo. A website is easily found and clicked on when searched. Then, once found, it’s a lot easier for users to grab a web URL to share across social or other mediums than to share an app.
How could a web-based application not be the better option?
Information Organization is Chaos
Business software is generally organized into a somewhat complicated tabs system. Web-based SFA applications are no exception.
“The tabs often have very rich information, which can be navigated quite easily with a browser on a laptop. The problem is that smartphones do not have the screen real estate to navigate this rich information, and salespeople don’t have the time to navigate data to accomplish their task.”
This is just one example of how it can be chaotic if not done properly. A lot of sites are going mobile with this surge of smartphone usage, but without the specific development of a mobile app it’s hard to guarantee the best organization across devices.
Finding that Information Quickly Becomes Impossible
Ever hear the expression, “Time is money”? If you have someone out in the field trying to make a sale and they can’t find the information they need, you could be looking at losing thousands of dollars, depending on the size of that potential sale.
So, instead of having that salesperson hunting around a web-based business application on their mobile for information that could prepare them for a meeting or aid in one that they’re already in, there should be a mobile application that is designed specifically for the easy access of all resources and sales tools. The goal is to have them reach that information in 60 seconds or less, according to Gartner.
What To Do
What to do. What possible solution could solve all of these problems despite some of those pros?
Oh yeah. This is the age of the mobile app. If your business doesn’t have a mobile app then you’re falling behind with the times. For B2C companies this is especially true.
Customers need a place where they can easily access information about your company and have the ability to buy your product from wherever they are.
Going back to our salesperson example, Gartner says, “best practice would be to provide a salesperson with an application that enables them to update the sales opportunity, perform any follow up activities in the time it takes them to walk from the meeting to their car in the parking lot.”
But where to start? What do you need to make a successful application?
- Looking specifically at a business SFA application, the mobile app needs to be designed around the sales activity, not the system objects. This could mean that custom mobile apps need to be made.
- Make sure that any data that needs to be input into the app or viewed is constrained to the optimal amount of time a salesperson should be using the app.
- Ensure that any/all data is well-integrated with the back-end SFA application.
- Be sure to leverage push notification for key, relevant data. Push “should be configured by the users as to the desired information for notification,” says Gartner.
Flurry reported, “the data tells a clear story that apps, which were considered a mere fad a few years ago, are completely dominating mobile, and the browser has become a single application swimming in a sea of apps.”
Based on what we see from our customers, we expect that app usage will be at 90% or above in 2015.
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