The Most Important Business Tool of the Future: The Mobile App


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article, originally published on April 16, 2013, placed at No. 20 in our 20 most popular articles of the year.

ADOTAS — Today we are in a transition in the way we work and the tools we use to work. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, there has been a growing shift in the technology businesses use. There is no question that there is a growing demand for accessing enterprise systems and executing day-to-day activities via mobile devices, but now there is a growing demand for smarter and more specific applications. According to research conducted by Harvard Business Review and SAP, 52% of business executives surveyed have already deployed business apps across departmental lines of business, while 58% are beginning to deploy more industry-specific apps. As new technologies become available across mobile devices, this demand will grow even more.

The recent Samsung Galaxy S4 launch and its lauded technological specs is a fantastic example of how far mobile devices have come — and what is yet in store. Mobile devices are becoming more connected than ever — with new technologies such as the cloud, mobile devices are able to sync and work with nearly all of our electronic devices. New gesture-based interfaces such as speech recognition, eye tracking and movement sensors will enable mobile devices to take commands from various impressions and additional layers of capabilities.

But what does this mean for enterprise apps? We see more complex and connected apps than ever before.  Analysts and other industry influencers have already predicted that 2013 will be the year that enterprise apps finally take centre stage, as increasingly, organizations look to utilize business apps to offer new services, improve existing services and increase productivity. Enterprise app developers are taking advantage of technological innovations and making best use of the cloud, gesture-based interfaced and more to offer better business apps than before: now we are able to do more collaboration, have more layers of technology such as speech recognition, to enable more complex functionalities. As rapid advances in technology, capabilities and mobility become more widely available across next generation business apps and mobile technology, we will eventually see the desktop software we utilize today become obsolete in the enterprise as apps become one of the most crucial components of enterprise technology.

New technology in mobile devices will enable Apps to have greater capabilities than desktop software

The main factor that has been inhibiting today’s apps from becoming more advanced than desktop software is that they still function on separate silos with limited-to-no interaction between different apps. Once apps can link with each other seamlessly, we will truly begin to see desktop use for enterprise become obsolete. We’re beginning to see this shift with the integration of the cloud. As mobile becomes more integrated with the cloud, enterprise apps will enable more collaborative work and consumption — not only will we be able to share, rent, borrow, gift products and services with low friction transactions (as we can already see with marketplace apps such as AirBnB), we’ll also be able to have the same open collaboration when working on complex enterprise projects with co-workers. Multiple people will be able to work seamlessly on the same document or analyze the same set of client data simultaneously.

We’ll also be seeing more technology on mobile devices that won’t be seen on the same scale on desktops: gesture-based interfaces and proximity-based communications. With these new technologies, the next generation enterprise apps will likely include more layers of capabilities to existing apps: automatic speech integration with text recording for conference calls, location-based services for enterprise customers, increased automation and more. With all these different components working together, enterprise apps will able to conduct services and features in a single step, such as combining files from different formats into one PDF, which PCs can only do with multiple steps. With this ease of functionality and increase of uses, we’ll see apps doing more complex tasks than what even PCs can manage.

Specialized Apps will cater to specific industries and lines of business

The growth, variety and increased layers of technology that will soon be available across mobile devices will give way to even more specialized enterprise apps for specific industries and areas of enterprise — for example, there will be apps made specifically for sales and customer service, human resources project management and more. For sales professionals we will see apps that will utilize proximity-based technology and cloud-based collaboration to locate potential customers, send contracts and finalize billings. For professionals looking to improve CRM, they will likely have apps that integrate speech recognition, along with cloud-based location services into apps to provide more personalized customer services. Specialized apps for human resources will be able to collaborate across a number of other apps and services to manage employees’ manager feedback, salaries and benefits all at the push of a button. As our devices continue to become more connected, targeted and smarter, there is no doubt that enterprise apps will be one of the most important tools for businesses.


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