Enterprise Mobile App Use: 8 Lessons Learnt in 2016

It’s the last few hours of 2016 and I’m sure we can all agree: what a year it’s been! No less because hundreds of new reports, analyzes and studies have been published about mobile and apps. Even us at Fliplet had a hard time keeping up with all the stats and facts.

So to make it easier on you and make sure you don’t miss out on the great lessons of the year, here’s our selection of the top 8.

1. The app economy is still growing, along with a mobile workforce

In 2016 we learned that the mobile workforce is still growing and hasn’t reached saturation yet. A study by Strategy Analytics predicts that by 2022, 1.87 billion people globally will be mobile, and the mobile market will grow from $74 billion to $128 billion.

And in business, mobile is also still to reach its full potential. Respondents in a study by Cognizant estimated that the impact of mobile will grow by another 105% by 2020. This seems to be a natural consequence of remote and flexible working becoming the norm, but also it’s due to “big demands and expectations from mobile and digital customers”, the study explains.

2. Enterprise apps are driving competitive advantage

Adobe’s Mobile App Report for 2016, which surveyed 1,500 people across 5 countries in companies with 1,000+ employees, found that the majority believe that if business aren’t using mobile apps, they’re at a competitive disadvantage. They go on to show, as per the graphic below, that without enterprise mobile apps organizations are at risk of less efficient operations and potential loss of clients and sales.

The Adobe Report for 2016 also gave us a snapshot of app usage levels in these companies, with 69% of respondents claiming their company has between 2 and 5 apps and 62% saying the number of apps in their company increased in the last year.

3. Businesses have mobiles, but no mobile strategy

A 2016 Lopez Research survey showed that over two-thirds of the surveyed IT managers list mobile-enabling their business in their top priorities. Despite this, under half had a formal mobile strategy in place.

The researchers suggest companies should take a phased approach to establishing a mobile strategy:

  • Phase 1: Extend existing apps to mobile
  • Phase 2: Advance capabilities of existing apps
  • Phase 3: Focus on mobile to reinvent business models and processes

An example of this would be to extend an expense tracking application to mobile, then advancing its capabilities to enable receipt picture capture, and then reinventing the process by approving or rejecting expenses automatically straight within the app.

Resource: If you would like to establish a mobile strategy, we recommend downloading Fliplet’s 10-step guide to adopting mobile.

4. Augmented reality and virtual reality isn’t a gimmick, it’s engaging content — but it’s still prohibitively expensive

According to the Juniper Research 2016 report Augmented Reality Not Just Fun And Games”, revenue from enterprise AR apps is set to increase tenfold by 2021, from $515 million in 2016 to $5.7 billion.

We think that in 2017 this will be a trend to watch, but perhaps not one to act on just yet if you don’t have the right budget to invest. Wearable displays such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Samsung’s Gear VR2 will drive content, but the costs of app development and the devices themselves are likely to deter many, at least for now. It’s undeniable, though, that the thought of using AR and VR in the enterprise to increase productivity is an exciting one and we can already see countless applications.

5. Apps are the new corporate publishing channels but they cannot exist in isolation

We recently saw that Bloomberg is investing heavily on their app channel. Apps are capable of “delivering personalised content to users in a more seamless and controllable fashion than what’s currently available on the mobile web and inside social platforms” explained Scott Havens, Head of Digital at Bloomberg. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

But the lesson we learnt this year is that apps cannot exist in isolation. Businesses are now investing in making their desktop and mobile experiences interconnected through integrations, and mobile apps should not be left out.

Not many app providers are able to create apps that are mobile native but that you can also open on desktop computers, but companies should strive to find the suppliers that can do this in order to save time and resources (we know one of them).

6. Time-to-content is improving

Mobile enterprise apps are reliant on good network performance. Ericsson’s latest mobility report shows that a minimum uplink speed of about 300 kbps is required for good time-to-content. Network performance can be used to monitor and manage app coverage.

In 2017, assess your network to make sure you’re getting the best uplink and downlink speeds available in your area to make the most of your mobile enterprise apps.

7. Mobile app SEO has increased in importance (and will continue to do so)

In 2016, Google announced that they’ll be increasing their emphasis on a mobile-first algorithm. This means that in 2017 businesses will need to incorporate a combination of SEO and ASO (app store optimization) into enterprise content to improve exposure. This is particularly important for client-facing and marketing apps.

Mobile App SEO 1

Titles, descriptions, and device keywords will all count, but app performance will also be critical. Increasing your ratings and your downloads will become more important than ever in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Learn more from our blog post on how to optimize your mobile app SEO through organic search.

8. Enterprises who have adopted the concept of a Mobile Center of Excellence (MCoE) are thriving

Organizations who have taken measures to implement a dedicated committee of people across a company’s departments to ensure that mobile is being used and optimized (widely known as Mobile Center of Excellence) have flourished in 2016.

Recent research indicates that organizations can drive mobile app adoption through enterprise by using strategies such as:

  • enabling mobile access to critical enterprise systems
  • using enterprise app stores to help users find apps
  • internally promoting mobile apps across an organization, and
  • providing support and assistance to mobile users

These techniques can essentially be accomplished to a higher standard if the organization in question has a Mobile Center of Excellence in place. The individuals who sit on the committee should range from C-Suite members to those who actually create the mobile apps themselves. This ensures that mobile adoption and optimization is encouraged at all levels of the organization, and increases the scope which the mobile apps have to reach new users internally.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the lessons 2016 has taught us about mobile use in the enterprise, and where we expect 2017 to take us. If you think we’ve missed anything, why not let us know by leaving a comment below?

Bonus: Check out our list of our favorite enterprise apps from the past 12 months.