Bringing The Customer Experience Into The Enterprise

Rick Knowles

Digital is more than just a technology; it’s a new way of operating your business. In order for your company to reach its full potential, you need leaders who see the broader picture through a digital lens.

Mobile technology is the driving force behind digital transformation in business these days, so leaders need to grasp the full potential of mobile enterprise apps and understand how they can benefit the company and end users – whether they’re customers, partners, or employees.

Why is mobile so important to your business? Respondents of a report by Enterprise Mobility Exchange give the following reasons:

  • Mobile apps are the primary interface of the future (31%)
  • Mobility creates a high-value digital experience for consumers (24%)
  • Having mobile access to corporate data is critical for employee productivity (21%)
  • Mobile technology is necessary to realize the full benefits of digital transformation (19%)

Think about it: people use mobile apps every day as consumers, so why can’t their mobile work experience be just as simple? How would your employees’ roles change if they had access to intuitive mobile apps that made their job easier and more productive? Recent tech agreements like the Apple and SAP partnership are addressing this exact goal. They aim to change the work experience by bringing the intuitive customer experience into the enterprise via contextual native mobile apps. Contextual enterprise apps can fundamentally transform the way you do business by streamlining work processes, altering job functions, and completely changing the way people work.

What mobile technology looks like in business

Businesses in a variety of industries are already transforming the work experience for their employees by incorporating innovative mobile enterprise apps in new ways. Many companies are eliminating archaic paper-based work processes and replacing them with enterprise mobile apps to simplify the work experience. The Apple eBook Enterprise Blueprint and a recent New York Times article show some great examples of how industries like aviation and manufacturing are already doing this. According to the New York Times article, British Airways has already implemented more than 40 custom iOS apps and has supplied close to 17,000 iPads to its employees. As a result, the airline is more responsive, more productive, and collaborates more effectively across the entire enterprise.

This type of mobile innovation can translate to any industry. Here are some other examples:

Precision tool supplier MAPAL has implemented a native iOS mobile app with a bar-code scanning function to help identify the right precision tool out of thousands in use. They previously used a time-consuming paper-based binder system. The enterprise app has completely changed the overall work experience by giving users an unprecedented and unobstructed view of each and every tool. The result has been a drastic reduction in turnaround times, a much more cost-effective purchasing process, and the ability to optimize stock levels.

Healthcare company B.Braun has also replaced a tedious paper-based system with an enterprise mobile app. The company manages the sterilization process of surgical instruments for operating rooms. The contextual mobile app implemented by B.Braun connects hospitals, sterilization sites, sales systems, and product information systems to streamline the process and safeguard accuracy.

Be open to changing your mobile strategy

The Apple eBook states that “when users are mobile, everything changes.” In order to change everything, you need to have the right digital business mindset to look at things in completely new ways and incorporate mobile technology into various aspects of your digital strategy.

The key to implementing a successful digital transformation with mobility at its core is to have a broader perspective of digital business. Leaders need to evolve their thinking and discover the right business opportunities to create effective mobile apps that will get things done in a better, simpler, more efficient way. According to a report by 451 Research, this means moving from a reactive approach, which is often based on siloed, BYOD models, to a more integrated, strategic approach with a strong focus on the end user experience and business results. This strategic approach is largely driven by business innovation and reflects mobile initiatives with clearly defined goals that are meant to transform the way businesses interact with customers, employees, and partners.

When evolving your mobile strategy, innovative leaders should consider all areas of the company where contextual enterprise mobile apps could transform business operations. A recent report by the Mobile Research Council outlines four areas where contexual mobile apps could be used to transform your business:

  1. Business to consumer (B2C): Provide the right information, services, or offers to consumers at the right time
  1. Business to employee (B2E): Use real-time access to the right contextual information to perform efficiently and effectively at work
  1. Business to partners (B2P): Provide the right information and services to build a viable business ecosystem between companies
  1. Things to Things (T2T) or Things to People (T2P): Provide the right information from connected sensors to a business system for automating tasks, or have automatic sensors that provide information to individuals via a connected device

Mobile apps that meet your exact needs

Regardless of your industry, it’s important to focus on the end user so that you have an app that meets the exact needs of your business. Effective, contextual mobile enterprise apps can drastically change the workflow and job function of employees to increase productivity and create an entirely new work experience. This is not an app comparison game – what works well for one industry or business may not work well or be transferable to yours. This is about creating the best possible mobile app with the right functionality to make your employees’ jobs easier, more productive, and simply better. You just need to think about how mobility can transform your business in different ways.

Going mobile is not just about devices and applications; it’s about the embodiment of digital and mobile technology driving enterprise digital transformation. Once leaders are open to the digital possibilities, there is no limit to how enterprise mobility can improve their business. What could mobile technology do for your business?

Discover how the Apple and SAP partnership is revolutionizing mobile apps for the enterprise.

Find out why context matters for enterprise mobility.

Learn how to cut through complexity with enterprise mobile apps.

For an in-depth look at how the digital era is affecting business, download the SAP eBook The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

To learn more about the driving forces behind digital transformation, download the SAP eBook Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.


Rick Knowles

About Rick Knowles

Rick Knowles is senior vice president (SVP) and general manager (GM) of the partnership between SAP SE and Apple, Inc. In this role, he oversees the strategic roadmap in building state-of-the-art applications for some of the most complex business systems in the world. Rick has been with SAP for close to 20 years, where he has held executive positions such as SVP and chief of staff, GM of One Customer Experience, and SVP and chief operating officer for SAP Americas, the company’s largest geographic market. You can follow him on Twitter @RickKnowlesSAP.