Simplify Your Digital Transformation: Go Mobile

Rick Knowles

Most companies are going through significant transformation as digital technology sweeps through multiple industries worldwide. Sometimes the complexity of change in the enterprise can be overwhelming, so how can you ensure that your corporate digital transformation is as simple (and painless) as possible? Go mobile.

Native mobile apps are quickly gaining ground as the key element in corporate digital strategies. This makes sense when you factor in that global mobile market forecasts predict mobile app revenues to reach $80.6 billion by 2020.

How can you make the most of native mobile apps in the enterprise? Focus on the following key areas:

  1. Empathy
  2. Innovation
  3. Business model transformation

These three elements can make or break your digital transformation, and they should be at the core of your mobile strategy.

Understanding empathy

It’s essential to have empathy for end users (employees, partners, and customers) and truly understand how things get done in your business. If you’re not really sure how things are accomplished, how can you expect to improve the process? Once you have a true understanding of the roles that peope play within your organization, then you can focus on innovative ways to make their roles more efficient, more productive, and simply better with the use of native mobile apps.

Developing native mobile apps for the enterprise

As the need for enterprise mobility increases, so does the need for mobile developers. A recent CIODive article says demand for mobile developers is up 104% since 2014. This demand is significant because designers and developers usually have to start from the beginning with each new application, which takes a considerable amount of time and requires several team members to tackle multiple projects. It can be daunting and costly trying to find the right talent with the right skillset to develop each new application from scratch. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Enterprise grade toolkits and developer learning platforms can be much more efficient and cost effective.

Innovation made easy

Mobile innovation is easier than ever thanks to some great tools available these days, like Apple and SAP’s recent announcement of the general availability of the SAP Cloud Platform software development kit (SDK) for iOS. This type of toolkit makes things simpler for developers and designers because it provides the framework and templates to easily create native mobile enterprise apps. The ease of creating native mobile apps in this way allows developers to create simple or extremely detailed and complex native iOS applications that are still easy-to-use for end users.

Having access to tools like this can also speed up the design and development processes and cut the app deployment time in half, which can help reduce the cost of building a mobile app. As a result, it frees up time for designers and developers to focus on more innovation within your company or on gaining additional training from developer learning platforms.

Evolving business models

The simplicity of mobile technology often drives business model transformation, so make sure you view your current business models through a digital lens. Be open to creating new lines of business, developing innovative service lines, or redesigning existing businesss models to streamline processses using native mobile technology.

When you focus on the first two areas of empathy and innovation and gain access to simple enterprise grade tools like an SDK, this combination naturally leads to business model innovation.

Some great companies are already transforming their business models with mobile solutions:

  • Precision tool manufacturer MAPAL combined a mobile app with an IoT platform to expand from selling tools to also being a service provider.
  • Renewable energy company Vestas is using native mobile apps and cloud platforms to improve operations and construction of wind energy solutions.
  • KAUST University is transforming its operations and campus life with native mobile apps.
  • Surgical instrument provider B.Braun created an app to digitize the management of hospital operating room tools, enabling more accurate and customized surgical sets.
  • Interior and exterior panel producer FunderMax uses an enterprise mobile app to augment images for architects and create new ways to interact with business partners and customers.

As more people expect to use mobile devices at work, the need to develop effective native mobile enterprise solutions is quickly mounting. Focusing on empathy, innovation, and business model transformation is the simplest way to evolve your business and succeed in today’s digital era.

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


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.