As an increasing number organizations look to mobile solutions for long-term success, many have made embracing digital business a top priority. By offering services via a mobile platform or application, businesses are able to capture larger market shares, increase revenues and exceed customer expectations. In fact, according to a 2014 article in Forbes, organizations that optimize their mobile app strategy will engender customer loyalty by providing greater visibility and value to customers, improve customer engagement and will be better placed to stand out from the competition. At the same time, organizations that utilize mobile apps internally will be able to increase employee satisfaction and productivity.

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In order to gain these advantages, many organizations are developing or customizing their own mobile apps. According to a 2015 report from Frost & Sullivan entitled “It’s Time to Seriously Assess Your Mobile App Strategy,” 80 percent of organizations in North America already have at least one employee-facing app in use, and nearly 40 percent have more than 10 active apps. The vast majority of these organizations intend to keep adding new mobile apps to their portfolios. But transitioning to a digital business can be a complex process. Before deploying an app or mobile service, businesses need to reassess their entire mobile workforce strategy, which includes developing a robust mobile app strategy. By prioritizing these initiatives, organizations will be better prepared to be at the forefront of the digital world and to meet customers’ needs while driving business growth.

Assessing a Mobile App Strategy

Businesses should first determine what the need is among its employees and customers. What common complaints or issues is the app going to address? If there’s not a glaring issue, there may be something that either employees or customers need to do that can be made easier by using an app. Ultimately, the mobile app strategy should be designed to mobilize employees’ job functions and not simply to replace a desktop application that already works well. The mobile strategy should make employees more productive by enabling them to easily access, input and make sense of company data.

As the app market grows, part of a company’s mobile app strategy should involve protecting its data and ramping up security measures. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, more than 35 percent of organizations already consider employee use of unauthorized apps to be a problem. Employees without app offerings from their employers may look at third-party, unapproved apps to meet their needs, opening the door for hackers to gain access to sensitive information. According to a 2014 report from Gartner, this is a serious problem, as more than 75 percent of mobile apps will fail security tests this year. Organizations that create their own apps can manage the security of their devices and better safeguard against data breaches.

At this stage, organizations should undertake an audit of their data security mechanisms and policies that they have in place to ensure that security concerns are not introduced. Any organization deploying mobile apps should include their use in its mobile security policy, which must be clearly communicated to users and should ensure that one person has overall accountability in this area. As part of the mobile security policy, businesses should stress that it is required to use highly secure mobile devices that support a mobile security platform.

Once mobile app requirements have been established, the next step is to develop, purchase or customize apps to meet the needs of the business. Not only is ease-of-use important, but those in charge should determine what devices and operating systems the apps need to run on and what back-end integration is required. Additionally, it is important to develop a strategy to manage the life cycle of all mobile apps, including ongoing maintenance to ensure that they remain current, effective and secure.

Consider External Assistance

Not every organization has the capability to develop, customize or manage mobile apps throughout their life cycle. In fact, the Frost & Sullivan survey found that 83 percent of organizations noted that they need outside assistance when using application support services. Such assistance can help with both mobile app development and ongoing maintenance needs. However, organizations are advised not to select a partner based purely on cost, but to ascertain that they have the required expertise for creating apps and integrating them into back-end systems, and that they have the required technical support capabilities.

Few organizations that do not have some level of mobile device usage will be able to keep up with competition. With this in mind, all companies would benefit from assessing their mobile app strategies sooner rather than later, especially as the range of mobile devices grows and wearables become commonplace.

Looking for a roadmap for your mobile app strategy? Consider the application support services offered by Samsung Business.

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Fran Howarth

Fran Howarth is an industry analyst specializing in security. She has worked within the security technology sector for over 25 years as an analyst, consultant and writer. Fran focuses on the business needs for security technologies, with a focus on emerging technology sectors. Current areas of focus include mobile security, cloud security, information governance and data security, identity and access management, network and endpoint security, security intelligence and analytics, and security governance and regulations. Follow Fran on Twitter: @FranNL

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