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4 Business Models for Enterprise Mobile Apps



At the beginning of September 2012, GLiNTECH’s Managing Director, Dimitri Spyridopoulos, presented at the IBM Business Agility in Action series of events across Australia. The events were designed to demonstrate how businesses could fully embrace the potential of mobility and Dimitri presented GLiNTECH’s business models for the enterprise mobile application space. What follows is an edited transcript of his presentation.

The key to understanding mobility is to appreciate the most obvious, yet fundamental aspects of the technology and trends. Mobility is just that: it is mobile, which has led it to become so personal and widespread that we’re at a point where it is now effectively ubiquitous. It is also incredibly multi-faceted, acting (among other things) as GPS, camera, PDA, entertainment and work tool.  

The key distinction to be made is between consumer and enterprise mobility. Consumer is represented by the stand-alone, marketing-driven apps - the Angry Birds of this world. Enterprise mobility is where GLiNTECH operates, focusing on how to provide companies with their own mobile capability so as to better engage with their customers.

To do this, there are four business models GLiNTECH looks at:

  1. User Experience
  2. Self Service
  3. Logistics
  4. Information


User Experience

The first, User Experience, is most easily demonstrated through something like a map application, such as Google maps, where a person pulls out a mobile device and uses it to help locate something. The value for the user is obvious as it satisfies a need and the value for Google is in the data they can gather from knowing where you are, where you want to go and where you end up.

Where things become different on the enterprise side is when your company, rather than Google, owns the user experience, applying the same principle to your information and your data. GLiNTECH demonstrate this with the BLiPS app where the map is not owned by Google but by the business, for example the floor plan of a shopping mall, and can be used as a base to start interacting with customers. When a user engages with the application, the ‘shopping mall’ as an entity can customise the information being pushed back to users, such as offering deals on relevant products in the locality. This undoubtedly makes the technology a very powerful tool for advertising and targeting.

Self Service

This flows into the second business model which is enabling Self Service. An example of this is the Mobile Mortgage Application GLiNTECH developed. It essentially takes the traditionally complex, manual and paper-driven process of applying for a mortgage and enables it to be done through a mobile device. In this example, a user completes an application digitally, including using the camera in a mobile device to provide photos of important documents. The integration with OCR and BPM software means the process is highly automated and fast, reducing the amount of human interaction thereby making it more convenient for the user and the business. The ability of users to serve their own needs is another fundamental appeal of mobility. Embracing the technology to improve processes and make things easier is dramatically changing the way companies work.

Logistics

The third model is Logistics. In this scenario, the user may be a building manager who is walking around inspecting sites. When they identify a problem, like a crack in a wall, they naturally pull out a mobile device and take a photo. This activity is logged, scheduled and someone comes to fix the problem. This is no doubt a simple idea and common-sense solution, but consider the value of such a system when it is scaled beyond a single manager and out to 3000 contractors working across 20-30 different buildings. If an ad-hoc request is raised, it is automatically dispatched to the relevant person. If a person is meant to be attending a job but isn’t there, they can be tracked. The value and significant improvements of mobile logistics becomes easily apparent.

Information

The fourth model is Information and it is often the simplest way to engage with business stakeholders. Through things like Dashboards, valuable data can be captured through a user experience that is extremely engaging and tactile, but the development lifecycle behind it is not necessarily extensive. From a development perspective, the hardware available means that quick and cost-effective cross-platform development is achievable.

This information component is about analysing user experiences and learning what else can be improved. Yes, your user found their way through the shopping mall using your map, but wouldn’t you also want to know where they stopped along the way? Yes, your user completed the mobile mortgage application, but don’t you want to know how they rated the experience? Yes, the crack in the wall was fixed, but was the contractor there on time?

The shift towards mobile technology has been rapid and there are no signs of it slowing down. Indeed, some industry figureheads suggest we are amidst a ‘Golden Age’ of development. It is therefore important to remember the fundamental point of mobility: mobile devices can and do go everywhere. The enterprises that embrace the technology will be the ones going along for the ride.

Below is the SlideShare version of the presentation.

 

Business models for the mobile enterprise from GLiNTECH