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CIOs: How to make apps work for you

By Catherine Knowles, Tue 4 Aug 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Mobile application technology advancing and becoming more established in businesses, CIOs need to understand how to better utilise this, according to Sush Mobile, the specialised moible software company based in Australia and New Zealand.

"Mobile applications offer CIOs unique opportunities for streamlining business processes and empowering the organisation's workforce," says Craig Parnham, Sush Mobile CEO.

Furthermore, there has been a lot of interest in business-to-employee apps in the last six months as opposed to business-to-consumer apps, he says.

A noticeable trend amongst successful enterprise mobility apps has been around the digitisation of labour intensive or repetitive tasks, eliminating middlemen between activities, according to Sush Mobile.

Work scheduling, status updates, payslip checking, or other internal-facing activities done through an app keeps people engaged and empowered. Not all employees have a desktop or laptop computer, but most have a smartphone, the company says.

“One of our clients, a global tree management company, used to require staff to come in to the depot to collect work schedules, and return again at the end of the day.

“Now that their information is on an app, employees can view the work that needs to be done and mark it off, with all the data stored in the cloud.

“Since work logs are kept up-to-date digitally via the cloud, there is no need for office workers in the depot to manually re-enter data, eliminating the need for paper-based maps and work orders that can easily get lost, dirty, or blown away," says Parnham.

“Mobile apps allow people to access what they need when they need it and offer tremendous time and cost savings,” he says.

Employees are increasingly asking CIOs to utilise apps for various tasks. As such, CIOs must recognise the importance of speed.

“We have learned that it is often better to get an app deployed quickly, even if it is a pilot, to get it in the hands of the people who will use it. We can then assess how they use it, and make further refinements and enhancements from there,” Parnham says.

This helps CIOs ensure the app is not overcomplicated and does not detract from achieving the core business objectives, according to Sush Mobile.

“We encourage customers to strip it back to the most essential features, for an app that is streamlined, fast, responsive, and intuitive,” Parnham says.

According to Sush Mobile, the real measure of providing value is the ability to distill large amounts of data into useful and relevant customer insight, or to streamline existing processes and workflows to create a succinct and intuitive customer experience.

“One of our award-winning apps is a home loan app for Kiwibank. They wanted an app for people to find how much they could borrow based on their income, but we took it one step further and ended up including a sun finder feature based on feedback from many customers who were searching for North-facing homes.

“Now this is an app that anyone would want on their phone, whether they are a Kiwibank customer or not. You do not want people to delete your app after just a few weeks,” Parnham says.

When it comes to wearable apps, these work best under very specific contexts, Sush Mobile says.

“Customers should not be forced to use an app that is not fit for such a small screen. The interaction is at most five seconds compared to around two minutes with a smartphone, so the context must be right.

“It would not make sense to offer a catalogue browsing experience, but it would be useful to notify customers when their order has been shipped,” Parnham says.

“One of the most exciting challenges is around the entire customer journey, creating personalised, contextual experiences across multiple channels and now across multiple devices,” he says.

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