In today’s fast moving digital world the number of people using apps has exploded. Although smartphone penetration is peaking, no other device has had the same commercial and societal impact. However, as the base nears a plateau, relentless innovation continues at device and network levels, leading to exciting times for both consumers and businesses alike.
The use of apps in businesses, particularly for ones that employ a large number of field workers (for example security and facilities management companies etc.), has grown exponentially and the general trend to date for rolling out apps has been as follows:
- Identify areas requiring action (e.g. notice issuance, digitisation of incident reports, lone worker protection etc.)
- Evaluate and procure solutions
- Deploy and monitor the solutions
Typically, by updating existing company policies, conducting staff training and evolving mobile and application strategies, organisations have managed this fairly well. However, as new challenges arise, emerging technologies enter the frame, and to ensure future relevance and competitiveness organisations need to seriously plan for an Integrated Application Strategy.
So what is an Integrated Application Strategy and why is it needed?
Simply put, an Integrated Application Strategy (IAS) ensures organisations think about interoperability at the forefront when selecting and deploying apps, as opposed to focusing all energy on a specific functional problem they are trying to solve at the time. Interoperability and integration are key if you want to deploy an agile, responsive and multi-functional workforce. It can be used to solve problems associated with large fragmented organisations and can provide a futureproof framework to manage change as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.
Of course some forward thinking organizations already have aspects covered as part of their Mobile or Application Strategy. Indeed some deploy their own mobile enterprise platforms to facilitate such agility and rapid business process development but ultimately it is a very individual decision on what the best approach may be. Influencing factors may include technical resource availability (e.g. R&D expertise), relationships with existing suppliers, competition, costs and the business requirements themselves.
Key benefits of an Integrated Application Strategy:
- Single login – Users can access all apps by authenticating once, resulting in quicker and more efficient operational use.
- App consolidation – The IAS centralises access to apps (including legacy and 3rd party apps), promoting interoperability, reducing vendor lock-ins and maximising ROI.
- Ease of use – The simplified framework and app design reduce complexity and remove barriers that prevent users from fully utilising the apps.
- Multi-functional – New apps and functional responsibilities can be easily introduced, which offers mobile workers fast and efficient service enablement.
- Training – Organisations save money, as the IAS results in less bespoke and time consuming training with multiple providers. It also provides a platform for delivering and auditing training.
- Real-time – The information generated through apps or back office systems is delivered and stored in real-time, resulting in better field worker awareness and enhanced resource utilisation.
- Multi-sector – The IAS is applicable for any service-centric organisation that plans to consolidate over multiple business units and/or expand rapidly into new markets.
Mobile Worker Plus, recognised experts in field worker service enablement, have deployed multiple solutions to organisations involved in Parking, Rail and Facilities Management. The integrated application framework was launched in summer 2016 to directly address issues surrounding training, support, auditability and efficiency of staff using several different digital solutions in order to perform their job. Vendor lock-in, lack of service differentiation and inability to change are real challenges that organisations face today and why the integrated application framework is a key innovation. The integration application framework simply enables customers who deploy the Mobile Worker Plus solution to join-up existing 3rd party apps and/or legacy back-office systems whilst also providing a platform for launching new innovative services. Building your Integrated Application Strategy is as important as defining your IT and Mobile Strategy and using technology developed by Mobile Worker Plus organisations can realise their potential.