The Potential Of Apps to Transform Enterprises
We all have them, and more than enough of them—apps. Both a blessing and a curse, we use them to make our lives more convenient, fun, and these days, spend more time switching between apps than flicking between TV channels.
But which apps truly hold the potential to transform our professional lives, especially in the enterprise sector? Where are the “gems” that are the future of enterprise productivity? Several aspects to consider while evaluating the potential of an app to fully transform the way enterprises operate are their ability to cater to the objectives of enterprises, the success of their integration across providers, devices, and software, and their initiative to take steps towards transforming into a platform.
Apps with the potential to disrupt an industry and transform an enterprise first need to consider the concerns that enterprises have when evaluating apps to integrate into their processes. Some of these concerns include:
• Is the app secure?
• Will the company behind it be around in another 2, 3, 5 years?
• How is user data or internal company data protected, is it compliant with the data privacy laws of all the countries our enterprise has operations in (this is a real tough nut to crack!)?
• Does the app help solve or optimize any of the concerns that an enterprise actually cares about, for example productivity or efficiency, or an increase in revenue/profit or decrease in costs?
Those apps that can address these concerns and answer with “yes,” –over time—evolve from being apps into becoming platforms. And platforms are what enterprises truly need to integrate their existing systems, processes and workflows with. App-makers who don’t eventually think about how to turn their apps into a platform are missing a very real opportunity in the enterprise space.
A few apps have successfully transformed into a platform in part take their success from being able to service difference providers, devices, and software. For example, Evernote was born as an application to simplify and streamline the organization of note-taking, and has grown into not just an extension of your personal brain, but your team’s, department’s or even your entire organization’s shared notebook as well. With an excellent API in place, Evernote has many ISVs (independent software vendors), other app-makers and other platform providers themselves already integrate with Evernote successfully.
Another example of platforms which can be synchronized across providers, devices, and software are cloud-based file / storage providers, such as Dropbox or Box. Although they started with desktop-based apps and only later created their mobile counterparts, the ability to organize large amounts of data and documents and synchronize them between different devices and operating systems, similarly turned these apps into platforms that are now used by millions of users and companies around the globe. Essentially, apps that can be developed into a platform (and by fulfilling the above mentioned criteria appropriately) have a good chance of transforming enterprises.
But there are also apps that, for their convenience, seem to have a chance chance to make it into enterprises. Take, for instance, those taxi apps that make it easier to hail a cab from wherever you are. While Uber is certainly the big and internationally most aggressive player in that market who—not surprisingly—has already released a set of API’s this year with the aim to transform into a platform—there are many smaller apps that could find their way into enterprises by enabling its employees a more convenient “ride.” Such examples are Ola cabs, a taxi booking app in southern India, or a new app in India to hail autos with. Once those apps become a de-facto standard for professionals on the go to get transportation from A to B, it is only a matter of time when enterprises will seek ways to partner with them for compliance (”insurance,” or “expenses”), cost-saving and other organizationally required reasons.
Even apps with a very simple promise such as “to get the best possible hotel deal for the night”—such as HotelQuickly—could become interesting for enterprises in due course to save money and get the best deal.
Many areas of the enterprise are ripe for app disruption in this regard whilst for most startups this has already become a normality:
• Why would anybody file complicated expense reports, when there is Expensify?
• Why track my time in an excel timesheet, when there is Toggl?
• Why work with extensive Gantt charts, when there is an Asana dashboard to track progress?
Apps like Evernote, Dropbox, and Unified Inbox, have demonstrated that by catering to enterprise business objectives, providing seamless integration across platforms, providers, and software, and by transforming into a platform, apps are able to disrupt industries, create new workflows, and introduce more efficient internal processes. From a strategic point of view, such apps must have the following things in common:
• They help to manage an increasingly international and often remote workforce (https://www.techinasia.com/scrap-facetime-distributed-teams-win/)
• They work with principles such as unification and synchronization
• They give a seamless experience between platforms, devices and providers
• They solve one or more of the issues enterprises are concerned with
• They have a polished and finish look and feel, with hassle-free user interface.
So watch out for what these apps can be and if you’re lucky enough to get a chance to invest in one of them - try to pick one that has the potential to become the future gold standard for enterprises.
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