“Smartphones have redefined how people live an interact with each other. It is now enterprises time to use mobile to transform the way work gets done,” a report published by Deloitte says.

The enterprise app is a massive missing opportunity to transform the way people work, upload and access information.  “2017 is in some regards reminiscent of 
the early days of the Internet era, when enterprises started shifting to browser solutions that transformed how employees work.

“The same shift is currently happening with mobile,” its ‘State of the smart’ report into mobile usage patterns says.

The smartphone has now established a clear lead as the most popular consumer electronics device: 77 per cent of all adults aged 18-75 now use a smartphone daily: 85 per cent own one, among these, 91 use their device daily. It has a seven percentage point lead over the laptop, and 17 percentage points over the tablet.

More than a third of UK adults look at their smartphones within five minutes of waking and more than three quarters check their phones within an hour prior of going to sleep. Seventeen per cent of 16-24 year olds look at their smartphones at least 100 times daily; 12 per cent of 16-19 year olds claim 200 views or more daily.

“The smartphone’s clear gap over other devices should lead to more content, content creation tools and processes being designed for them, leading to yet greater usage of and reliance on these devices. In turn this should spur continued investment in enhancing smartphone capability and underlying networks,” the report says.

There is also, at present, a widening array of every day or common applications that are being built for smartphone usage, from paying for street parking, planning the best journey home, to checking the weather and the news. “As this set of smartphone optimised applications grows it may become ever harder to live without one.”

Enterprise and the smartphone

The smartphone is a multi-purpose device the likes of which has never existed before. It is a
digital Swiss army knife with a set of tools that is millions of apps deep. “It can be used to work when away from the office, and not to work while in it.”

“In the past five years, smartphones have redefined how people live and interact with each other. It is now enterprise’s time to use mobile to transform the way work gets done.”

According to Deloitte, just over half of all respondents that were currently in employment used their smartphones for at least one work related business activity.

The most common usages are email (44 per cent), voice calls (34 per cent) and calendar management (23 per cent) and viewing documents (17 per cent). However, there was only modest smartphone usage for other work related applications, especially those focused on workflow, rather than communications.

“The paucity of smartphone usage for work purposes is, arguably, not due to lack of need. The UK workforce includes millions of people for whom the smartphone may well be the ideal information device. Many millions of workers need to receive contextual information on a timely basis, so that they can respond to it rapidly, based on better information – the smartphone is the ideal device for this,” it says.

Opportunities include:

submitting timesheets. There are 1,457,000 people that work as sales assistants or retail cashiers, 945,000 road transport drivers, 515,000 kitchen and catering assistants, 276,000 waiters and waitresses and 285,000 chefs. All of these could be submitting timesheets via smartphones, rather than paper-based or PC-centric forms.

receive scheduling information. The UK workforce includes 837,000 people in building or construction, 565,000 cleaners and domestics, 473,000 working in electrical and electronic trades, 186,000 security guards.

submit or log expenses. There are currently 232,000 carpenters and joiners, 165,000 hairdressers and 117,000 beauticians in the UK workforce.

“The enterprise app or mobile optimised website would appear to be a massive opportunity. The smartphone’s success as a business tool across multiple processes requires mobile-optimised design – existing PC-based applications that are crudely dragged and dropped into a smartphone environment are likely to fail, as they will be too hard to use.

IT departments need to focus on the smartphone worker

“Enterprise IT departments have had several decades of being PC centric, and this has made sense as long as workers have had PCs. Yet today the device that workers are most likely to have with them while working is the smartphone.”

According to Deloitte IT departments need to shift or spread their focus to be more inclusive of the smartphone worker, and of desk workers that would like to be able to be productive when away from their desks. “They should also focus more on customising off-the-shelf applications, rather than building applications from scratch.”

“IT departments are increasingly likely to be tasked with sourcing the best off-the-shelf smartphone applications available for all their workers. Even in larger companies the focus will be on light customisation of existing platforms, rather than building apps from scratch.”

“There are hundreds of businesses and processes that are operating under old models, with some employees unnecessarily tethered to workstations or disconnected from real-time information. In most cases mobile should, through better efficiency, make companies more competitive, but in a few cases mobile will enable entire business models to be reinvented and industries to be disrupted fundamentally.”

Comment: The Deloitte report is a wake-up to businesses. We know from our enterprise, membership and publishing clients who use the Page Lizard customised mobile apps that the internal IT department is often the biggest resister to change. Their old-school thinking  continues to put PCs and websites before mobile.

Where the business defines the need for an app they often confuse the picture by talking six figure sums to build them. Our baseline apps start at £6,000 and can be deployed within days. An app is in the reach of every business which has a solid need. Talk to us about your business and we will advise you if an  app can enhance your processes, improve your workforce efficiency and make you more competitive.

Download the report here

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