Mobile Apps Are Revamping the EnterpriseBy Samuel Greengard Print
Organizations are adopting mobile apps to communicate, collaborate and interact with business partners and customers in new and sometimes revolutionary ways.
For example, STM can send suggestions about passes and tickets that will save money. It can also suggest more efficient ways to travel. "A person might not realize that by leaving the house 15 minutes earlier, it's possible to save time by avoiding packed stations and subway cars on the morning commute," he explains.
STM can also push out coupons for restaurants, movies and more, based on a person's behavior, preferences and geolocation data. Merchants sign up with STM and pay a fee. Then, when a rider is in proximity or when it's the right time (think coffee, dry cleaning or takeout food), he or she can convert the offer into a barcode and redeem it on the spot. Merchants can even offer different promotions to different groups based on a variety of factors, including whether they're already customers, as well as their past buying patterns.
The mobile apps and tools—which are powered by SAP ERP, business objects and HANA—have transformed STM. Bourbonniere says that 42 percent of the app users have already increased the number of trips they take each month.
While the initiative cost STM about CAD 1.5 million, it is reducing the overall carbon footprint for the city while boosting revenue, including CAD 10 million in fare revenues and a projected CAD 12 million for outside revenue over a three-year period. In fact, the redemption rate on the one-to-one marketing campaign has consistently approached 20 percent for many offers.
In addition, STM is gaining further insights into the business through mobility-fueled big data. "The technology is completely redefining the way we run the business," he explains.
Tapping into Apps
As the app-centric enterprise takes hold, organizations must re-examine the way they build and use IT resources, ABI's McNicol points out. Among other things, it's critical to design mobile apps and enterprise technology to interact with an array of other IT services and apps—particularly cloud-based services—all while building in critical privacy and security controls.
Although there's an overriding need to make sure the technology fully enables business functionality, including through APIs, "IT must maintain a sense of control over the environment," McNicol says, adding that it's critical to collaborate and cooperate with other business leaders and departments in order to maximize results and button down security.
It's also critical to adopt a lifecycle approach to apps and stay tuned into today's fast-changing environment, McNicol says. Within this context, usability and functionality are critical. "In today's consumer-focused BYOD environment, apps that aren't usable and user-friendly—and don't offer compelling features—won't be used as intended." This means monitoring how they're being used, where and when they're being used and when they're crashing.
Finally, McNicol notes that app stores and mobile application management software are key components that take time and effort to design. "It's important to think through an entire mobile strategy and understand how, where and why applications make sense," he advises.
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