Corporate intranet apps can be surprisingly effective.
While most mobile apps are intended for public consumption, an increasing number of businesses are creating mobile intranet and enterprise apps for their own users. Designing for this captive audience comes with a unique set of trends, challenges, and examples.
When considering the most effective mobile strategy for your business, it's easy to remain client-focused. When you're focused on delivering products or services to your clients and customers, developing mobile apps for in-house use may be put on the back burner. But, effective corporate intranets and enterprise apps can be surprisingly effective at increasing productivity, building reputation, and inspiring confidence.
Using a rapid application-development tool like Progress® Rollbase® allows for seriously fast delivery of mobile, cloud-based business applications that can perform a wide range of functions to support your business objectives, including:
Your sales people, particularly those who visit clients off-site, can benefit from real-time inventory data. Not only is it terribly impressive to be able to deliver these details on demand, but it saves a considerable amount of time and administrative effort: no more calling back to the office to see if a product is available, or making a solid sales pitch only to discover afterward that something is out of stock.
A CRM app can become a great resource for your company. It might start out as simple as a database of demographic data, but it can provide quick and easy access to client contact information.
Available on-site as well as remotely, a custom-designed CRM can deliver details such as sales transaction histories, or records of company representatives responsible for client care.
With these details, sales and support staff can easily check which products a client may already have on hand, and access other data -- all without wasting time or burdening other staff-members.
Over time, every business compiles a sizable amount of documentation that represents lessons learned, best practices, product or service white papers, and other intellectual property that can give it a competitive edge. Creating a resource library that can be accessed quickly and easily can be one of the easiest apps to build.
It may be easy enough to keep track of your own schedule using apps on your smartphone or personal computer, but what if others want to know when you might be available? Or perhaps you share resources, such as a conference room or trade-show booth? A shared calendar and scheduling app can make the process of coordinating this kind of thing less painful and more efficient, while reducing the risk of double-booking.
Usually when we think of support, we think of forward-facing apps that allow our customers and clients to submit trouble tickets or make manual requests for assistance. An intranet-style support app can perform the same functions for your staff -- alerting the appropriate departments that someone needs assistance with accounts or equipment.
One of the core functions of most intranets is related to human resources. Every person on your staff makes regular requests for things like vacation time, documents for submitting health claims, and for updating basic demographic details. These routine tasks take time and attention away from human resource professionals who could be performing more skilled tasks for your business.
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Communicating big news to your team members can be a challenge. Emails are skimmed or go unnoticed, and newsletters often are not timely enough. Having a single location for these announcements within an intranet app can be an effective way to update your staff on important information.
Though social networking is not usually thought to be mission-critical for most organizations, it is a common addition to intranet apps. You may consider how a social component could add strength to your business by increasing morale and accomplishing team-building exercises (particularly when individuals are geographically distant or work in the office infrequently).
As a business, you must always manage expectations, not only from your clients and customers, but also from your employees. You need your team members at their best, and having mobile-accessible intranet and enterprise apps can provide them with the support they need to effectively (and happily) do their jobs.
To learn how creating a high productivity mobile application development environment using PaaS can serve the business users in your organization, download my latest whitepaper, “9 Essentials to Create Amazing Applications Faster.”
Mark Troester is the Vice President of Strategy at Progress. He guides the strategic go-to-market efforts for the Progress cognitive-first strategy. Mark has extensive experience in bringing application development and big data products to market. Previously, he led product marketing efforts at Sonatype, SAS and Progress DataDirect. Before these positions, Mark worked as a developer and developer manager for start-ups and enterprises alike. You can find him on LinkedIn or @mtroester on Twitter.
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