Apps have become an indispensable part of our lives since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and the subsequent launch of the app store in 2008. They are now available on a variety of other platforms, with more of them available than most people can care to count.

[easy-tweet tweet=”#Apps are now a mainstay of life but it is clear that they have certain limitations” hashtags=”Mobility”]

Apps are now a mainstay of life for many today but despite the proliferation, it is becoming increasingly clear that they have certain limitations, especially when it comes to the business environment. There is a common misconception held by many organisations that the availability of an app makes their product or solution ‘mobile enabled’ and this is something that needs to be addressed.

There is no disputing that an app is a very valuable tool to have but enterprise mobility is something else entirely. A recent study suggests 14.1 million people in Britain want flexibility in their working hours or location, equivalent to almost half the working population. While apps are essential for enabling these working conditions, true mobility is about allowing people to do business in the most efficient way, regardless of their location. Apps are only one part of the puzzle that enables this.

A good app presents many opportunities for the enterprise as it can transform and simplify business processes. It has the potential to save time and resources by taking out some of the complexities that come with other solutions. The app has to be part of a wider mobility strategy that addresses employee’s need, not just another solution that is added to the mix to satisfy the demand for mobility.

This is the challenge of enabling true enterprise mobility: it’s multi-faceted.

It goes without saying that an effective mobile app is essential for any solution in today’s business world. However, we should also admit that an app doesn’t always match the desktop experience for managing a complex business process end to end. If users still need to access the desktop application for some or all parts of a process, it will be difficult to convince many to download and rely on the mobile app.

Despite this, downloading an app would still seem like a small price to pay for a significant increase in efficiency for people for people who have to perform a particular process every day.

However, users will either never download these apps or they will download and never use them. Organisations need to provide other mobility options, including mobile responsive design for tablets, VPN connectivity, smartphones and wearables, and even the old favourite, email.

Email is one of the most underestimated business apps. An overwhelming majority of business people have at least one email app on their smartphone and they use it every day. If organisations can provide something that can be actioned via email without having to log on to the desktop or leave their email app, that would be a great mobility experience for most users.

This is something we have seen with the approval of purchase orders through our platform and being able to approve purchase orders remotely makes a huge difference to our customers. We have seen PO turnaround times cut from the previous average of two or three week to 17 hours. Most of these approvals are done via email, even though our platform offers both email and app choices.

It is the same story for suppliers. Most suppliers don’t get too many POs from a customer and they usually invoice once per month. For these guys, making all the information they need available at their fingertips keeps their process simple and it also improves efficiency.

We have already established that apps are great and that they play a very important role in everyday life and business functions. But why go to another app to do what you could do in the app you’re already in? Most people won’t do it.

[easy-tweet tweet=”An app is a very valuable tool to have but enterprise #mobility is something else entirely”]

Organisations need to continually think how to make the business process more efficient for users and how technology can help with that. There needs to be a focus on enabling people to work how they want, when they want and with as little friction as possible. This is what enterprise mobility truly is and there isn’t an app for that.

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Donna Wilszek, VP. Strategy and Product Marketing at Coupa Software Donna brings over fifteen years experience in SaaS product companies in roles across product management, services, marketing and sales working with customers ranging from Fortune 100 to mid-enterprise. She is a dynamic leader that is passionate about making customers successful. Donna started at Coupa in 2011 and her current role at Coupa focuses her talents on the product strategy and marketing; bringing innovative product solutions to the market that solve global spend management business challenges elegantly. Previously at Coupa, Donna held roles as VP Customer Experience and VP Global Professional Services. In her time at Coupa, she has continually worked with cross-functional teams from sales to marketing and led professional services teams to implementation success in over 200 customer go-lives including Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Molina Healthcare, Adidas Latin America, Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. and Blackstone. Prior to Coupa, Donna was the Director of Shared Services at TriNet where she was responsible for the company's Travel, Procurement and Facilities departments. She has also held senior roles at Ketera and IBM. Donna began her career with Accenture where she was involved in a variety of consulting engagements with a primary focus on ERP systems delivered via a SaaS model. Donna earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the Illinois Institute of Technology.