14 January 2022

Mobile Business: How companies benefit from mobile apps

Mobile business apps optimize business processes and pick up customers where they spend a lot of time – on the screen of their smartphone. With “mobile business”, companies can tap into new target groups and sources of income. A brilliant idea and the right digitalization partner are often all that is needed.

What is mobile business?

Tailor-made mobile apps are an important building block in the digital strategies of companies. Sometimes they even open up new business areas. This applies both to internal use as well as to direct customer contact.

Mobile apps have long been established in the B2C sector. In the business sector, the number of mobile applications for corporate processes and workflows is also increasing – for good reason.

Mobile business: Using apps for greater efficiency, innovation and satisfaction

The term “mobile business” means the development and use of company-specific applications for mobile end devices. Business apps can improve work processes and open up new business areas and target groups.

A good corporate app promotes digital transformation in various areas, such as customer contact and service, consulting, marketing, or documentation.

However, some companies and institutions are reluctant to develop apps. They fear high investments or simply lack ideas for possible fields of application.

Mobile business is a growth market. On average, people around the world spend more than four hours a day in front of their smartphone or tablet screen. In addition, the number of downloads of apps is growing by around seven percent each year. This includes many enterprise apps.

Seamless Integration: Effectively integrating mobile apps into your own processes

The requirement for mobile apps is: “Seamless Integration”. This means that they must be meaningfully integrated into the corporate strategy and networked with existing processes and IT systems.

The more digitalization has progressed in the company, the easier this task is. Ideally, mobile fields of application will be considered right from the start of digital innovation in order to make business processes more intuitive, efficient and secure in the long run for both the customer and the company.

In addition to stability, performance and an appealing design, usability is also paramount, i.e., intuitive use of the app.

Good reasons for a mobile business app

There are many reasons for companies to invest in mobile apps:

  • Discover new business models: A business app can increase existing sales, for example through in-app payment, and open up new business areas.
  • Mobility: As a rule, the smartphone is only an arm’s length away. The service or product is always available everywhere – no need for a PC or real in-store visit.
  • Customer Service: A good app takes care of customers, responds to individual needs and respects customers' time. Intuitive user guidance that quickly leads to the goal is the key to customer satisfaction.
  • Understanding customers: Evaluating usage data of a mobile app while taking into account applicable data protection rules helps companies to better understand customers and anticipate future needs. Mobile use brings new insights: “On the go” data is only available on the smartphone.
  • Variety: It is also worthwhile for niche applications to develop and customize efficient mobile apps, such as documentation for professional property inspections by real estate brokers or to motivate more people to donate blood (see use cases later on in this article).
  • IT security: Mobile technology can significantly increase data security, for example through two-factor authentication.
  • Gaining new customers: A mobile app that is useful in everyday life can increase a company’s name recognition because satisfied users will recommend it to others. That's how the app supports new customer acquisition.
  • Brand strengthening: With a mobile app, companies can create an additional touchpoint with their own brand on the smartphone display. This strengthens brand recognition and loyalty. In addition, a mobile app creates an additional marketing channel, with push notifications, for example.
  • Other mobile technologies: New mobile technologies such as augmented reality create additional application scenarios for mobile apps. An online shop can, for example, provide products as 3D models that are true to the original. App users can then digitally project the product into their own environment in the original size.

How is a mobile business app developed?

Whether B2B or B2C, every mobile business app is developed in several phases. A realistic goal and experience in implementation are particularly important here.

Inspiration & Analysis: Discovering potentials for mobile business

The process starts with brainstorming: Existing business and work processes as well as systems are analyzed and examined for optimization potential. Mobile technology then determines which target groups and sources of income can be tapped.

During this phase, it is advisable to bring on board an experienced digitalization partner who is familiar with mobile business potential as the result of many years of development experience.

Companies and technology partners then jointly define the requirements for the mobile app to identify the best possible mobile application while considering budget and efficient user interaction.

Ideally, User Experience (UX) researchers also ask potential future users about their needs and preferences.

Mobile app design and development

Then follows the concept phase. Designers and developers develop initial concepts and discuss them with the clients in the form of wireframes and demos.

Finally, the iterative development process begins in close consultation with the client until the mobile app is market-ready and is offered to customers or employees. Improvements and expansions can then be planned and implemented depending on the agreement.

By the way: An app can also start as a Progressive Web App (PWA), i.e., as a desktop or browser application. Later porting to native Android or iOS apps starts a step-by-step transformation into a mobile app ecosystem. Mobile business can thus be tackled gradually.

Why Netcetera is the ideal technology partner for mobile business

Netcetera has been supporting companies in digital transformation for more than 25 years. During that time, we have established ourselves as a strong consulting and development partner for mobile apps and a driving force of digital innovations.

As a full-service digitalization partner and full-stack development company, we will support you in brainstorming and strategizing for your mobile business and develop the associated app – from UX design to the backend.

Our approach is "user-centered design": We take the target group’s perspective and develop an app to meet its needs. This is the foundation of a successful app.

From the very beginning, we consider security and convenience, for example, if different interfaces are to be integrated and if there are high security requirements regarding data protection or user identities. Our extensive experience with financial service providers and payment processes is a great advantage here. In addition, expertise from numerous other core areas of Netcetera, such as UX design, IOT devices and augmented reality, is incorporated into mobile development.

Regardless of what industry you come from, whether you already have an idea or are only at the beginning of digitalization, we would be happy to support you in your mobile business strategy. Contact us.

Examples of mobile business – successful projects at Netcetera

"Visits" mobile app: efficient digital documentation for real estate brokers

When real estate experts inspect a building, they have needed until now a writing pad, pen and camera during the usual analogue process in order to document their inspection in detail. Notes and photos are later manually transferred to databases, a time-consuming process that on average allows a maximum of three property viewings per day.

Wasting time and energy is pre-programmed using paper, pen and camera

Wüest Partners, QualiCasa and Netcetera thought that this process could be optimized with a mobile app. Together, the companies developed the concept for the “Visits” app, which, thanks to clever digital documentation functions, is becoming a model for the digitalization of the real estate industry.

With Visits, brokers only need smartphones or tablets during an inspection. An intuitive and fast interface systematically guides them through the most important work steps when documenting a property.

The app automatically evaluates data so that individual elements can be analyzed quickly. The data obtained serves as the basis for decisions on the assessment, management, and development of real estate.

Increased efficiency through mobile business

Thanks to Visits, brokers can now view twelve or more properties a day, and data loss due to illegible notes is no longer a problem. Visits shows what a good mobile business app can do: Digitally optimize manual work processes and support users in their daily work.

Visits is also seamlessly connected to the commonly used systems of real estate companies via a programming interface (API). Brokers can get started using the app right away without having to get used to a different data structure or a new “touch & feel”.

Existing systems such as the Wüest Dimensions evaluation platform from Wüest Partner and the QualiCasa “Sidac” management platform are also integrated into Visits, which results in improved brand loyalty for both clients.

Future-proof thanks to open interfaces

Brokers use Visits as a progressive web application (PWA) on all mobile devices. During development, Netcetera was mindful of an open system architecture, which facilitates porting to an Android or iOS native app.

Netcetera, Wüest Partner and QualiCasa are continually updating Visits with further improvements and features. Innovative applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality are being considered as well as the expansion of the already substantial integrated property libraries.

The first version was developed by Netcetera together with the partner companies in just four months by a compact team. Visits shows that a mobile app tailored to the needs of users can make a big difference – in the company and among end customers.

Visits received the silver “Best of Swiss Apps” award in the "Enterprise" category and came in among the top three of the “Digital Real Estate” competition.

Saving lives made easy – with the “Mein Blut” ("My Blood") app from the Austrian Red Cross and Netcetera

Can a blood donation be digitalized? Not the donation itself, but definitely the process behind it.

Long waiting times due to paper forms when donating blood

A look at the analogue process showed that this step was urgently needed. When donors have found a blood donation center, they must complete a comprehensive medical form on site. Manual entry of data can lead to avoidable waiting times.

The mobile app “Mein Blut” developed by Netcetera and the Austrian Red Cross counteracts this. Donors can quickly find the nearest blood donation center. They complete the medical form digitally in advance at home. The attending physician can access the data via an encrypted QR code, which reduces the waiting time on site to a minimum. After the laboratory tests, the donors also have direct access to the test results.

Focus on data protection and user experience

Two aspects play a particularly important role in “Mein Blut”: data protection and an intuitive user experience.

Donors submit highly sensitive information that is protected by the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards via the digital medical form. Netcetera’s many years of experience with security and data protection in the payment sector formed the basis for the fast and secure implementation of the blood donation app.

The UX expert team also placed particular importance on self-explanatory use: Potential donors can quickly find answers to common questions in the app.

After a two-factor authentication, users see their donor data and can either complete the questionnaire, check their QR code or book the next blood donation date. You can also skip individual questions on the form if necessary and discuss them personally with doctors.

Donors save time because they can quickly and easily find nearby blood donation centers and complete the necessary documents digitally in advance. The simple retrieval of your own blood values directly in the app is also a major added value. ÖRK employees in the blood donation center are saving themselves red tape and are working more efficiently.

More than 11,000 downloads in the first few months after the launch of the “Mein Blut” app in the app stores prove: Practical mobile apps make life easier.

The Austrian Red Cross is clearly demonstrating that it pays off to question existing processes and bring them into the mobile age.

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