India biz should tap external customers via mobile apps

While Indian organizations have embraced mobile applications for employee enablement, they should look more at leveraging them to better connect with customers and partners, according to Forrester.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor

It's fascinating how the mobile industry is shaping every single interaction we have with our friends, family and even colleagues and clients at work. Overall the demand for mobiles and the surge in using mobile apps has rapidly grown in the last few years especially in India.
What's interesting though is that a lot of the usage in enterprise sector has certainly grown within organizations, but how many are really using them to target external customers and clients, is something most would like to know. 

Indian businesses should tap external customers via mobile apps.

"Indian organizations embrace mobile applications for employee enablement, but must also target external customers," noted Forrester research analyst Katyayan Gupta in his a blog post

Between June to August 2013, Forrester surveyed large and medium-size organizations in India to share details about their live enterprise mobility applications with a goal to understand how various Indian companies utilize mobile applications specifically to be connected with partners and employees. Out of the the 50 mobile app projects from 41 organizations with over 500 employees in India which were spread across verticals like manufacturing, financial services, automotive, media, healthcare and telecommunications there were some really interesting findings in the post. 

Some of the interesting highlights on the latest enterprise mobility app research in India were:

  • Mobile app development is skewed towards internal, employee-facing projects.

As per the blog, most organizations develop apps for employees as ROI calculation is more tangible as compared to customer or business partner centric apps. It says that sales force/field force automation is currently the most commonly driven sector in Indian organizations. Indeed, with lesser global enterprise social adoption and reducing cost on more expensive global softwares, a lot of organizations do prefer developing small time applications through which they could probably track this data internally and of course the data and findings would be more secure according to them.

  • The majority of projects are co-owned by IT and business, showing greater collaboration

Collaboration is key of course especially when skill sets and technology resources are diversified in various types of organizations. Hence these partnerships are fruitful mutually and they would get double the optimization in terms of end results. According to the blog 71 percent of the enterprise mobility app projects they covered are jointly owned by the IT team and the relevant business stakeholders. 

  • Application development is mostly outsourced

It says that 56 percent of all mobile applications they studied, were developed by an external vendor. This is where I talk about the service business being in place. Most certainly, cost gets optimized as there is a lot of competition from vendors even some startups doing application development on the side for bigger and medium size organizations. They have the skill, expertise and they get resources, infrastructure support they require from the IT and business team.

  • The average cost of application development is between US$40,000 and US$160,000

This seems to be quite a surprising number according to me. But pleasantly I'd have to say. It has certainly grown quite a bit with the depth that mobility and mobile industry has picked up within emerging markets and especially the Indian IT sector. According to the research, the cost for developing 55 percent of the mobile applications was between US$40,000 and US$160,000; 23 percent of the applications cost less than US$40,000, while the remaining 22 percent cost more than US$160,000. Essentially it was distributed among, development costs, coding, UX, design, integration and testing.

Indeed, mobile applications are certainly the right channel across various emerging markets where the saturation point is far from being reached. There's a lot more potential in the Asia-Pacific market compared with the Western markets. And I agree with this fact, after being closely observing a lot of trends in this market lately shifting focus on application usage, development.

Of course, the B2C space is something Asia has beaten more developed markets like U.S, according to a FICO study. The enterprise mobility space will also see a lot of growth, going by research that Forrester talked about. I for sure hope to see a lot more potential especially since, the growth market in India on the enterprise front also is far from saturation. What do you think?

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