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Using Mobile Apps to Transform Business Processes

As our need for just-in-time information flourishes, our reliance on traditional technological processes has decreased significantly. The shift from personal computers to mobile devices has picked up now more than ever. It is difficult to determine whether stationary computers will vanish into obscurity; however, there is no doubt that mobile devices are here to stay. Our reliance on these ingenious pieces of technology is overwhelming. Tremendous time and energy are saved through the use of a mobile device, as we can access information anywhere with ease.

The expansion of new types of tasks that are carried out using mobile devices has arrived. Smartphones can solve nearly every need of their users, from providing detailed directions anywhere around the globe to enabling access to the cloud at all times. We take these benefits for granted as the opportunities provided by our devices become more and more integrated into our everyday lives.

The information that we seek is not freely floating on our devices. Mobile applications are the key to the success of these devices, as they provide a gateway to our needs as consumers. Whether it’s the weather forecast, the highest-rated local coffee shop, a traffic report, or a stock market update, it’s an app that provides the answer.

At just over one hundred billion, the number of app downloads around the world to date is astonishing. And this number is expected to grow even further in the coming years.

Although mobile applications are commonplace today, most consumers think “personal use” when they think of apps. We all understand that there is an app for our favorite social media site or a card game app we can kill time with while waiting, but in what other ways can apps be leveraged, and who can benefit from them?

The answer is businesses.

I have seen businesses of nearly every size begin to see the potential behind creating an app for customers. Retailers can now move even further online to adjust their business model to the changing times. Transportation services have created apps that convenience users by helping them navigate routes and times, all while providing pricing. Some financial institutions allow their customers to scan and digitally deposit checks from their smartphones. These applications are beneficial; however, they are far from the only practical mobile business apps.

Mobile applications for business processes are now more prominent when it comes to how businesses run from day to day. Applications created specifically for the operational side of an organization have gained traction. The benefits of employing an app for use on a mobile device to transform a business process begin with the very reason we use apps in the first place: convenience.

For example, instead of handwriting notes on data or inventory while out of the office, an application that allows data to be entered on the spot by typing or talking removes an otherwise lengthy process. That saved time can then be better spent visiting clients and prospective customers, providing convenience in an otherwise tedious operation.

Another example of a mobile app for a business’s internal use is one that facilitates mobile sales. For deals that close quickly or unexpectedly, organizations can have contracts signed electronically, no matter where a meeting may have taken them. Presentations and data can be displayed at a moment’s notice if needed, as well. Data on previous deals made with a customer can be easily accessed while heading to meet with him or her.

Mobile apps can streamline processes, including supply chain, purchasing, distribution, or maintenance processes, so that a business can run as productively as possible. With information available on demand via mobile device from one accessible location, organizations tend to increase productivity and identify areas that need further improvement, which can reduce cost inefficiencies while increasing revenue.

Communication and collaboration are improved through mobile apps for business processes, as employees begin to more clearly understand roles and discuss the discrepancies highlighted by the application. Employees instantaneously become more productive, as time is saved through the assistance that mobile applications provide.

Business applications can be purchased and modified by organizations, or designed from scratch to fit the unique needs of a business. By creating a mobile app tailored to its business, an organization gains a competitive edge from having something unique in its industry. There are dozens of businesses that specialize in creating mobile apps to fit the unique needs of their customers.

The ways in which mobile applications can be used is seemingly endless, and right now, mobile apps for business processes represent a growing Hard Trend that every organization should address, as such apps can streamline internal processes. If productivity and effectiveness are your long-term goals, ask yourself how you can use mobility to improve every business process.

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Pay Attention to Peer and Partner Departments

What are you doing to pay attention to other departments? That’s right. In today’s organizations, we have so many different business models, we have matrix organizations. Whereas a leader you might have virtual relationships with you, that don’t have a direct line to you but maybe they have responsibilities that impact your team. Or maybe you have other departments who have to get work done before you can touch it in order for you to proceed. We need to pay attention to other departments. So, today, what I would like to consider is how do we have that profession attention commitment to other departments?

The first step is an obvious one and that’s about building relationships. Now, building relationships sounds so easy but how are you doing it? Are you inviting people to your team meeting so that they can get an insight into what your team’s talking about? Are you shadowing people to understand what’s going on in their business?

One of my clients is a major media company, and they have an advertising and sales decision. Now in advertising and ad is called a “spot”, so what I was able to do was to follow a spot. Like a day in the life of a spot from the moment they sold the ad to the client all the way through until it was placed on television. What as fascinating about that was working with all the different departments to understand how everything impacts something else.

When was the last time you developed department relationships by reviewing end-to-end processes for efficiencies? What relationships could grow? What policies could you update?

The first step in truly paying attention to other departments is build relationships. This can often happen through things like affinity groups. Another one of my clients has major affinity groups for all kinds of different reasons that people meet. Can you build relationships through affinity groups?

The second strategy is to share success. That’s right. So what does that mean? Understanding objectives of other departments is really important because you can know how to celebrate when they get some great things happening. But in the same way, if another department has an implication, has and impact is probably a better word, on what you do, then share with them when that goes well. Share the successes and not just the challenges. Too often we only reach out to another department when somethings gone wrong.

Wouldn’t it be cool to proactively pay attention to celebrate success together? Share new stories, share customer experiences, testimonials, emails that are great. Share success stories with other departments, so they have a greater appreciation of what they’re doing and how it impacts you and vice versa.

The third strategy is to invite collaboration. When you have someone who comes into your team from another department, they have a very different perspective. They might look at the world more creatively. They might have a great idea so ask for their input, encourage them to share, openly, about anything they see that might improve the way you do things, might enhance the client experience.

I have one client where they do regular Lunch and Learns for other departments. It’s a great way for them to meet other people, to share success stories about what’s going on but also, to be able to collaborate on how they can perform better as a company overall.

Three ways that you can pay attention to other departments. Build relationships, share success and invite collaboration. What would you add?

You see I believe that when we truly pay attention to others, attention comes back over and repeatedly. You’ve heard me say it before and in our book, “Attention Pays”, that when you pay attention, attention pays, right?

What are some additional ways that you can really pay professional attention and commit to other departments? Other departments impact your success as a leader. Like I said, “When you pay attention, attention pays.”

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