Enterprise mobility applications are at the centre stage of many CPG organisations. Mobile applications offer compelling business benefits to the Chief Customer Officer and his or her VP Sales team. If well conceived and executed, they can yield an immediate 30% improvement in sales productivity and improve efficiency on the field and reduce the overall cost of operations by 15 %.
Mobile solutions will let the field force operate anywhere, anytime, beyond the confines of the office. This allows the sales force gain access to real-time customer data, product data and inventory data, so much so that mobile applications have become critical to run the business. They are no longer a choice if one wants to stay ahead in a competitive market.
However, running large mobility projects can be complicated, and often do not deliver the objectives. Most of them fall behind schedule and deliver less business needs than promised. Having implemented a few large global mobility programmes in a MNC across geographies, I have learnt quite a few lessons. The following are the practical 6Ps to successfully execute an enterprise mobility application.
1. Pilot- start small, learn, expand
There is a tendency to start mobility projects in a big bang way akin to ERP implementations. Mobility solutions, unfortunately, don't work well that way. It is best to evolve, feedback, change and adapt them to users.
Typically mobile applications are mission critical and used on the field in front of customers. It is good to start small, minimise risk and grow big. Start with a smaller pilot user group and pay sufficient attention to the parameters you use for the pilot selection as well. There should be enough risk appetite within the pilot group and senior stakeholders to withstand challenges.
It is a misconception to take the most complex environment and full project scope as a pilot to prove a system, as in the end the pilot will never finish and the project drags on like a heavy truck without a break. In a sales force automation project for a large FMCG company, we phased a complex project into three phases showing tangible deliverables at each stage to ensure that we got a good buy-in and at the same time showed project benefits at each stage. In this instance, the population was 1,000 users. We started with only 10 users, made it successful within a few weeks and then scaled it to 100 users in the next phase and finally to 1,000 users. The more frequent the project delivery, the greater the cumulative value delivered from the project and higher the success rate.
2. Presentation is everything
The user interface of mobile applications should hook the sales force to the mobile application. If you get this right, the sales force on the ground will sell your project to the board and half your job is done! Great user experience is rooted in understanding and paying attention to the details. It is important to note here that the interface should be designed the way people think as opposed to how the device works.
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