The future success of North American businesses rests in large part on their ability to truly mobilize their employees. Smartphones and tablets are not enough--It is the application software those devices enable that increasingly makes the difference between winners and losers in a high stakes economy driven by an ever more demanding customer base. This study examines the results of the Frost & Sullivan 2018 Mobile Enterprise Applications Survey of North American purchase decision-makers.

As such, it:
1. Measures the current use of, and future decision-making behavior toward, mobile worker applications
2. Uncovers preferences and plans around a number of related mobility topics and issues in the workplace
3. Includes specific focus on three complex app categories: mobilized sales force automation, mobile workforce management (field service management), and mobile asset tracking

The questions in this survey largely refer to internal mobile business applications, i.e., those software apps that are deployed to mobile workers. These are also called Business-to-Employee (B2E) software applications.

Mobile worker apps allow employees real-time anywhere access to--and exchange of--information, collaboration and guidance. Companies justify their increasing investment in these software apps by pointing to the hard-dollar business impacts of increased efficiency and productivity and to enhanced customer engagement and employee satisfaction. As these survey results illustrate, mobile worker app needs are increasing in frequency and scope. This requires an app selection process that can encompass a widening range of variables, participants, and expectations that both app providers and app users should be aware of as development and purchase decisions are made.

Major challenges for mobile worker app users and vendors include: 1) Neutralizing user concerns regarding data security, 2) Optimizing growth with the proper balance between app management and app usability, 3) Determining which new capabilities and technologies to incorporate and when to do so, 4) Choosing the right partners in order to improve capabilities and/or open up new markets, and 5) Making informed decisions when choosing between packaged vs. customized solutions.

Key Issues Addressed

  • How pervasive are mobile worker apps in today's North American business sector? What are the near-term growth opportunities in the mobile worker applications market for today's providers?
  • What positive business impacts are users of mobile worker apps experiencing? What types of barriers prevent adoption of these solutions?
  • Which parties are typically involved in the application selection and deployment process? What types of external mobility partners—if any—are utilized in this process? What criteria are used to select these partners?
  • What criteria are most often used to select a specific mobile worker app? What is most popular—packaged third-party apps or fully customized solutions? Which delivery system is preferred—cloud or on-premise?
  • How do today's businesses characterize their current mobile worker app strategies—lagging, cutting-edge, or on par with their peers?
  • Is unauthorized mobile worker app use viewed as a problem? Which software application metrics are currently tracked by companies?
  • What is the level of interest in incorporating newer technologies such as wearables and artificial intelligence (AI)?
  • What are users reporting regarding more complex mobile worker apps (such as mobilized field service management and mobile sales force automation solutions)—in terms of customer satisfaction, expansion plans, business benefits, preferred mobile form factor, etc.?