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Why Your Business Should Build Apps for Your Employees

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about why your business needs a mobile app, and I mentioned that many businesses create apps not for their customers, but for their employees. And they don’t do it just to be nice (although that’s always good too!). Instead, there is real ROI to be had for businesses that invest in building mobile applications to help improve employee efficiency.

Company-specific apps (also called enterprise or in-house apps) have the potential to dramatically increase productivity, and ultimately to improve employee satisfaction as well. If your employees have apps that are designed specifically for them and help them work better, faster, and more collaboratively, then that will increase efficiency and become a competitive advantage for you.

So what kind of apps do your employees need and want, you ask?

Businesses can create apps for tracking inventory, scheduling staff, taking payments, order oversight, tracking finances, client management, employee supervision, setting objectives, remote document access, and many, many more. The easiest way to determine what kind of apps would benefit your employees is simply to ask them. Questions like “What are your pain points on the job?” and “What processes could an app help you with?” will give you a good idea of where to start. The ultimate goal is to enable your employees to accomplish more in less time – and that is how you develop quality talent that will get stuff done.

Business Employee with iPadImage Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council’s chief economist, Raymond J. Keating, proclaimed the benefits of building apps for your employees: “The spread of mobile apps among small businesses, and the commensurate savings in terms of time and money, is another wonderful example of how innovation and investment in the private market create opportunities and savings for entrepreneurs, their businesses, and ultimately, for consumers.”

So how much money are we talking about? To what extent can enterprise apps really boost your business? According to this great infographic, here is a notable fact: small business employees reported saving 11.3 hours per week using apps. This amounts to an average of $275 per week, or $14,317 per year. What would you do with an extra $14,000?

Research shows that 61.5% of companies have already built two or more apps, and 10.8% plan to build more than 20 apps by the end of 2013. You could wait and watch while your competition builds their own enterprise app stores and the benefits turn them into highly effective super-competitors. Or you could take a proactive approach and beat them to it. I think you know which side of the fence you’d rather be on (hint: one side might not be in business in ten years).

We met with a prospective client a couple of weeks ago, and he made a great point when he described the reasons he wanted to create an app specifically for his workforce: “I could spend the money hiring one more person for a year, or I could build an app that will enable one employee to do the work of five in a single day. That’s a good investment.”

He’s right, you know. So consider building apps for your employees and your business will thank you. What apps would help your company operate more efficiently? 

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