The majority of today’s companies prefer to work with an outside expert when assessing, selecting and deploying mobile apps to their employees. When North American companies are asked to identify their preferred mobile application partner, wireless carriers face strong competition from major corporate software vendors (such as ClickSoftware and SAP) and also from systems integrators. However, carriers bring a number of unique strengths to the table, including:
- A strongly-vetted portfolio of solutions – Approximately a decade ago, savvy wireless carriers recognized that selling mobile worker apps could translate into increased wireless data usage and decreased customer churn. The carriers proceeded to identify and vet the newly-emerging mobile-first application developers, and quickly assembled a line-up of best-in-class solutions for their business customers to consider. This careful selection process continues today, offering customers peace of mind and portfolios that can include an array of worker solutions, including mobile field service management apps, digital forms, productivity apps, and vertical-specific offerings — all from top developers such as Actsoft, ProntoForms, GoCanvas, Intrepid Networks, CommandWear Systems, ClickSoftware, etc.
- One-stop-shop convenience – Wireless carriers can present businesses with a one-stop communications solution that encompasses all necessary components: network connectivity, mobile devices (hardware), mobile applications (software), professional services, and managed mobility services. Instead of dealing with multiple providers and attempting to piece together a full mobility solution themselves, businesses can save both time and money by interfacing with the all-in-one carrier.
- A single invoice – Because their solutions are typically cloud-based, wireless carriers make mobile worker apps available on a subscription basis, charging business customers a monthly per-user fee. This optimizes the affordability and scalability of the app. It also allows the carrier to include the mobile app charge on the customer’s regular monthly telecom invoice. This not only provides another convenience to the business customer (one less bill); it also allows the business to apply the mobile app charges toward any volume discount arrangement that may already be in place with the carrier.
- Availability of adjacent and complementary carrier offerings – On its own, one mobile worker app can offer a powerful set of capabilities. However, the top-tier carrier is also identifying real synergies for its business customer between these apps and other components of its broader business solutions portfolio – such as fleet management and asset tracking offerings, enterprise mobility management platforms, business messaging solutions, etc. The carrier provides customers with an all-encompassing mobility perspective.
- Ongoing pursuit of innovation and differentiation – The mobile worker app category is a dynamic and growing segment of today’s mobility market. Providers cannot afford to stand still, and forward-thinking carriers recognize mobile worker applications as an opportunity to burnish their technology leadership credentials. Leading carriers realize that a generational shift is taking place in today’s workforce, with the entry of younger employees who are demanding the same type of mobile apps and cutting-edge technologies that they enjoy in their personal lives. These carriers are prodding their app developer partners to explore and implement new technologies, such as artificial intelligence. The leading carriers are also taking on a stronger and more visionary product development role, with solution modularization and new vertical-specific offerings being two growing areas of interest.
Companies and organizations that are introducing or expanding their deployment of mobile worker applications should strongly consider partnering with a top-tier wireless carrier to select and implement these solutions. Before selecting a mobile worker apps partner, carefully review and compare the candidates’ product portfolios, partnerships, adjacent solutions, and technology roadmaps.
You can learn more about North American wireless carriers and their role as mobile worker application providers in the Frost & Sullivan study, “Wireless Carrier Strategies and Growth Opportunities in the Mobile Worker Apps Market, 2018: Leveraging Mobile Business-to-Employee Solutions in a Highly Competitive Market.” 9ABE-65, December 2018 at https://store.frost.com.