What is a Mobile-First App and why it is crucial for your Business

As consumers, a mobile-first app means an App which was created to better satisfy consumer needs with new and exciting features available on modern mobile — to provide the best experience on Smartphones. Web Application, when available, is complementary to Mobile offerings. It means vendors, like us, asking “What new and exciting things can we do with mobile? And how can we use them to enhance our services and improve user experience?” Consumers piped in with their expectations to provide some valuable input:

Cecelia Bittner said, “I use mobile browsers constantly too. But I think that they are clunky. I like to have a smooth native app experience.”. She added, “being ‘mobile-first’ means knowing and creating for consumers at a deeper level than was necessary before consumers had the world at their fingertips and in their pockets at all times. Personalization, customization, and responsiveness.”

Robyn Garofalo said, “As a consumer, I want a mobile app to be seamless and easy-to-use; if it’s not intuitive, it’s not going to work for me. And an app should improve the basic experience somehow.”

Paul R Ruppert said, “apps “adding value” MUST translate into driving revenue for an enterprise. That’s what it’s all about. Even beyond real good purchases to virtual goods purchases, the measure of the value of “mobile first” to an enterprise has to be translated to transactions that drive revenue.”

A mobile-first App is a first-class citizen - a product, not an extension of an Web application as many so mobile apps are today. It means it provides a fully functional offline support which allows all critical operations to proceed without requiring Internet access, however synchronizing with Cloud adds value and protects business data from corrupt, broken or lost devices.

Here is a real-world example of that ‘mobile first’ thinking in action: It comes from Srimaan Guntoju of mobile CRM & Accounting Service for Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners, Relaso One, who explained that Relaso One decided to be mobile-first application because Smartphones allows us to offer many unique capabilities that traditional CRM (even CRM with mobile apps) cannot. For example:

  • Automation. automation of most common and mundane CRM tasks like recording every call, SMS or Email in CRM,
  • Business at the speed of light.
    • You don’t have to fire up your CRM every time to take notes with your call (or use a diary and then write it again in CRM which is even worse!). With Relaso One you can note down details as you are listening, add tags to rapidly classify the prospect, even record the conversation if you like.
    • You can create and email a quotation / estimate even during the call, all in few seconds. Send an invoice, add task and meeting (even get his confirmation) all the while listening to your customer. By the time you have finished the conversation your business is done and you can move on to the next client. No more pending tasks for end-of-day slogging!
  • Just-in-time Business Intelligence.
    • When a prospect calls you, you can see on your call screen what was the last communication with them, associated task & meeting, notes you have written, tags you have used to classify him — everything you need to personalize your conversation with him without you having to remember anything between calls.
    • When a client calls you, you can in addition to the above, see revenue he has generated, outstanding payment, if any, and can even send him an estimate or create an invoice then and there.
  • Live Reporting on Mobile. Reporting no longer means browsing Web reports on the puny mobile browser. In Mobile-First Relaso One you can get 56 live business reports directly from the mobile, optimized for mobile display and works across all types of mobiles, same as the app.
  • Seamless Integration with core Mobile capabilities: Relaso One seamlessly integrates with Google Contacts / People App, with Global search which is a available to all apps, all possible because it is a mobile-first native app designed to leverage the core functionality of the platform.

It allowed Relaso One design team to create a highly intuitive, smooth native app experience that is seamless and easy-to-use while keeping in mind the bottom-line: It MUST translate into driving revenue for the business. It comes with full offline support, so while Relaso One synchronizes with Cloud when Internet it available, it also works perfectly even without prolonged net connection; when Internet finally becomes available it then seamlessly synchronizes with the web.

Mobile-first means thinking strategically about if and how mobile functionality can enhance your product, service or user experience. Jonathan Marshall, CSC’s global portfolio director for end-user services, says tablets and smartphones have completely changed how we think about applications. “Mobile devices demand sniper-like applications with very specific functions. That stands in contrast to the shotgun-like approach of desktop applications.”

A big thank you to Cecelia Bittner, Robyn Garofalo and Paul R Ruppert for a great conversation.

Filed under: CRM

Tags: Mobile CRM, Mobile First, Small Business, Solopreneur