(This post was sponsored. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Despreneur.)
Production and sales processes are relatively easy to manage when they both are controlled by a single company. In theory, when control is shared between multiple companies – manufacturers and installation/selling partners – their cooperation should still remind that of several departments under one roof. But to achieve this you would have to go to great lengths.
Enterprise mobile applications designed for your partner companies aren’t supposed to spare you all the efforts of creating a bridge between you and your partners, but they will definitely help you out.
What can a partner enterprise application bring to your business?
Manufacturers often make use of multiple companies that deploy or install their products. Some of their partners may be sizable and even branded, but most of them are small companies without their own IT department. Still, as long as they help you generate revenues, it’s to your advantage to assist them.
By delivering an enterprise mobile app to your partner, you simplify their work with your product and with that – make them choose you over competitors. An app that, for instance, guides a partner company’s technician through the installation process of your product would improve service quality and thus help to increase customer satisfaction. So in return for your invested effort, you could get both loyal partners and loyal customers.
App or website?
You may cherish a comforting thought that the information you put on a website might suffice. But, getting back to our mobile installation guide, think of how inconvenient it would be for field workers to depend on the Internet to use it. Cellular Internet and wireless are left, right and center, yet, on some occasions mobile networks can be unavailable. Besides, would a customer appreciate it when the electrician’s first question on the site is “Excuse me, what is your Wi-Fi password?” If a customer calls an electrician or an Internet provider specialist, there can be no electricity for the Wi-Fi to function at all. So a mobile app with offline support is the only possible option.
In case you have a large configuration tool, a website catalogue will barely be convenient. On the other hand, a mobile app can provide quick access to all the categories along with a user-friendly menu that will help app users find the item they need without a fuss.
Another advantage of a mobile application over a website is its ability to promptly collect, store and upload data. An installation specialist could take a snapshot of a product flaw and notify you about it instantly via such an app. For personal caregivers who collect patients’ data outside hospitals through wearable sensors (probably, of your production), it’s easier to have an app to store the data and then automatically upload it to patients’ records. And actually, only a mobile app can be compatible with any sensor-equipped hardware.
Custom or off-the-shelf?
ScienceSoft mobile consultants put custom development above off-the-shelf solutions. We believe that only a custom application could accurately reflect your business and be seamlessly integrated into your IT infrastructure.
You can’t ignore the threat of malicious software on app stores either. Surely, you can avoid risks by buying apps from trusted developers only. Still, wouldn’t it be more convenient to make these reliable developers your own vendors and have them develop apps according to your personal requirements?
What a partner app can do?
An enterprise partner app can serve as a mobile showcase that will help your partner’s field salespeople demonstrate the whole list of products to prospects and customers. Alternatively, it can be an ‘internal’ product catalogue intended to inform your partner about wholesale prices. You can also enable a loyalty feature to inform partner companies about special offers, point systems and marketing events.
By keeping such information in mobile apps, you make it not just accessible, but also easy to update. Instead of editing a pdf or an Excel file of marketing plans, all you will have to do – is to add an item or event to the app.
Such enterprise partner apps as interactive manuals, technical guides or any other mobile knowledge bases can be useful for experts in specific areas. They can prove especially indispensable for your partner’s equipment specialists during the first weeks after your new product launch. With a detailed mobile guide for a fresh product, both you and your partners will quickly get on the same page and make the product easily catch on with customers.
How do I get it developed?
You certainly want your partner enterprise application to be safe, powerful and neat, and would probably go for a native application to get the most of it. However, it’s hard to guess what mobile platforms are in use by your partner’s employees, and the risks of missing the right platform are high. These risks are likely to increase if we consider the BYOD policy and Windows Phone.
In their turn, hybrid applications, such as those on Cordova, received some mixed reviews. As providers of enterprise mobile application development for both native and cross-platform apps, we can confirm that, sadly, in many cases Cordova isn’t powerful enough.
This, however, doesn’t mean you don’t have an alternative. With Xamarin, you can develop a rich and elaborate catalogue of your products and make it as agile and powerful in performance as if it were a native app. You can even surprise your partner company’s employees with a 100% native design, tailored to the platform of their devices, and make their work with an app totally intuitive.
Go for it
As you can see, the questions are many, but they are here to point you in the right direction. By delivering a mobile enterprise app to your partner, you will contribute both to their business and your own. So we say – be generous in the efforts you make to establish a better partnership and you will see how lavishly it pays off.
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