According to IT research company Gartner, more than 50 percent of users will first turn to their smartphones or tablets for all their online activities by 2018. Laptops and desktops will take a backseat to handheld mobile devices in just a few years.
This key prediction adds more pressure on businesses to adopt mobile solutions to remain competitive. But with so many options in the software market today, it can be both challenging and confusing to choose the best fit for your organization.
Because different organizations have different needs, there’s no single formula for selection that works for everyone. Nevertheless, the following factors for consideration can help your organization make the right choice:
A digital solution can look good on paper but fail in practice. Just because it has a comprehensive list of features doesn’t mean your staff will find it usable. Between an app that has it all and an app that’s easy to use, they will choose the latter. Ultimately, they want a powerful yet simple app with intuitive design to help streamline their processes and boost their productivity. The point of transitioning to a digital solution is to save time and effort, so it defeats the purpose to select an app that takes ages for them to learn how to use.
With criminals getting better at hacking, cybercrime is on the rise. Organizations handling personal information of their customers should take the necessary precautions to keep their data safe, and one way to do that is to select digital solutions with enterprise-grade security measures. In the event of a breach, your organization will be held accountable for leakage of sensitive customer data whether or not you’re using a third-party app, so might as well choose a provider with the necessary security certifications for your industry.
The implementation stage will elicit questions from your staff, making training another important factor to consider when choosing among digital solutions. Providers should offer adequate resources to help staff learn how to use the new software, along with on-hand support through phone, email, and/or face-to-face consultations. Most providers offer different kinds of training depending on what the organization wants, so discuss your options with them before making a decision.
No system is perfect. Even digital solutions designed to have high availability will experience downtime due to scheduled events like routine maintenance or unforeseen circumstances like network outage. At times like these, the provider should be able to deliver information in real time and set expectations accordingly, and not leave their clients in the dark wondering what’s going on. Also, your staff may have questions way past the implementation stage, so it’s critical to have access to live help whenever possible.
Digital solutions don’t have to be bespoke to be customizable. Your organization can still subscribe to ready-made commercial software and tailor it to a certain degree to fit your requirements. Some organizations are fine with using digital solutions straight out of the box, but if customization is important to yours, this is another thing you need to discuss extensively with potential providers.
Do you want your organization’s data to be accessible from anywhere and anytime? Then look for digital solutions with cloud-hosted option. Fortunately, many mobile apps are now available on the cloud, so finding providers to meet this requirement won’t be hard. What you should pay attention to is the cloud service provider they’re partnered with. Among the most well-known cloud service providers are Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Google Cloud Platform, Joyent, and Microsoft Azure, but there are many others as you can see from the list on Software Insider, a search engine for business software. You may also want to check out IT website Network World’s comparison of these providers’ uptime to give you an idea of their performance.
As your organization grows, so do its demands. This means you’ll need a digital solution that can seamlessly integrate new users and scale support whenever necessary — and in some cases, add more features — without causing disruption to service delivery. If the software you’re using is not evolving with your organization, then it’s more of a liability than an asset.
The process of selecting the right digital solutions for your organization is not a quick or straightforward one. It can take months (or a few years, depending on how meticulous you are) of researching and comparing apps from different providers, and having so many options is just making the whole thing go on longer. But invest enough time, and you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.