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Mobile business-to-employee (B2E) software applications continue to grow in popularity as companies experience the positive impacts these solutions have on worker productivity and customer satisfaction.
The North American wireless carrier has been a driving force behind this market, helping to open up mobile B2E opportunities to previously ignored customer segments. For many years, while very large enterprises were able to afford to build their own customized B2E apps, most small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) did not have the resources to do the same. Recognizing this void, small mobile-first application developers created affordable, cloud-based, prepackaged mobile worker apps
that SMBs could easily deploy and manage. The carrier became a major reseller of these apps, providing these early prepackaged application developers with a direct, affordable avenue into the small and mid-sized business market.
This has been a win-win relationship in many ways. The app developers enjoy a powerful distribution channel. And savvy carriers broadened their mobile strategies beyond just negotiating the next smartphone manufacturing contract. Historically, carriers had focused on promoting mobile devices and data plans; however, the more visionary operators realized they must also give their customers reasons to use those devices and plans—i.e., mobile applications. Otherwise, ARPU (average revenue per user) can stagnate and customer churn can heighten.
This study examines the current mobile B2E strategy of each of the major North American wireless carriers. Mobile-first apps (not mobilized desktop solutions) are the focus of discussion.
Wireless carrier strategies in the mobile business-to-employee applications sector exhibit a wide degree of variation. A minority have embraced this category, vetting the offerings of top-tier application developers, building a comprehensive selection of mobile-first worker apps, and leveraging their powerful carrier brands and ubiquitous presence to promote these mobile solutions to an initially wary set of prospects.
Unfortunately, the majority of today’s carriers have taken a less proactive approach. They have either decided not to participate in the mobile B2E category at all, or they assembled a small app portfolio five to ten years ago and have made few changes since.
This inability or refusal to lead on mobile worker software solutions may explain, in part, why fewer North American businesses are choosing wireless carriers as their preferred mobility partner.
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