GE Digital: why mobile apps matter in a digital strategy

By Georgia Wilson
GE Digital’s Matthew Wells on why mobile apps matter in a digital strategy and how organisations can get the most value...

The role of mobile apps in a digital strategy: why do they matter?

With the latest acceleration in digital technology adoption – driven by the impact of COVID-19 – the fundamental ways in which both customers and businesses interact with each other have significantly changed. A simple smartphone can act as not only a phone but a camera, entertainment, wallet, health monitor, social enhancer and shop.

When looking to implement a successful mobile app strategy, it is important for organisations to understand that a company’s mobile app strategy is not a separate entity, a business’s “mobile app strategies can play a critical role in a company’s overall digital strategy,” comments Matthew Wells, Vice President, Digital Product Management at GE Digital.  

“Mobility enables information sharing across multiple locations in minutes, not days and weeks, while simultaneously reducing costs through optimisation. It can also reduce operational challenges by eliminating administration of some manual processes, enabling a smoother and faster path to efficiency.”


For organisations looking to incorporate a mobile app strategy into its digital strategy Wells explains that, “as with any change, the challenges are training, partnerships with knowledgeable vendors that can assist with implementation, and identifying champions within the organisation to make sure the strategy is implemented completely and effectively.”

However, organisations that can address these challenges, those in the industrial companies for example, stand to benefit from the ability to “extend operations to the field, enabling flexibility and increasing productivity and efficiency, as well as ensure worker safety and operations continuity with secure controls. In addition, they can facilitate worker location flexibility, support external monitoring and contingency operations, and depending on their industry, weather-proof operations.”

While “a mobile solution provides industrial companies with the ability to support remote and mobile worker access to plant monitoring and control systems as well as the long-term flexibility and cost reduction benefits,” reflects Wells, in order to experience such benefits “they should, identify and take multiple key considerations into account when implementing a mobile strategy: Security, compliance and reliability, access to controls and monitoring of user access, interactive permissioning, user capabilities, safety, and equipment compatibility.”

Getting the most value out of a mobile app strategy

When it comes to the best strategy and approach for digital mobile apps, Wells identifies that it depends on the maturity of an organisation. “For those organisations new to mobile apps, the best approach is to focus on reducing downtime by enabling the process and technical experts with data on mobile devices so they can effectively field questions from the workforce. More mature organisations should focus on leaning out their processes by eliminating fixed screens on the shop floor and enabling their workers to make control decisions anywhere.”

Core aspects of a successful mobile app strategy include “focusing on optimising specific metrics like process downtime, as well as having a good UX to reduce the training requirements.” It is also important to “keep pace with regulatory requirements, increase capacity, and improve reliability when implementing an effective mobile strategy, and maintaining high levels of security and customer service, which can all have an impact on bottom line and operations continuity,” comments Wells.

Ultimately to get the most value out of a mobile app strategy, Wells concludes that “transformation of any sort requires a clear understanding of your current limitations, a vision of what the future organisation looks like, executive buy-in, financial support, new organisation models, and an understanding of the outcomes you want to achieve by implementing this strategy. Planning, organisation, training, and prioritisation are key to getting the most out of a digital mobile strategy.”


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