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5 Ways Real-Time Mobile Apps Delight Customers And Streamline Manufacturing

  • 2017-mobile-apps-in-manufacturingProviding real-time responses 24/7 on any mobile device anywhere is the new normal in 2017.
  • 54% of B2B companies selling online report that their customers are using smartphones to research purchases, and 52% say that their customers are using smartphones to buy online
  • The majority of CEOs (86%) see mobility as essential to creating and sustaining a competitive advantage.
  • Industrial manufacturing CEOs prioritize mobility (73%), cybersecurity (72%) and data mining and analysis (70%) as their top three priorities for attaining competitive advantage.

PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) annually surveys global CEOs to learn about their current and future priorities, plans and technology adoption trends. PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey (free, no opt-in) is based on interviews with 1,322 CEOs located in 77 countries. The survey provides valuable insights into the strategic direction enterprises are taking with technology investments.

The following graphic from the report illustrates the strategic importance CEOs are placing on mobile technologies:

Competing On Accuracy, Speed And Responsiveness Is How You Win Today

CEOs at the world’s leading industrial manufacturing companies share a common focus on how to continually improve the accuracy, speed, and responsiveness of their companies using mobile technologies. A recent study by research firm Forrester shows that 54% of B2B companies selling online report that their customers are using smartphones to research purchases, and 52% say that their customers are using smartphones to buy online.

Being ready to respond with complete quotes, pricing, order status, delivery dates, updated service information on a 24/7 basis on any device anywhere is the new normal. Amazon’s ability to take orders, process, ship and deliver them in some cases all within 24 hours is driving up expectations in B2B selling too.  And a key part of making sure you can compete in 2017 and beyond is by having an integrated mobile apps strategy that provides customers the information they need when they need it.

The following are five ways real-time mobile apps delight customers and streamline manufacturing:

  1. Enabling configure, price and quoting (CPQ) apps to provide real-time updates on any device, anywhere wins more deals and keeps customers sold on doing business with you. According to a recent Gartner study, the competitor in any deal who is the first to produce a quality quote will win the deal 70% of the time. Given the competitive intensity around delivering the first, highest quality quote possible, having mobile apps that are based on real-time Salesforce and SAP integration is a must-have. From the very first interaction with any new prospect to closing a sale, having mobile apps that deliver real-time information gained through CRM and ERP integration is key.
  1. Being able to answer “When will my order ship?” anytime, anywhere on any device, at any time is what it takes to win and keep customers today. It’s time to challenge the outdated assumption that customers only want to speak with you when your legacy systems are available. The best manufacturers are modeling Amazon today, providing real-time alerts on when orders are being prepared to ship, providing e-mail and text alerts and delivery times and shipping information. Mobile apps need to be used to extend past the boundaries of legacy systems that don’t meet the minimum expectations of customers today. The CEO of an electrical machine manufacturer told me that once he was able to launch mobile apps for his customers, there was a 76% reduction in order status calls to the enterprise sales teams and 13% increase in sales the first six months these apps were available.
  1. Getting in control of quality and being able to manage customer expectations and relationships to positive outcomes with accurate data. Quality, compliance, inbound inspection and quality assurance are applications that often are isolated from CRM, ERP and customer service systems. The lack of integration between these systems wastes valuable time in getting back to customers on how best to solve quality problems and address questions they may have. That’s why it’s so important to have compliance, product quality, and quality assurance data delivered on mobile apps in a context the customer can use. Having this data available over mobile apps, enabled for customers’ use via Salesforce integration, reduces problem escalations and provides greater accuracy. Enabling quality data on mobile apps also helps to unify operations and production, giving everyone on the shop floor visibility into quality levels of order and long-term, over product lines being produced. Making data and reporting available company-wide often requires integration to SAP ERP and legacy systems, with companies including enosiX emerging as market leaders.
  1. Reducing Field Service call cancellations and delays by accurately communicating parts and staffing requirements shows respect for your customers. There is nothing more frustrating from a customer’s perspective than waiting for a field service technician to show up, only to find they don’t have the necessary parts or are told the problem was completely different than the one that needs to be solved. By enabling Salesforce integration with field service apps and providing customers with real-time alerts to their mobile devices via an app, field service calls can lead to solved problems and higher customer satisfaction faster.
  1. Providing customers with real-time updates via mobile apps on delivery dates driven by supply chain conditions helps in managing expectations while giving production planners the information they need to meet demand. Manufacturers whose business models rely on rapid inventory turns, tight production schedules, and thin margins are the leading early adopters of mobile technologies for logistics and supply chain coordination. Enabling mobile apps to provide the latest updates on Available-To-Promise (ATP), Capable-To-Promise (CTP) requires SAP integration across the Salesforce platform. Being able to provide updates on how suppliers are potentially impacting their delivery dates on orders is invaluable in managing expectations over the long-term.

Software Firms Now 42% Of Venture Capital Invested In 2014

Cloud Computing SaaS Forecasts Just over $4B was invested in software deals by venture capitalists (VCs) during Q1, 2014, four times as much as biotechnology.

Software deals netted out 42% of all dollars invested in the first quarter of 2014, with biotechnology receiving 11%.  VCs invested $816M in IT Services or 9% of all dollars, making this the third largest investment category.  Interest in IT Services continues to accelerate, with dollars invested in this category increasing 33% compared to the prior quarter.

These findings are from the latest edition of The MoneyTree Report, a quarterly study of venture capital investment in the United States produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) using Thomson Reuters data.  You can find the full data sets of the study here in Microsoft Excel format.  The MoneyTree Report Q4 2013/ Full-year 2013 is also available in PDF form here and there is no opt-in to download it.

Take-Aways From The Study

  • A total of $9.5B in 951 deals was invested in the first quarter of this year, up 12% in dollars and down 14% in the number of deals compared to the 4th quarter of 2013.  In the previous quarter, a total of $8.4B was invested in 1,112 deals.
  • In 2013, $11B (37%) of all venture investments were in software, $4.6B (16%) in biotechnology and $2.96B (10%) were in Media and Entertainment.  The following graphic shows the distribution of amounts invested by industry in 2013.  Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

Distribution of amount invested by industry 2013

  • In the first quarter of 2014, software companies also received three times the number of deals of the next closest industry category, Media & Entertainment.  46% or 126 software deals were completed in Q1, compared to 40 in Media & Entertainment. Biotechnology companies were third with 8% or 22 deals.  The following graphic provides a comparison of deals by industry for Q1, 2014.  Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

distribution of venture capital deals Q1 2014

  • Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, First Round Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Inc. and Andreessen Horowitz LLC completed the most venture capital deals in 2013, as the graphic below shows.  Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

distribution of deals by vc firm in 2013

  • Software’s dominance in Q1, 2014 relative to other industries is evident in the following graphic, showing 42% of dollars invested followed by biotechnology (11%) and IT Services (9%).  The study data shows nine of the 17 industries are shrinking it terms of venture investments.  Telecommunications is down 68%, Networking and Equipment down 47% and semiconductors, down 17%.  Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

distribution of amounts invested by industry Q1 2014

  • Overall first-time financing decreased 25% to $1.2B in Q1, with a corresponding 24% drop in the number of companies to 271.
  • 48% of dollars invested during Q1 into companies receiving venture capital for the first time are in the software industry.  46% of the deals to 126 companies who captured $571M in Q1 lead to this industry dominating first sequencing investments.
  • Top regions where startups received funding in Q1 include Silicon Valley (50% of all VC funding), New England (11%) and the New York Metro Area (10%).  The Los Angeles/Orange County area was fourth with 5% of all venture funding in Q1, 2014.
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