Miscellaneous Forbes

Enterprise Software: How To Go Mobile-First


Tom Taulli, Contributor

May 13, 2014

The enterprise software market is certainly ripe for mobile growth. Yet many of the traditional vendors – and even cloud startups – really do not know how to put together the right approach.

What to do? Well, a good idea would be to check out GetFeedback.com, which is taking on SurveyMonkey to disrupt the customer survey market with engaging, mobile-ready surveys. As a testament to its success, the company has customers like ESPN, ExactTarget, Facebook, Fox Sports, LinkedIn, Nike, The North Face, Oracle Responsys, Salesforce.com, Virgin America, and Yahoo!

So here’s what he had to say:

Tom Taulli: What do companies need to consider when building a mobile-first approach for enterprise customers?

Kraig Swensrud: For GetFeedback.com, the primary consideration was is the rate at which mobile communications were rising in the area of customer service. By the end of 2013 over 50% of all communications between companies and their customers were accessed via mobile devices. So if an enterprise wants to engage with customers to hear their feedback on a product meeting, a support interaction, or an event they attended, it is an imperative that they choose a mobile-first solution. The reality is that most companies don’t have the resources or the bandwidth to customize older solutions to work well on every new device, every new screen size, or every new browser version. Therefore, they need their vendors to deliver an out-of-the-box solution that works on the myriad of devices that exist in today’s world.

Another key point to note is that attention spans on mobile devices are different than laptops or desktops. Mobile users access their smartphones during those few minutes between meetings, on a taxi ride, waiting to board a plane, or in line at the grocery store. Enterprises simply can’t engage with their customers as they did a decade ago, assuming that a customer is seated in front of their laptop or desktop with a giant monitor. So technology vendors also need to create mobile-first solutions that deliver a new user experience…one that is simple, visual, and engaging.

Taulli: Facebook (FB) has done a lot of things right with regard to mobile monetization. What are some key takeaways we can learn from Zuck?

Swensrud: One of the key things we’ve learned from Facebook is actually quite simple: just look at the data. As recently as August 2013, Facebook reported that 78.9% of daily users in America were using Facebook on mobile, and in the UK, 83% of daily active users were on mobile. Having recognized this trend early by studying the usage patterns, Facebook was able to adjust its product strategy for their rising mobile user base. The data is not too different in the enterprise space, with companies such as Litmus and Salesforce ExactTarget reporting customer email open rates on mobile devices up +21% year over year. At the end of 2012, I wondered why all of the legacy players in the online survey software market seemed to be ignoring this trend, which was a key driver that eventually led me to create GetFeedback.com.

Taulli: Given your background at salesforce.com (CRM), how are you leveraging that experience at GetFeedback.com?

Swensrud: Having worked at Salesforce.com for nearly seven years, and having worked directly with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff for much of that time, Marc often talked about approaching a software market with a beginner’s mind. A beginner’s mind is simply an entrepreneurial mindset. When founders start a company they often ask, “What’s possible now? How can new technologies be used to solve existing business problems in an entirely new way?” At GetFeedback.com, we are looking at the multi-billion dollar online survey software market with a beginner’s mind and wondering, with all of this great new mobile technology that’s seeping into every interaction companies have with their customers, why is there a 10-year innovation gap in this market? Why haven’t the legacy providers re-invented themselves for this new world?

My tenure at Salesforce also helped me internalize the philosophy of putting customer success above all else. At GetFeedback.com, we strive to do 3 things exceptionally well: (1) Deliver an amazing product with a great user experience, (2) Create a mobile-first paradigm that allows our customers to succeed in today’s multi-device, and (3) Provide unparalleled customer service by resolving technical issues or questions in a matter of minutes.

Taulli: What is the most important piece of advice you can share with entrepreneurs about mobile strategy?

Swensrud: Don’t wait. The mobile revolution is well underway, with over 1.5 billion smartphones globally, a number that is likely to rise to 5 billion in just a few short years. As a result, every aspect of the way companies engage with their customers and their employees will need to change, and every legacy technology provider is ripe for disruption.

Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is an advisor of tech companies and author of books on venture capital, M&A and IPOs.

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