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The Value of Smart Mobile Apps

May 16, 2018

I recently worked with an enterprise mobile app vendor that focuses on improving field representative servicing at FMCG/CPG companies. This offers a good case study in how mobile apps add value in the enterprise. We identified three high-level categories of added value:

  • Efficiency – doing more with the same or less effort. In one implementation, they found that account managers could complete two more visits per day with guidance from mobile apps.
  • Additional Sales – increasing sales by having the right products at the right price at the right stores. This comes from fewer stock outs, ensuring the right product mix and having the right displays and promotions in stores for seasonal sales patterns.
  • Savings – reducing the cost of running and supporting the process including training and motivating people, supporting applications, and proactively addressing potentially costly issues.

Some of the more interesting ways that mobile apps can add value in ways that were not feasible with more traditional applications are:

  1. Geo-fencing: GPS allows reps to spend the appropriate amount of time doing what is expected where it is expected. Algorithms can ensure the right stores get priority and can sequence and route optimize. This, coupled with retail activity optimization, gives focus to stores that will benefit most from attention. Managers and algorithms get insight into where reps spend their time and can optimize associated benefits.
  2. Actionable Alerts: Real time data insight can prioritize action using algorithms to suggest the right actions when they can most easily be completed. For example, it might prioritize and optimize routes for the day based on greatest need, identifying in-store tasks during a visit based on recent exceptions and pre-configuring an order by factoring in sell through information and seasonality.
  3. Planogram Compliance: Merchandising displays can be automatically compared to expected layouts using the mobile device’s camera and image recognition software.
  4. Gamification: Coaching using KPIs that award certifications for demonstrated performance and sharing relative performance rankings. Create games and contests around specific targets to motivate reps. The field force can enjoy the challenge of continuous improvement with focused feedback and can earn real-world rewards.

The confluence of Smart and Mobile is beginning to pay more value dividends and should be considered in any process improvement implementation.


Horizon Line Group

October 28, 2016

The Strategic Planning Cycle

October 20, 2016

Some think of strategic planning as a one time or every 3 years exercise. In my experience, it is most beneficial to think about it as a yearly cycle.

This time of year is when many organizations refresh strategic objectives and tune longer term plans. Finishing strategic planning efforts by October allows for those deliverables to feed into the annual planning cycle and prevents conflict between the two efforts. I like to think of strategic planning as an on-going process that is evaluated and refined every quarter, but also has a specific focus each quarter. A typical cycle is:

Q1 – Detail Department Plans (focus on Product Road-map and Sales Enablement)

Q2 – Talent Management (MBO’s, Talent evaluations, Comp review, Key resource needs)

Q3 – Strategic Planning (3-5 yr SWOT, Themes, Objectives, Metrics, Goals, Initiatives)

Q4 – Annual Operations Budget and Staffing

Using a strategic planning cycle ensures the strategy stays relevant and gets translated into execution more effectively.


Know these Rules to Rule SaaS

February 23, 2016


I’ve been a fan of Joe York since first getting introduced to his SaaS Rules of Thumb mathematics a few years ago. Start with SaaS Metrics Rule-of-Thumb #1 and read all 10 rules. It gets a little deep, but be sure to at least come away with the concepts and relationships. These are must knows around which to build successful software strategies and profitable businesses.

If you are familiar with his work, start anywhere in his chaotic-flow blog to continue to reap knowledge from his experience and insight.


It’s Time to Make Smart & Connected Part of Your Strategy

December 1, 2015

Smart Connected Products are Transforming Competition. So state Porter and Hemplemann in a recent HBR article by that title. And, you don’t have to look far to see the changes around you. Last week, I had a chance to test drive a Tesla and I challenge you to come away with any other conclusion. Upgrade to the latest release of the car’s operating system (yes, you can update it much like an app on your phone) and it will auto pilot itself through traffic following road bends, keeping pace with traffic and even change lanes when requested without driver assistance. The car is a showcase for what the article terms “The Third Wave of IT-Driven Competition.” Using embedded sensors, processors, software, and Read more…

Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016

November 6, 2015

Always interesting and fun to share. Here’s Gartner’s annual prediction of strategic trends shaping technology over next 4 years. Gartner groups these into three broad trends:

The first three trends address merging the physical and virtual worlds and the emergence of the digital mesh. While organizations focus on digital business today, algorithmic business is emerging. Algorithms — relationships and interconnections — define the future of business. In algorithmic business, much happens in the background in which people are not directly involved. This is enabled by smart machines, which our next three trends address. Our final four trends address the new IT reality, the new architecture and platform trends needed to support digital and algorithmic business.

See their press release for more definition and

Agile Elements

September 24, 2015

National Podium

Agile is a way of approaching business.  It is about delivering value in everything. It is about always learning and always doing better. It is about creative problem solving. It is about discovery as you go and drawing on experience. It is about having enough savvy to know that no two problems are quite alike and enough experience to confidently explore differences. Agility gives us room to maneuver and grow. It is in that spirit that, my blog, Agile Elements is published.