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Last week IFS hosted a two days VIP event for the Early Adopters of IFS Applications 8. Purpose with this event was to meet and greet, listen to our customers’ offerings and business challenges, and for IFS management to share product and business strategies.

I shared the product strategies under the session title “Beyond IFS Applications 8” and a session focused on creativity and innovations called “Innovations create agile business”. But, what I want to share with you in this post is the response from the users when they got a Smartphone with a business app in their hands.

As an introduction to an innovation workshop, where they were asked to create a wish list of business apps they would like to have in the future, I asked for a volunteer to try one of the existing apps. In the back, a lady waved intensively and shouted “I want to try, I want to try”. I gave her my phone (displayed on the projector so everyone could see) and in a single click she had authorized her first travel expense and purchase order (!) – and she was so happy. When she then made a complete travel expense, including a photo of a taxi receipt she was literally dancing on the stage….:-) Let me remind you, we are still talking about an ERP system and a travel expense, normally not too exiting.

According to me, there is a magical aura around apps and smartphones. I get pretty much the same enthusiastic response every time I let a customer try it. I’m surprised and actually concerned that companies are not requesting these types of solutions in ITTs / RFIs as it would dramatically boost their business productivity and end user experience. And, as we are fed with headlines about the bad economic situation in Europe and USA, new technology such as business apps can generate new business opportunities thanks to better interaction with the customers and by doing things faster, smarter and cheaper.

This weekend I started to read Steve Jobs biography. 1982 he got the question if he wanted to do a marketing survey and he answered; “No, people don’t know what they want until you have showed it to them”. I really like that answer. Yes, customers know what they need for their business and that’s why we have to listen to them carefully. But, sometimes you don’t know what you need until you’ve seen it. A business app is such an example.

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