Even as companies slash budgets and downsize their workforces, customers still want what they want, when they want it. According to recent reports issued by the Aberdeen Group, 57 percent of companies surveyed noticed that their customers had become more demanding since the recession hit. One significant strategy flourishing companies have taken to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack is by developing business intelligence (BI) mobile applications that promote efficiency and customer service.

The  March 2009 Aberdeen report, “More Mobility – Less Budget: Enterprise Strategies in the Current Economic Downturn,” revealed that 84 percent of responding organizations had a mobility initiative in place. Less than 2 percent didn’t have any mobility plans for the next 12 months, report CRM Buyer’s Andrew Borg and David White, who summarized the report’s findings. Surveyed companies named dashboards, charts and graphs as some of the mobile tools that helped improve customer satisfaction and retention.

A separate Aberdeen report, “Enterprise-Grade Mobile Applications: Secure Information When and Where it’s Needed,” from November 2010, broke respondents into three categories: Best-in-Class, Industry Average, and Laggards — and identified the best mobile practices that set top performing companies apart from the field. The Best-in-Class methods should serve as a model for any field service manager attempting their first foray into enterprise mobility.

The report finds that more than a third of Best-in-Class survey respondents had already mobilized their business intelligence applications, compared to only one in five when it came to all other respondents. For example, while 64 percent of Best-in-Class respondents had developed management and security policies for all mobile devices, only 35 percent of Industry Average respondents had done the same.

Best-in-Class respondents were also twice as likely as the average company to have tackled some of the safety and security issues associated with mobile BI dissemination. Managers of leading companies also took a more hands on approach, investing in the initiatives from beginning to end, the research shows. Where 56 percent of Best-in-Class respondents reported managers involved in mobile implementation, 43 percent of Industry Average participants and only 34 percent of Laggards reported similar involvement.

“Too often, business intelligence projects fail when decision makers (who are the ultimate users of the BI solution) are not intimately involved from start to finish,” Borg and White write. “Without this close involvement, the project can miss the target in many ways.”

Tablets like the iPad and Dell’s new business tablet, of course, hold big promise here: Check out what TSIA exec John Ragsdale has to say on how mobility is changing the rules of business. Considering the ubiquity of mobile devices and mobile apps designed to enhance the way companies do business, the recent survey results aren’t shocking.

More on mobile enterprise technology on The SmartVan.

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.