What the mobile experience means in an immobile world
What happens to “planning on the go” when people aren’t going anywhere? In this blog, we take a look at the path to mobile planning, how mobile trends and technology changed over the past year, and where its future is headed.
In a fast-paced, mobile-first world, checking business performance whenever, wherever is a common expectation—if not requirement—for busy business leaders. But what happens when the world screeches to a halt with a global pandemic? Namely, what happens to “planning on the go” when people aren’t actually going anywhere?
This question comes up in customer conversations a lot and the answer, it turns out, might just surprise you. Let’s take a look at the path to mobile planning, how mobile trends and technology changed over the past year, and where its future is headed.
The path to mobile planning
Paved by innovation, disruption, and consumer demand, the path to mobile is one part of a pressing need for better planning capabilities. Gaps left by cobbling together spreadsheets, point systems, and legacy tools leave room for flexible cloud technology that eliminates the swirls of uncertainty surrounding decision-making.
Mobile planning is an extension of connected, conversational, and collaborative planning. It’s one of many tools business leaders have to treat enterprise planning like a team sport. We’ve previously explored parallels between enterprise planning and weak-link sports such as American soccer. Like soccer, planning requires participation from and between everyone across the enterprise—or team, so to speak.
To be agile and effective, planning has to weave together people, plans, and data. In other words, effective planning doesn’t run on disconnected execution strategies. Greater participation in planning also triggers demand for more flexible technologies—and multi-device capabilities land on the list of must-have features.
It’s easy to see that the well of mobile planning runs deep and wide. Not only does it offer planners immediate access to data, but it gives them more ways to contribute on the go and in real time. More importantly, it lets them update plans during the moments most convenient for them.
Planning on the go takes on a new meaning
The pandemic forced leaders and teams to shift from planning in offices and on the go to planning remotely at home. Despite being stuck at home with readily available laptops and home offices, recent trends reveal that mobile usage continued to grow—a lot. By the end of last year, people had downloaded 218 billion apps, consumer spending in app stores reached $143 billion, and the average American checked their phone every 12 minutes.
Mobile planning apps were no exception to these trends. Since last year, Anaplan mobile app usage has increased 141% and more Anaplan customers have stayed connected within the planning process than ever before.
One reason why more people are relying on mobile planning apps is convenience. For a lot of folks, “on the go” no longer means a morning commute into the city or a late-evening check-in after dinner. Planning on the go has become check-ins in between their kids’ Zoom classes, quick catch ups during nap times, and spontaneous conversations with coworkers throughout the very non-traditional workday.
Staying connected in moments of need
In times of overwhelming responsibilities, mobile apps give people more ways to balance their professional priorities with their personal lives. Mobile apps alert people to moments of need and help them stay connected when it matters most. In enterprise planning solutions, multi-device features such as tagging, commenting, and push notifications let people know right when a priority action item is waiting for them.
For example, a corporate finance analyst can comment on a specific KPI, tag in an HR colleague who needs visibility, and trigger an action for their manager—sending them both a mobile notification that takes them exactly where their attention is needed in the mobile app. Capabilities like barcode scanners also make it simple and easy for planners to enter numerical data from their phone quickly.
Integrations between different mobile apps give users even more ways to collaborate. Collaboration tools like the Slack app make it easy to communicate with coworkers, which can be another way to plan effectively across cross-functional teams. The Anaplan Slackbot, for example, lets planners receive notifications and pages from coworkers directly over Slack messages instead of parsing through multiple emails.
What the future of mobile planning looks like
What will the future of planning look like as people slowly return to the office? In many ways, we can expect these trends to continue. Business leaders and planners still need fast access to performance metrics in between meetings, after hours, and on weekends. People will rely on notifications for timely action items and decisions. Quick, accessible, and well-designed mobile dashboards remain must-haves for busy executives.
The future of mobile planning expands on these trends with even more intuitive, user-friendly capabilities. Think: automated, conversational collaboration features; visually impactful dashboards and clearly defined KPIs; and user-friendly, customizable widgets that refresh with real-time planning data and performance metrics.
As we continue to tiptoe back into our beloved communities and offices, we’ll soon have a better understanding of what “normal” looks like in the years ahead. One thing, however, is certain: the ways in which we collaborate with one another have been tested and they’ve come out stronger than ever…with just a little “push” from mobile apps.