Remember the days of pen, paper and post? They seem like a distant memory to many businesses trying to keep pace with an ever-changing world.

With the advent and growing universality of smartphones across the globe, apps are playing an increasingly dominant role in business - better outreach, improved sales and marketing activities which build a loyal audience and increase business efficiency.

Mobile apps are projected to have maximum impact on business success in 2020, according to a Gartner report, which cites over 300 business professionals who said they’ve developed and launched at least three types of app in their organisation. Of these (leaving web apps aside) mobile apps account for 91 per cent, with 61 per cent citing cloud-hosted artificial intelligence (AI) tools as the most popular technology supporting multi-experience application development.

From the age of mobile to the age of mobile-first strategies, businesses have been heavily leveraging mobile apps as a business tool.

Business internal operations are used to streamline complex business activities. They serve as productivity enhancement tools that optimise processes, manage data, reduce manual data-entry jobs, automate workflows, and help put work on autopilot. Role-based user views and security features like remote wipe, strong encryption modules and containerisation are enabling businesses to keep data secure.

They also allow an ease of scalability and collation of accurate digital data to process automation, faster approvals and efficiency gains.

From the end user’s point of view, mobile apps allow them anytime, anywhere access to what they need. Users are no longer typing URLs into browsers; consumers and employees alike need the information to be more accessible, faster and personalised – accessible from the web, mobile, tablets, voice and smart devices.

And while apps can be used to help business processes like invoicing, HR, communication etc. the nature of apps is constantly changing. Businesses now need to not only invest heavily in customer and employee-facing apps to realise productivity and sales improvements but they also need to keep up with shifts and technology trends.

The emergence of multi-experience apps with AI, chatbots and IoT are driving the market which is soon going to have a massive impact on business outcome.

Multi-experience applications are the future, Gartner cites one of the top trends for 2020 being a move away from a computer and single interaction to multi-sensory, multi-touchpoint interaction using wearables, augmented reality (AR) and virtual technology (VT).

The next wave of apps will need to integrate AI, voice input and other technology. While the cost of development might rise, the ROI from futuristic apps is certainly going to be high by creating an ambient experience, replacing technology-literate people with people-literate technology.

Apps, particularly those of low-code/no-code can simplify complex operations, enhance workflow management and lead to an overall boost in innovation.

Enterprise apps are used to manage operations in HR, accounts, sales and delivery teams to name but a few. When coupled with AI and IoT, these apps can help business to control processes at fingertip with the flexibility to add or remove devices as per the changing requirements while enabling instant response to varying inputs. IoT will expand the functionality of the apps that in turn delimit the apps from just being display and data collection tools to a more advanced asset management controllers.

While enterprise apps might still be a new concept for many organisations, it’s a technology that will dominate the future by becoming a necessary tool to run a successful business.