The coronavirus crisis has illustrated the importance of mobility to business operations in nearly all sectors. Organizations have been forced to provide access to data and systems to far more employees working remotely than at any point in the past.

During the crisis, organizations have sought to use mobile applications to create a competitive advantage. Some estimates peg the number of daily mobile app downloads worldwide at nearly 600 million as companies build out mobile experiences for both consumers and internal end users.

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Still, many organizations struggle with optimizing their mobile apps. Too often, mobile apps lack the visibility and controls to ensure that users have the best possible experience — and to ensure that the app is providing the business with as much value as possible.

Here are three areas that companies should be sure to tackle as they seek to get the most out of their mobile apps.

1. Analytics Help Gain a Better Understanding of Users

A good mobile app is a nearly magical thing: a product that supplies its provider with actionable information about customers and users. By thoughtfully monitoring mobile app analytics, a company can glean valuable insights into how employees and customers are using an app, where the user experience is breaking down and opportunities for improvement.

Factors such as the number of daily and monthly active users, average time spent inside the app and even geospatial data can help business and IT leaders to gain a much more complete understanding of their customers’ and internal users’ needs. Yet too many organizations simply lack this visibility. If your organization doesn’t already have analytics tools to track how mobile apps are being used, it’s time to invest in them.

2. Monetization of Apps Delivers New Revenue Streams

This is obviously more of a concern for businesses with consumer-facing apps than for organizations that support mobile apps for internal users only. But even many consumer-facing apps do little to convert sales and bring new dollars into the business.

This is partly because, in recent years, many consumer-focused organizations scrambled to deploy a mobile app largely because their competitors were doing so, and they didn’t want to be left behind. This trend was comparable to how many companies in the late 1990s rushed websites to market to have a presence, any presence, on the web. But just as companies eventually turned their websites into powerful marketing tools and sales funnels, they should now be looking for ways to monetize their consumer-facing mobile apps.

Analytics tools are crucial to this process. For example, IT and business leaders may find through analytics that consumers are using only 20 to 30 percent of a mobile app’s functionality. With a little more digging, they might find that something as simple as the user interface or color scheme is preventing users from finding the features that are most profitable to the business.

3. Security Tools Ensure the Safety of Mobile Data

Security tools will vary by the type of mobile application being used, but any mobile app needs strong security features to prevent corporate data loss and negative effects on customers and internal users. A financial institution, for instance, should embed flags for suspicious transactions on its consumer-facing mobile app. A mobile app aimed at internal employees, meanwhile, needs security features that encrypt data and prevent cybercriminals from obtaining intellectual property or other sensitive information.

By now, nearly all organizations have woken up to the importance of mobile apps to customer satisfaction and employee productivity. But only by constantly refining and optimizing their apps can companies fully unlock these benefits.