I have a GPS in my car, and it's a great device. I use it when I am going somewhere unfamiliar, or need help finding my way home. It warns me when turns are coming, and tells me when to turn. I can even pick the voice it uses. But I use Google Maps on my phone a lot more.
Google Maps does a lot more than the GPS does. For directions, Google Maps is not as good. But it starts up in a fraction of the time, and shows me my general location quickly, which is often all I need. The touch controls on the phone make it much better as an interactive map. It shows traffic that is more accurate, more quickly updated, and doesn't cost an extra fee. Because it is always in my pocket, I can use it when I am not in my car. Google Maps is not better at everything, but overall it is a more rich and versatile experience.
Mobile apps provide the opportunity to have that same kind of rich, versatile experience. When considering the value of building mobile apps for your employees, consider the ways in which a mobile device can enable them to work better and smarter. If you think of a mobile app as merely a small version of a desktop app, you may not realize the full value. By incorporating the things mobile devices do well, you open up new possibilities for your users to be effective.
In a mobile app, you can use features like touch gestures, accelerometer, and location to make your apps simple, intuitive, and powerful. And because mobile apps are typically point solutions, rather than large, monolithic apps, they often provide a quicker way to get a particular task done.
Your employees can do their jobs without mobile apps. But the addition of well written mobile apps can enable them to be more productive and more effective.