Mobile Apps Move Beyond Consumers And Into The Corporate Space
Going “mobile” has been a hot trend for a few years now. As the number of consumers using smart phones has grown, so has the demand for mobile-ready Web sites and applications. As you might suspect, most major consumer-facing companies are currently accessible on your phone.
Until recently, these initiatives accomplished everything businesses were trying to do in the mobile world, providing a quick and easy way for consumers to access their product. But as the smart-phone industry continues to evolve, many business leaders are expanding their mobile operations beyond consumer purposes.
We are now seeing a wave of businesses utilizing mobile programs within their own workplace. With many employees either owning or given a smart phone, “business mobile” programs can save management both time and money. Just as consumers no longer have to be at a computer to complete their everyday tasks, neither do employees have to be at desks to get the job done
These applications can be especially beneficial for businesses that require communication within the field. A tanker truck driver, for example, may be able to access a customized program to track the tank’s capacity, amount of product left, and next drop-off points. In the office, another employee can access that same program to note the status of deliveries and let buyers know when to expect an arrival.
As the smart phone increasingly becomes our main tool for both communication and organization, businesses need to find a way to adapt beyond just accessing the company e-mail. Not only can a mobile application increase efficiencies, it also can keep employees happy, allowing them to tap into work programs when it’s convenient for them, even when they’re out of the office.
Is a mobile application right for your company?
The first step to finding out is determining exactly what you need your application to do. While smart phones are more advanced than ever, they aren’t meant to run full versions of common laptop or desktop applications. Business leaders must ask themselves what processes they are trying to mobilize.
The key to creating an efficient mobile application is making sure it does exactly what users need it to do, and not much else. An app shouldn’t look like a mobile website. Too much functionality becomes slow and confusing.
If you were to create a mobile app for a home assessor, for example, it may include a list of homes to visit for the day, contact information, and a map or directions to the site. This provides a quick, easy interface for field assessors to access while on the move. Keeping it simple allows for an enjoyable user experience, meaning employees are more likely to make use of the mobile program’s advantages.
There may be a time in the future when more functions are possible, but right now ease of use should be your main concern. Just as computer users used to be impatient with dialup or DSL internet service, so will mobile users waiting for complex pages to load.
But once you have the application functions finalized, your next challenge will be deciding whether to develop applications for the iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry mobile platforms. These platforms all require separate programming, so developing for them all can become very costly. This has been a major challenge for businesses looking to reach a wide variety of consumers.
But with a “business mobile” application, you have the advantage of controlling what devices your employees use. For companies that already provide phones, a mobile application can become very cost-effective as development is only necessary for one platform. For those who may need development for multiple devices, the decision comes down to your budget. Web-based applications offer a cheaper solution as they are accessible through mobile browsers, but they may be slower and less efficient.
Mobile applications are still in their early stages but figure to grow in both functionality and popularity over the next few years. Businesses looking for a better way to increase productivity in the field should discuss their options with a developer now.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus
Most Popular Stories
CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2010
Read the latest from the show...