Written by Andrew McWhirter, Managing Director, InfiniSYS Mobile APPS
Many people in business believe that their first foray into the world of apps, whether it be for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, iPad, Android Tablet or others, has to be something that is designed and developed for their customer - something gimmicky, something that solely promotes the business.
Unfortunately, uptake by customers can be ‘underwhelming’ and seen by many as ‘spam’ offering nothing more than a direct line to annoy the customer. Plus, unless your marketing budget is considerable and you desire better ‘bang for your buck’, then it might be best to consider your app from another angle.
Enter stage right, the business or enterprise app.
The mobile enterprise app is designed to help you manage information and workflow ‘internal’ of your business. Does your business have team-members filling out paperwork, then passing to another team member who enters the information into a database or system, downloads images or other repetitive tasks, all designed to produce reports, then finally passing to someone in Finance who produces an invoice to send to your customer? With an enterprise app, three of those four steps are now redundant.
What if, through the design and development process of an app, your team member enters the information once at their presentation, their meeting, their appointment, their sales call, their inspection, then presses ‘SUBMIT’, and the job is done. It’s finished; it’s complete. It automatically pushes the data direct to your database, your system, with the full template report to your customer with invoice attached. That’s right, invoice and report automatically distributed to your customer, all while your team member is getting back into their car, heading off to their next appointment.
There’s no need to return to the office to complete the paperwork. There’s nothing missed, no mistakes. The order is in the system, done the same way, every time. Imagine the time that this could save for your business.
Let’s consider several real business examples here >>>
What type of device will best suit your needs?
Whatever platform you design on (Apple, Android or other) it should be able to integrate into your current system, so long as your existing software is not too old. The beauty of a business app is that the code can generally be developed to replace old systems; they can operate standalone to other systems, or integrate where needed.
If your needs require a device 5-6 hours a day (active use), then the Windows Tablet won’t work for you. It has a battery life of only 4 hours in use. The iPad and Samsung Tablet have 7.5 and 9 hours respectively. If you require great photos to be taken, then the Windows Tablet has only 1MP cameras mounted, whereas the Apple and Android devices range from 5MP up to 13MP (Samsung Galaxy S4 – 2013). You will need to keep an open mind to make sure the right device is chosen to suit your specific needs.
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Does your mobile app require connectivity, or can it be synced at the end of the day?
In all web-based solutions there is a need for connectivity. You need connection to move between online pages of your system. The benefit of an app is that it can be operated standalone of a connection. The entire process of your app can be performed offline only requiring connectivity to push or receive data/reports. Another benefit of an app is that your full day’s activity can be performed in an app, syncing at home at the end of day when connectivity is restored. If you require connectivity (an online web-based system), you will get stuck on page 1, and go no further. Result: Fail!
An app is really the only true mobile system for keeping your business on the go.
When it’s time to go to market?
An app is not a ‘set and forget’ process. There are updates and improvements needed. For example, if you built your app for the iPhone 4S, it might need to have it re-coded for the iPhone 5. This is just one example, but a simple one to demonstrate that you will need to keep up as the market changes.
An app will require a detailed implementation plan in order to successfully support your enterprise. It needs links through your website, information to share to customers, help and support. In the retail market, developers often put their app in the Apple Store or Google Market and think that the job is now done. In fact, it’s now only just begun. It’s now time to promote it, which means a marketing and communications plan, optimizing of your website, SEO, AdWords and more. This will require time and money.
These are just some of the points to consider when throwing around the idea of a mobile app for your business. Remember, it’s best to start with one step at a time and progress forward from there. For more information on whether a business app could work with your business, feel free to visit us at www.infinisys.com.au or email us at [email protected].