Let us first consider the role of the mobile device, which primarily means mobile phones and tablets, in people’s lives.It used to be that a personal computer, and via that access to the internet, was a tool used grudgingly at work. You had to master complex and ugly software programs that supposedly helped you do your work more efficiently.The mobile device has changed that.Powerful computers and access to the internet are now things carried around in your pocket. Nowadays, I regularly do my presentations from my iPad, I manage my business responsibilities from my smartphone. At home our kids are growing up with touch devices and educational apps.The likes of Apple iPhone, Google Android and Blackberry have made mobile apps a much more personal, almost intimate, part of people’s lives.Why should corporates care about this?One big reason: via mobile apps companies, and therefore brands, have direct access to consumers in a way that PCs never allowed them to. Brands can now be brought into their daily lives and become part of their personal digital space.There are a number of ways in which a company can utilise this:
1. Brand building
Mobile apps provide another digital channel where a strong brand presence can be built. This could be as simple as ensuring existing websites are mobile compatible and you have a strong presence on social media, including facebook and twitter.Focused, useful mobile apps are a great step up. Users will not be fooled by apps that are basically just an advertisement or replication of a website. They expect sophisticated apps that they can use to enhance their lives. An app must be useful, it must be easy and quick to use, or of high entertainment value.
2. Cost saving
Another big reason to roll out apps is to facilitate some part of a business process in order to save costs. e.g. Apps can be used to partly replace a call centre, thus lowering operational costs while still allowing the users a channel for customer support.
- It could replace part of a manual or paper process and thereby make things more efficient for the business.
- It could allow customers self-service options that would otherwise have been more costly to provide; think mobile banking and payments.
It allows your workforce access to business processes and information on the go, even when not in the office.
3. World changing
The biggest exciting reason for becoming involved in mobile apps is that it is literally a world-changing technology.
It allows farmers in Africa to find the best market to take their produce. It allows people to explore the stars using Augmented Reality. It opens new ways to educate people, from basic [tooltip tip=”Unstructured Supplementary Service Data allows for a * and # command sequence to be used on the phone to bring up a menu driven data interface.”]USSD[/tooltip] to gamified interactive stories and experiences.
It brings people together, allows them to share stories and lives, despite oceans and continents between them.
It is also world-changing in another way: mobile apps open the door for small startups to have access to a huge global market. Africa also has its fair share of mobile startup success stories.
Just think what a positive impact bigger established companies can have by supporting these startups in their mobile endeavours.
So whether you are considering saving costs, establishing another powerful digital channel or just making the world a better and more interesting place: this is the time to “go mobile.”