Building Better Business Apps: How Apps Impact BYOD
Succeeding in Consumerization of IT
By Curt Finch, CIO
When adjusting to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) work environment, it’s time to also become more aware of the apps available on these devices. The more aware you are of what’s popular in the app market, the more resources you’ll have when it comes to support and for creating an app for internal use. There are some commonalities between all successful apps, but apps for the enterprise do differ from consumer apps.
If you’re trying to determine which apps will be the most useful for your business, don’t rely on the best seller list from Apple. What you’ll find there is that consumer apps still reign supreme. The most popular apps include:
Until someone can prove otherwise, my belief remains that there’s no way a game app can be used in business effectively. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you disagree. Social media apps and camera accessory apps fuzz the line between business and consumer. Employees are connected to social media not just because of their personal life, but business life, as well. Therefore, having social media at one’s fingertips at all times is quite beneficial for business.
Camera apps such as Instagram are starting to blend into social apps and just beginning to be used in business marketing strategies. As stated in this article, Instagram users act as natural brand advocates and take their photos to the social realm, tweeting and Facebooking them.
Consumer apps will always outsell business apps because the market is larger. Additionally, the success of business apps is dependent upon what is used in the workplace; not every professional needs VMware View or Citrix Receiver.
Apple Providing for Businesses
Apple is already capitalizing on providing apps in bulk to businesses with it’s Volume Purchase for Business program (VPP). VPP is an app store designed specifically for businesses that allows developers to create custom apps for specific companies. Because of the VPP, apps don’t need to be sold in the common Apple app store where they wouldn’t do as well.
Businesses receive a single Apple ID that’s linked to a company credit card. Apps are distributed among employees through redemption codes. Employees follow a link on their device to download the business app. The management interface updates as users redeem apps, allowing for full visibility into code availability and purchase history.
Developers involved in VPP have a minimum price of $10 per app, but they’re free to offer custom prices, features and services for their clients. Customized apps allow IT departments to control when an app update occurs. The only drawback to the VPP is that it’s currently only available in the United States.
Internal Apps Should Be High Functioning
If you choose to develop an app internally, make sure you have functionality at the top of your priority list. Exactly what constitutes good functionality may surprise you. A superior internal app will:
Increase efficiency on a particular job;
Be enjoyable to look at;
Have robust graphical reporting capabilities;
Provide easy access to need-to-have data; and
An internal app should make an employee’s job easier and more effective than before. User-friendly graphical reporting and essential data are must-haves. As tempting as it might be, skimping on UI could come back to haunt you. If the company app is not easy to use, your employees won’t use it.