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The Case for Custom Mobile Business Apps



Custom Mobile Business Apps Beat Off-the-Shelf, Hands Down

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon isn’t just about people bringing their personal smartphones and laptops to work. They’re also bringing the applications that have helped make mobile devices so popular, leading to another bring-your-own trend – bring-your-own-app (BYOA).

According to research by LogMeIn and Edge Strategies, 70 percent of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) are using apps introduced by employees, especially apps for cloud sync and storage, collaboration, productivity and social media. In fact, more than two-thirds of social apps and more than half of cloud sync and storage apps used by SMBs were first downloaded and introduced by employees.

Unfortunately, just 22 percent of IT managers say they’re ready to for BYOA, pointing to security issues and management challenges, especially with cloud sync and storage apps that are used to store and share sensitive data.

The Downside of BYOA and Consumer Apps

The emergence of BYOA has sparked a debate about whether organizations are better off developing their own custom mobile apps or leveraging a BYOA strategy using generic, off-the-shelf apps.

The biggest problem with BYOA is fragmentation. When various branches or departments are using different apps, it creates a much more complex IT environment. With fragmentation comes a greater risk of security breaches and data loss, slower resolution of support requests and higher total cost of ownership (TCO). While consumer apps have lower upfront costs, TCO rises because organizations must devote valuable resources and dollars to not only security and support, but also training and upgrades.

Once a long, expensive process, the pace of development and deployment of custom mobile business apps has accelerated in recent years. This process is now measured in weeks, not months, so you can quickly and cost-effectively introduce a custom app that is aligned with your brand and business processes. It can also be modified as business needs evolve, unlike a rigid, off-the-shelf app designed for mass audiences.

Because they’re built for specific, business-related purposes, custom apps help employees become more productive and solve problems faster with minimal support. Custom apps can also automate certain processes to reduce errors and save time. Instead of manually uploading data to the business network, a custom mobile business app allows you to take advantage of anytime, anywhere rich-data capture in real time. By providing greater visibility and enabling faster collaboration and decision making, a custom app can help employees deliver better customer service and close deals quickly.

Getting the Most Value from Custom Mobile Apps

To take full advantage of custom apps, prioritize those apps that deliver the highest value. For example, a collaboration app typically has more value than an app designed to assist with lower-level administrative tasks. Speed, convenience and ease of use are three key benefits of any mobile app, so make sure yours can be modified, updated and deployed quickly and easily on virtually any device. Finally, offer comprehensive training. Apps are only helpful if they’re widely used, and employees will buy in much faster when they see how the app can make their jobs easier.

Let ICG work with you to learn your business needs and processes, formulate a plan to ensure security and scalability, and develop a reliable, custom solution that delivers real business value.