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The smartphone app as an effective business tool

As our Internet usage continues to shift from our desktops to our smartphones, the mobile app is becoming an increasingly powerful business tool. When entire companies are being founded on the bases of web – and mobile – applications, it’s time for every company to assess the value that an app can bring their business.

Apps are, of course, more useful in some respects than in others, but the gap is becoming smaller by the day. While popular music streaming apps like Pandora and Spotify are sustaining globe-spanning corporations based upon their existence, there’s a virtual guarantee that the corner coffee shop is eyeing ways to accept mobile payment.

Do I Really Need an App?

The short answer is ‘yes.’ At the very least, it’s a ‘probably,’ or an “if you don’t now, you will soon.” As with any aspect of business, your target audience holds the answer to all of your questions.

If you’re riding the retro trend and attempting to bring back the land-based arcade, your demographic is likely younger, and the answer to the app question is closer to ‘yes.’ If you run a bridge club, your demographic is likely older, which brings the answer closer to ‘probably.’

Why ‘probably,’ in that situation? Because even an older demographic that’s less likely to use apps may still use an app if given a reason to use an app. Whether the Bridge club’s members use the app to find scheduled games or to schedule games themselves, apps are prevalent because they’re convenient and useful. Businesses benefit from being both convenient and useful.

Do I Really, Really Need an App?

If you’re going to press the subject, then yes. You do need an app. As demonstrated above, your audience may not even know they want an app; however, if they’re exposed to the convenience and usefulness of an app, a business without an app is likely to lose when competing against a business with one.

Asking if you really need an app is like asking if the world needed the aforementioned Pandora. Do people really need a music streaming service that creates playlists for them and tailors its suggestions based upon user input? Depending upon your definition of ‘need,’ probably not.

Did Pandora report a revenue of $732.4 million in 2014? It certainly did. When it comes to a competitive edge in business, the differing definitions of ‘need’ and “wouldn’t that be nice” become virtually indistinguishable.

Okay, How Do I Get One?

Companies go about their cloud business in a variety of ways. Having an app designed, developed and maintained for your business does cost money, and that’s certainly a factor that should be weighed when you’re gauging your company’s need for one; however, services can be utilized to reduce the costs of creation and upkeep while still providing a useable business solution.

For example, your bridge club could certainly make use of a cloud-based scheduling service to organize games and meetings. The corner coffee shop could compete with Starbucks by moving to a subscription-based POS system and offering its own in-app payments.

In just the same way, another business could use specialized information management software to help ensure the safety and integrity of their data. Just as an app can help grow your business externally, utilizing the right applications for your business’s in-house needs can help to cut costs and increase profits while improving the security and integrity of your stored data.

When do We Start?

Even if you’re not yet convinced that your business could benefit from the right sorts of applications and software, it’s highly recommended that you put the idea on the table – and leave it there. The leading edge of the business world is headed towards new software and useful applications at full speed. Spending on cloud services and architecture is growing at a whirlwind pace, and it’s only going to continue its climb.

The cloud is in full swing. It’s advanced beyond its growing pains and reached the point at which businesses and developers are comfortable making solid – and significant – investments in the future of new, software-and-service-based business models.

This is as important to you as it is to that coffee shop. While their mocha sales may be doing well now, some customers may be willing to walk a few doors over for the convenience of online pre-orders or mobile payment options. Perhaps, if they’d looked ahead, they’d have already had the services in place.

The world of business is as competitive as it ever was. A chess master has to think towards the moves ahead, a tennis player has to react to an opponent’s moves before they’re even made and a business must predict competition before that competition even exists. Make the right moves now and you’ll have the right software to make the right things happen at the right times.

About the Author:

Philip Piletic is an aspiring writer and blogger with a love for business, finance and technology. His goal is to give useful advice and help people adapt to ever evolving world of today.

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