I’m sure all the numerologists in the world are contemplating the importance of today’s date – 12/12/12 – either that or playing one particular REM song as we wait for the Mayans to be right. I, on the other hand, remain focused on my favorite professional obsession….enterprise mobility. That’s why I was particularly interested in an article I found this morning on PC World called “Does your small business need a mobile app to stay competitive?“ It’s definitely a good read and provides some interesting suggestions for the small business world. I can’t help but feel that it missed however half the story.
Now before I begin, let me add one thing to the PC World article. To quote my good friend Brian Katz, you should also make sure that when you build a mobile app, make sure it doesn’t turn into a “crapplication.” For those of you who haven’t heard that term before, it should be pretty self explanatory. Don’t build an app that doesn’t meet the needs of your/its users. If you build a “crapplication,” you will have wasted precious time, money and other resources because no one in their right mind would ever (want to) use it.
Now, back to the PC World article.
The author, Christopher Null, does raise many a valid point, but his article is focused on a small business building a customer facing application – presumably in order to expand its visibility in the market, as well as provide another sales/marketing channel. That’s all well and good (and unquestionably important), but I’m surprised that the author did not touch much upon the value of internally facing applications (it was only in passing at the end of the article). Now, there are a couple of things we have to consider though.
First of all, we need to define “small business.” Does a five person company need internal mobile apps? Beyond email, that’s certainly an open debate…one that I don’t have any real opinion on. More importantly though, how big is a small business? Is it based upon headcount? Revenues? Most will agree that a 100 person company is still a small business…and I will argue that a 250 person company is still a small business. Can a company of that size benefit from internally facing mobile “enterprise” applications? I would argue most definitely.
In that vein, if a “small business” is going to have internally facing mobile applications, then they will need some system for deploying, managing and removing those mobile applications. This of course falls into the category of mobile application management. We can’t forget though, that any mobile application management implementation must be predicated on having a strong mobile application strategy. That includes both externally and internally facing applications. In fact, if you want to get a primer on developing your mobile application strategy (regardless of the size of your organization), you may want to download this document.