Business apps: Getting business smart

We’re all familiar with smartphone apps – from accessing the latest news headlines and managing our health and fitness to pre-planning TV consumption or staying in touch with friends through social media.

The popularity and pervasiveness of consumer apps is now blending seamlessly into the business sphere and with higher performance mobile networks thanks to 4G speeds, businesses of all sizes are embracing the opportunity to do things differently.

“Workflow apps and productivity apps are really striking a chord with business but it takes time,” according to Peter Hendrick, technical director with Airspeed.

“It’s all about finding something that’s applicable to your business and market. “There’s always a little customisation to be done but I’d rather customise something that’s already available in a cloud environment. People will care less about the medium as long as connectivity works,” he said.

Nicola Mortimer, head of business products, marketing and support with Three also sees a significant increase in those using mobile apps as productivity tools.

“Workflow management apps improve efficiencies by tracking workers and giving them their workflow or set of tasks that they need to do on a daily basis.

“All in Care, a company that provides care workers in the home is a good example. Each work flow is different with slightly different tasks but they can push the workflow for that customer to a mobile phone and as the tasks are completed, the carer can tick them off. It’s based on forms and those forms can be customised and applied to any vertical market or workflow,” she said.

Eircom is in the third phase of its ‘Digital Boost’ program, backed by funding of €250,000 and designed to help SME organisations get their business online.

“Increasingly, we’re seeing customers looking for apps to help them better engage with their customers,” said David Walsh, director of commercial and SME, eircom. “Companies are looking for apps they can push out to their end customers to make engagement with them better and more efficient,” he said.

Vodafone’s ‘Smart StartUp’ program is similar with nationwide, consultant-led networking sessions that show companies how to get the most from technology and social media.

“We do a lot of focus groups with small businesses,” said Barry Tierney, head of enterprise marketing with Vodafone.

“A lot of them you meet are incredibly forward looking and tech savvy and that’s not limited to people in the technology industry. The things they’re doing are inspirational – using things like Office 365, social media and apps but other organisations have to start the journey,” he said.


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