Business Software Solutions: Mobile Apps

Mini-Series: Part 1 of 5

mobile apps
I think it’s safe to say that in today’s world, we are inundated with technology. The rate of growth just within the last 10 years has been insane and there’s no reason for it to slow anytime soon. While this surge has provided us with a lot of the modern conveniences that we’ve quickly grown accustom to, it could also be a bit overwhelming; in the specific niche of business solution software, there a lot of companies that provide, what seem to be, the same product! With websites, web apps and mobile apps being bundled together so closely nowadays, knowing which one is the best solution for your company can be difficult. Here at Kobalt, we understand this information overload all too well and we’ll be going through a 5-part mini-series discussing the 5 major types of software that we provide and how they can be applied!

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One question we’re frequently asked is if an adjunct mobile app is needed to accompany their new website. The recurrence of this, and similar, questions spawned the idea for this mini-series. Our goal is simple: inform non-technical individuals about the different types of software and give examples of how they can be applied. From there, it’s up to you to make a decision on what you’d like for your specific needs. As you can probably tell by now, this article will focus on mobile apps and the different use-cases for mobile apps for businesses. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Mobile App with Website?

Let’s revisit that frequent question about if a mobile app is necessary alongside a website. The short answer: it depends. To expand, it depends on what your intention is for the mobile app. Generally, you don’t want your mobile app to be a simple reflection of your website if your website is a read-only site. If you or your company has a website simply for information about you, your company, the services provided, or products (without selling them), this is considered a read-only site. Kobalt’s site, for example, is considered a read-only site because while we mention our services, there’s no interface to actually “check-out” a service.

One type of website that can be an exception to this rule is a blog. Even though a case can be made for building a mobile app, the responsiveness of modern websites makes viewing these articles on a mobile browser as easy as on a laptop or desktop browser; essentially, it’s not a necessity. Some still choose to build a mobile app because of the native feel (app experiences are generally very different from mobile browser experiences). There’s no right or wrong reason whether you should build a mobile app for your blog, especially if it’s really taking off, but understanding your rationale will lead you to the wisest decision.

What are Mobile Apps for?

Now that we got the “wrong” reasons to build a mobile app out of the way, let’s get to the “good” reasons to build mobile apps. Let’s start by establishing some context, which, if you’ve read at least a couple articles by me, you know that I love doing. The two metrics we use to determine “good” and “bad” use cases for technology are productivity and profitability. Some mobile apps significantly improve one while only marginally improving the other and some greatly improve both. Ultimately, the determining factor is convenience. Does the mobile app experience provide enough convenience to outweigh the cost? This is the question because 1) mobile apps are not cheap and 2) you can just create a responsive web app that you can use in a mobile browser setting! As important as this question is, it can be quite difficult to answer. Since there’s no formula to help us derive an answer, it’ll be easiest to give examples of the different types of mobile apps we’ve built for clients and how it’s improved their business.

Internal Business Management

One of the more common mobile apps that we build for clients is something to help them manage their business internally. This is the opposite of a CRM, or customer relationship management, which we’ll delve into in the next section. In short, an internal business management app allows you to track various components of your business all in one place. These components are highly relative to the type of business that is conducted. Within Kobalt, the internal business management app we built handles our employees’ tasks, manages our leads, and tracks our projects and the various metrics we use. Before this app, we used Trello to manage our sales pipeline. While we still use it due to its convenience, we now have a much more efficient way to manage the pipeline.

We’ve found that this is one of our more common builds because of the huge productivity surge that usually follows its implementation. While there are currently many companies out there offering this sort of software, very few offers everything that most companies are looking for, and rarely do they allow for company-based personalization. When we build mobile internal business management apps for our clients, each one is a custom build, meaning that they have all the features they want with none of the fluff. While the initial cost may be higher for a custom build compared to the monthly or annual payments for a one-size-fits-most software or platform, over the next 2 to 3 years the custom build is the most cost effective. Not only will you often pay less during this time, but the fact that you can choose what you’d like in your app and how the interface and experience flow, productivity is almost always higher. This also gives the freedom of making feature and interface alterations and updates whenever you’d like.

Customer Relationship Management

The other common mobile application we’re contracted to build is a CRM. Depending on your type of business, the specific type of CRM you need can very; or rather, the features of the CRM. With a similar rationale to the internal business management app, CRMs typically have a drastic impact on productivity. Like the internal business management apps, CRMs will often be a one-size-fits-most with options to pay for more features or seats and do not allow you to customize it to your company’s specifications. Fortunately, there’s the option to do a custom mobile app build here as well. Often, this app will also be client-facing, so the unique challenge of a custom CRM mobile app is for the interface and flow to be intuitive for both the admins with the company as well as the company’s client users.

What about Profitability?

So far, we’ve gone through two examples of mobile apps that improve productivity, but what about profitability? From our experience, mobile apps that accompany a product or service that a company is selling has a direct effect on profitability. Due to the convenience of having a mobile app that this company can advertise as part of their product or service, they’re able to charge a higher premium. Makes sense, right? Well, if it doesn’t, think about a dine-in restaurant experience. Almost all restaurants factor in their service into their pricing some way or another. Companies with tech-based products are no different. Take Ring camera as an example. Imagine how inconvenient it would be if they didn’t build a mobile app and forced their users to use their mobile browsers instead.

Conclusion

Well, folks, that about wraps it up for this week! I hope you enjoyed the first post in our new mini-series format. If so, please give us a like or say so in the comments below! To quickly wrap up what we discussed, for those who prefer to skip to this section before reading the others: mobile apps can be an excellent solution for your business, but you need to know exactly what your intentions are before making the decision. Fortunately, we can assist you in this process! If you stumbled across this article while considering a mobile app for your business, feel free to reach out to schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see whether a mobile app would be worth it in your use-case or not. Have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you all again next week when we visit Websites and if you need one as a business!

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