Are mobile apps part of your tech plans? If not, you may be behind the curve - and in need of a rethink - as silicon.com's exclusive CIO Jury has revealed, mobile apps are now firmly embedded in enterprise IT strategy.
Thanks to the success of the iPhone and Apple's App Store, in the last year mobile applications have become a hot topic for consumers. And businesses are now waking up to the potential of apps as well, whether it is to engage with customers or to make staff more efficient.
Attractions include the ability to develop apps fast and cheaply: a basic mobile app might cost as little as £10,000 to build, although elaborate apps can cost 10 times that or more.
When asked 'Are you looking at developing mobile apps as part of your overall IT strategy?', the silicon.com CIO Jury voted 'yes' by a margin of eight to four, suggesting the mobile app is now forming a part of the enterprise IT strategy.
Alastair Behenna, CIO at Harvey Nash described mobile apps as a "fantastic opportunity for rapid innovation and excellent value for money". He added: "We've already developed a number of mobile apps across a number of platforms and will continue to develop more targeted and complex applications and utilities over the course of this year."
Gavin Megnauth, director of operations and group IT, Morgan Hunt said: "In the highly competitive world of recruitment which in a downturn means many recruiters chasing the same few candidates - the key is getting the vacancies to the candidates as quickly as possible. Giving them an easy to use mobile app to alert them to opportunities and getting first-mover advantage here is a key part of our thinking."
And Dr Ben Booth, global CTO at Ipsos, said mobile is already a key part of its strategy: "Depending on the market circumstances our interviewers will use laptops, tablets or handhelds for data collection in the field. We have also developed specific tools, for instance panel members carry a GPS-sensing device so that we can survey their exposure to outdoor advertising. Our MediaCell application loads onto a standard mobile and monitors radio listening."
Chris Clements, IS director at RM, said mobile apps create a greater ROI from the investment in the device "and more importantly the data 'tax' that comes with it".
Mobile apps are the latest example of the consumerisation of IT - where consumer tech breaks through into the world of corporate IT. As Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe at Sodexo pointed out: "As the world comes to expect connectivity anywhere, we need to match that with business functionality. More and more we are driven by expectations from the consumer market."
Just don't rush your app development. Andrew Wayland, CIO at Michael Page International, has a few words of advice for organisations developing mobile apps: "The mobile platform is a key delivery mechanism to reach clients and candidates. Some companies have rushed applications out, and I know regretted it. The community can be scathing if you don't get their vibe! So take time, add value and really understand how the mobile users want to consume your service or products.
Today's CIO Jury was:
- Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
- Dr Ben Booth, global chief technology officer, Ipsos
- Chris Clements, IS director, RM
- Paul Day, head of information services, Southwark Council
- Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe, Sodexo
- Chris Ford, IT director, Nottingham City Council
- Steve Gediking, Head of IT & facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission
- John Keeling, CIO, John Lewis
- Gavin Megnauth, director of operations and group IT, Morgan Hunt
- Richard Storey, head of IT, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
- Jacques René, CIO, Ascend
- Andrew Wayland, CIO, Michael Page International
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Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.