Tailoring apps to suit the way your company does business
INNOVATION PROFILE Vodafone:THE ADVENT OF smartphones and tablet computing has brought a whole new dynamic to business computing.
Retail chains can now reach out to their customers using dedicated apps, while companies with mobile workforces can use them to effectively eliminate paper at a fraction of the cost of previous solutions.
It’s not quite that easy of course. The problem tends to lie in the expense and technical difficulty of developing new apps for a specific business. Vodafone has moved to address this and has partnered with two specialist firms to offer a novel service which its customers can use to develop and deploy new apps and pay for them on their Vodafone bill.
“Vodafone is a market leader in bringing innovative propositions to the market as the world of mobility evolves at lightning speed,” says Fergal Kelly, Vodafone Ireland chief technology officer. “Mobile applications are becoming a major strategic focus for companies, and business customers are increasingly coming to us for advice on how they can implement a mobile app strategy. We now have the ability to add value to our business customers, through the highly specialised consultancy services offered by our partners Topaz Software and Furious Tribe.”
Topaz Software operates mainly in the business-to-business (B2B) or enterprise application space, while Furious Tribe is focused on the business-to-consumer area. Business-to-business apps help keep a mobile workforce connected to the information they need and enable organisations to gain real-time insights into their employees’ locations and performance in order to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce operating costs. Solutions can be tailored to an organisation’s needs and are designed to fully integrate with their systems.
“We started out back in the late 1990s as a software development and consultancy company”, says Topaz CEO Niall Conheady. “We saw the dotcom bubble beginning to burst and got into mobile at an early stage on the Windows platform. It was a very niche market at that stage and we had customers in Ireland, the UK and the Nordic countries.”
Following a change in Microsoft’s mobile strategy in the late 2000s, the company decided to alter its own focus. “We made the brave call to move from the Microsoft platform to Android and IOS and it proved the right decision,” Conheady recalls. “Smartphones and tablet computers had become ubiquitous and companies were looking for apps to make use of them.”
According to Conheady, the proliferation of these devices has marked a real change in the market. When coupled with mobile apps, they are making the deployment of B2B apps far more affordable for businesses. A tablet can incorporate all the functions of multiple devices such as a camera, a Dictaphone, a laptop and so on.