As small businesses increasingly look towards mobile applications as a marketing strategy to reach their customers, the question some of them are asking is this: Is it better to go with a native application (i.e. applications developed specifically for a particular mobile operating system), or to opt for a web-based application – accessed through a mobile browser – instead?
We speak to Luke Lightfoot, works in marketing and client services at UR Mobile, a software company that provides enterprise-level, mobile web solutions. He argues that deploying mobile web applications may be better value for small businesses.
What is the process in making the mobile web-based apps? How quick and easy is it?
(Luke Lightfoot) It depends on the business process integration strategy for each organization, but on average, creating a mobile web app is about 80-percent faster than developing a native app, which can take months.
What kinds of businesses would most benefit from having a mobile web-based app?
Mobile web apps provide the most efficient, elegant solution for true mobile engagement. Through mobile web apps, organizations can seamlessly integrate business processes at the web service layer to create a solution that is in line with a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This means that services and functions can continue to be dynamically integrated, edited and added or subtracted as the business environment changes and as the organization evolves. Unlike a native app, a mobile web app solution does not silo data but instead creates an agile and sustainable enterprise-level solution.
Through a mobile web app, organizations can allow internal and/or external mobile end-users to engage with sales, billing, CRM, etc. from anywhere and at anytime through a mobile browser.
Google is projecting that by 2016, about 80-percent of all internet users will access the web using a smartphone browser. Any organization that sees the value of placing not just a storefront, but an entire, integrated business into the pockets of these mobile internet users should consider creating a mobile web app.
The dramatic increase in mobile internet usage will undoubtedly have a huge impact on every type of organization. There is no question that businesses need to have a mobile strategy to stay viable, and for many, the most effective mobile strategy will include a mobile web app.
Why did UR Mobile focus on this mobile space?
We believe that the ability to integrate current web services and functions, such as CRM, sales, marketing, etc. to fully extend businesses to mobile end-users is quickly becoming a must-have for organizations.
We wanted to focus on empowering organizations to successfully and strategically extend their businesses to mobile, so we have created Accelerate, our mobile web platform, which provides the leading business process integration and extension solution for achieving this.
Any predictions for the mobile space for 2012?
Forward-looking organizations are already transitioning their businesses to allow for true mobile engagement. We are predicting that in 2012 they will continue to do this, largely through mobile web apps that dynamically extend their business processes to mobile, allowing for engagement that is both agile and sustainable.