Every CIO can get more benefits from using more mobile apps

mobileChief information officers today are coming to realize that the conventional methods of doing business just won’t cut it anymore. Workers want to get things done faster, more efficiently and with fewer errors. Perhaps their parents’ generation was content with taking notes with paper and pencil and filing them away in cabinets, but that isn’t sufficient anymore. Time is money – by getting their work done faster, companies can increase profits and get a leg up on their competitors.

Forget about pencil and paper. Forget about conventional desktop computers, even. The key to business success today is having more adaptable solutions for workers who are always traveling, switching desks and working from home. That’s where mobile apps come in.

The beauty of a tablet or smartphone is that a worker can use it to become more productive from anywhere. Whether across town at a face-to-face meeting or across the world at a trade show, an employee can stay connected with the office. Workers can use mobile apps for small details of their daily routines, such as logging hours, or for the nuts and bolts of their jobs, such as managing customer service or e-commerce. This has become one of the most notable of today’s IT trends.

A variety of uses
VentureBeat recently reported that the market for mobile apps is exploding and shows no signs of letting up. Flurry, a company that provides tools for app developers, has been tracking people’s mobile app usage, and the firm has detected a total of 1.3 trillion different in-app “events” each month.

Matt Gillis, executive vice president of Millennial Media, told the news source that the shift toward apps has been very deliberate, guided by the companies that produce the world’s mobile technologies.

“The industry has intentionally pushed users to apps,” Gillis said. “The industry has gone overboard in trying to shift user behavior.”

VentureBeat explained that since 2009, when smartphones first began to become ubiquitous, we’ve seen two things: a massive uptick in activity, and an increased variety of those activities. In the beginning, people simply used their iPhones to listen to music. Now, they’re branching out. Smartphone users play games, network with friends and co-workers, plan travel logistics and partake in e-commerce.

The source noted that there’s still room for growth in the way businesses capitalize on mobile apps. Jeff Drobick, chief product officer at Tapjoy, found that only $4 billion of the advertising industry’s $40 billion in total spending goes toward mobile ads.

Technology omnivory
Bear in mind that mobile apps have not completely supplanted other forms of modern technology. On the contrary: Television and the Web are still as prominent as ever, but mobile has now joined them.

Flurry tracked this growth over a two-year period. Between December 2010, 2011 and 2012, Americans’ TV-watching habits went from 162 minutes per day to 168 to 168 – fairly consistent. Likewise, web browsing went from 70 to 72 to 70. Mobile apps, on the other hand, surged. In 2010, we spent 66 minutes per day on our smartphones. That number has since nearly doubled, to 127.

Americans have become technology omnivores, eager to embrace all gadgets on the market simultaneously. And that evolution isn’t just taking place at home – it’s evident in the workplace, also. Chief information officers should take notice – workers are using mobile apps more than ever to help them get their work done, but they’re still using web browsers and other technology as well. Today’s chief information officers must embrace a multi-channel world in which mobile apps are one piece of the puzzle, but not the entire thing.

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