Naked CIO: Beware the mobile app frenzy

Make sure the commitment is there…

Make sure the commitment is there…

The iPhone and others have caused a growth spurt in mobile apps, says the Naked CIO. But are they truly committed to business?

For many years I have argued that mobile providers neglected and abandoned business customers in their consumer-driven market.

So I've been intrigued by the growth in mobile applications - most notably driven by the iPhone application platform. And as applications for both B2B and B2C become a reality within the mobile market you might presume that I would be an enthusiastic supporter of these initiatives.

Something , however, disturbs me with these applications - similar to the birth of the dot-coms a decade ago.

The principle of developing business-centric applications for mobile applications is not the issue.

But the carnivorous, unstructured, chaotic frenzy to develop the killer app does concern me from a CIO perspective.

How many of these developers will see through the commitment they have to these applications so that they can truly benefit business?

In addition, how does the difference between mobile devices and application development environments impact these applications?

With both BlackBerry and Apple entrenched in this market and other mobile operators following suit, are we going to have piecemeal and fractured applications that become cumbersome and a nuisance?

The difficulty this type of market creates is that it is more about being seen to be part of the craze and less about providing services and applications that are innovative and drive businesses forward.

If you are going to invest in, develop or partner with companies in order to develop business-centric mobile applications, be sure to have a roadmap like you would have with any other application prior to engaging.

Do research on your partners or developers and ensure that they have a track record for developing that goes beyond just mobile applications as there are a lot of unstable start ups right now in the space.

Also make sure you know your customers and how they use mobile devices, and that any application is developed in relation to how these customers can best benefit from a mobile app. Maybe even set up a test group.

Define what mobile devices you will develop for and formulate a good rationale as to why you might choose one environment over another and how this also will impact your customers.

I think this new world is exciting and long overdue. But if a business is looking to leverage the power of mobility it is critical that they do it right the first time: and if this takes more time then so be it.