Applying mobile software is the way to go

Mobile can reach more people than online, but apps must be designed to deliver an easy-to-use service, as Adrian Bridgwater discovers


The business benefits of having a fully blown, specifically developed mobile software application are now widely recognised if not already accepted as a de facto business standard.

Andrew Griffin, senior vice-president industry and investor relations at mobile banking technology company Monitise, surmises that the “always-on, always-with-you” capabilities that mobile offers in financial services delivers five or ten times the level of engagement seen online, but only if the user experience is right.

“That not only means a good looking app that is intuitive to use, it also means the right balance between security and ease of entry to the app. Online banking’s approach of twin password entry just doesn’t wash on the small screen where we aim to authenticate you within ten seconds. That drives engagement of 25 to 30 logins per month or more, so definitely a screen-one app,” says Mr Griffin.

“The key to success is for retailers and businesses to work collaboratively with banks and mobile providers to take advantage of the high engagement to create m-commerce opportunities that are well targeted and which can be taken advantage of in one or two ‘clicks’. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ silver-bullet service and competition in this industry is tough, that’s why players are stronger together in this rapidly evolving space,” he adds.

Metadata theory – extracting information about information and putting it into context – is at work here, to get more insight and value. Laxman Karnam, chief executive of software development company Lollaksi, says the true value of mobile for business is the ability to collect and create data on the data, whatever the app.

“But that data needs to be shared across devices and users simply and securely. The apps are only part of the equation. Businesses need to understand how they will keep their valuable data synchronised and protected between their mobile devices and desktop computers, and vice-versa,” says Mr Karnam.

Matt Smith, chief technology officer for the UK and Nordics at enterprise management technology firm Software AG, recognises that his company needs to respond to the need for mobilised versions of its products. “We have to understand that the emergence of smartphones means the business process starts in the hands of the customer rather than the business. What does this mean?

“Some forward-thinking retailers are extending the [employee] concept of bring your own device [to work] externally to customers scanning retail purchases. This delivers a more personal in-store experience, at the same time cutting the cost of servicing each customer. Critically, this also creates the opportunity for the retailer to make situation-based offers to the customer in real time,” he says.

“This has already delivered some outstanding results through Turkey’s biggest telecoms company Turkcell, with one retailer seeing a ten-fold increase in the uptake of these customised offers and that’s from a potential customer base of 34 million users.”