Appreciating the bottom-line power of developing customized apps Posted on January 7, 2016 by Tim Burke How important are apps to your business? If your enterprise is like most, the answer is VERY. And the chief reason centers on the rising importance of mobile “presence.” Without such presence, just about every business will soon struggle to compete. Sometimes, however, not even a good mobile app is enough, because app users — which is to say, your customers — have become demanding. And picky. Consider: In three years, 3.5 billion people worldwide will be using smartphones, up from 2 billion in 2014. More than 85% of consumers’ time on smartphones is spent using apps — and they devote no less than 84% of that app time to their five preferred apps. In the U.S., 62 % of smartphone users expect mobile-ready websites, and 42% expect to find a mobile app. Almost a quarter expect their app experience to change based on location. Why the best apps are customized apps Today, apps serve as matchmakers between you and your customers, and the most successful apps have been skillfully customized to that purpose. The best apps do four things well: Generate direct revenue. The best apps out-perform merely good ones by a factor of five. Assist other channels. The best apps boost sales in other channels by as much as 44%. Reduce costs. The best apps lower operational costs by 29% and improve employee productivity by as much as 44%. Increase customer engagement and loyalty. The best apps lift customer engagement by 50% and loyalty by 47%. No wonder so many are working on customized apps. By some accounts, nearly 60% of enterprises will boost their customized app development budgets this coming year — regardless of company revenues. And while surveys have their limitations, it’s hard not to do a double-take when one of them comes back stating that 87% of IT leaders regard customized app development as essential to innovation. The right technology consulting partner can show you the way Unless your enterprise employs a lot of IT experts, though, taking on customized app development may seem daunting and impossibly expensive. But don’t be discouraged. Software development isn’t what it used to be. For a while, entirely new apps have been rapidly built from pre-configured reusable components. That’s because essential chunks of software can be abstracted as flexible services — so it’s possible to add functionality and/or update an app without impacting the technology infrastructure beneath it. More recently, these capabilities have been extended to cloud services and open APIs (application programming interfaces). Which means the right technology consulting partner can show you how cloud-based customized app development can make a difference to your bottom line. In my next post, I’ll take a look at what you’ll need for successful customized app development.