We live in a digital world. Between office and home, Americans spend nearly 12 hours a day in the digital world. Our devices stay connected even when we sleep. Businesses large and small are moving to the cloud. For one, it does away with the cost of an IT department. However, an added benefit of cloud computing is the access it provides to applications, or apps for short, which run on handheld devices like mobiles and tablets.

So now, your sales manager in the field can receive an order, check inventory levels and confirm it, all while being away from his workstation. The cashier at the department store swipes your purchase on a small tablet, and you’re on your way in 30 seconds. These are just some instances of companies that have migrated to the cloud and operate using apps. It wouldn’t be out of place to suggest that in the coming years your company’s apps will be more important than your website.Apps ensure that you are connected 24/7 with your customers. Your website can’t do that. In this environment, a new mobile App is launched every hour.

Are Apps Still Important To Businesses?

Apps allow you to conduct business on the move. People are working while moving around. They need to work from small handheld devices that they carry, like tablets, smartphones and netbooks.Consumers prefer the simplicity and focus that apps deliver, over diffused information on websites. Some of the biggest advantages that apps deliver for a company include:

  • Increased visibility.
  • Build brand loyalty.
  • Direct, 24×7 connection with your customer.
  • Increased sell-through.

Apps are a win-win situation for both the company and its customers. From a customer’s standpoint, working with apps facilitates the following:

  • They provide the customer easy access to your inventory.
  • They offer the customer a one-touch contact with the company.
  • The customer can receive notification of special events and launches.

Designing an app for your company means you need to take into consideration several factors, from its functionality and aesthetics to which platform it will run on. Some of the key issues that need to be finalized before the design stage are:

  • Functionality: What will the app be used for? Is it just to provide information, like an app for a weather channel, or will it be used to transact business?
  • Choice of platform: There are multiple platforms out there, like iOS platforms for iPhone and iPod,Android for smartphones and tablets, and to a lesser extent, platforms based on Blackberry, Windows Phone 8 and Bada. Typically, most companies design their apps to run on iOS and Android platforms.
  • Who will develop it: The temptation here is to use your in-house IT resources to save costs. However, for improveduser experience it may bebetter to use the services of an established application developer.

It’s a foregone conclusion that every business with an online presence requires an app in today’s business world.Apps help in disseminating information, conducting business and, most importantly,in staying connected with the customer.