It may be a fairly recent addition to the general vocabulary but almost everyone you ask will tell you that they use “apps”. The term has overtaken and replaced terms like software, programs or applications in general usage. Apps used to primarily refer to applications (where the word app is derived from) on mobile devices, however now, the term can be applied to desktop programs as well, not to mention the myriad of “smart” devices that now inhabit the technological landscape.
You have apps that allow you to live healthier, apps that allow you to consume entertainment, apps that allow you to educate yourself and more and more recently, apps that allow you to conduct business.
Apps dominate businesses by offering you an option to do formerly specialized, complicated and dedicated tasks in a much more user friendly and easier manner.
This can be basic communication (using apps like Skype instead of setting up dedicated conferencing infrastructure), building and maintaining company websites (using apps that offer drag and drop website building versus hiring a developer to construct and maintain websites in a dedicated manner) and financial work (via finance apps instead of hiring an accountant).
As a result, what we’re seeing is a lot of smaller businesses who are growing quite fast and are looking to be nimble and able to adapt will typically start grabbing tools off the web to do particular tasks. In that moment as they start to use it, it works and works well. It allows business owners to basically “pick up and go” and this has an obvious appeal. Anything that helps you get your business up and running faster is attractive to business owners.
However, as your business grows, with more staff and more volume, you will start to become hamstrung by all these tools that were once allowing you to be quite flexible. As you team grows, as your requirements change you will find you get to a a point where you are managing a lot of different applications and starting to move a lot of information between applications – without thinking ahead this starts to put real pressure on the effectiveness of the systems and process.
The needs and general workflow of a business with, say 10 people will have markedly different needs when you expand to 20 and then different again as you continue to grow. As your business grows, the volume of data grows. As a result a single app that previously had no problem dealing with your business process, may start to struggle with additional users. Different needs will arise, which may then require a different or additional app – how do they talk or are you know entering data twice?
This is a continual challenge and you need to have a flexibility in your systems. Don’t look at what you are doing today, look at what you want to achieve in 6 or 12 months’ time, or longer. Can you app cater for that? Does it allow for growth? The right system in place that allows you scale your requirements as needed.