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Measuring an app’s success against the likes of WhatsApp or Instagram can actually be quite limiting. There’s no doubt that these are incredibly successful applications but if you’re looking to enjoy similar success, it’s best to develop something that is suited to your specific needs.

According to Swipe Interactive’s CEO, Hendri Lategan, most businesses contemplating an app are doing so for a certain purpose. Perhaps they’re trying to offer their customers a better experience. Or maybe they want to make it easier for employees to work, communicate and collaborate.

For Lategan, it’s best to start by asking yourself what would create the most value for your users and customers? “Every business is different and every business app should be different too. There is no one perfect solution.” 

But do you really need an app?

The single biggest mistake businesses make is developing an app because it's trendy, says Lategan. “The result is commonly a poorly designed, barely functional mess that hardly anyone uses.” If you’re thinking about launching an app as a gimmick it will almost certainly be doomed to fail, he cautions. When deciding if an app is necessary, you need a clear business case that sets out what you’re trying to achieve and exactly how the app will help you do so. “My advice is that businesses do their homework and have a clear rationale for why they want an app in the first place. The worst thing you can do is to build an app that simply replicates your website.”

Web apps, native apps and hybrid apps

By establishing a clear business case you’ll have a better idea of what kind of app you actually need. Because there are choices:

  • Web apps are mobi sites designed to look and feel like an app
  • Native apps are built from the ground up for a particular platform or device
  • Hybrid apps promise the best of both worlds but can have functionality issues

Sometimes, building a mobile optimised website over an app is the best approach. Remember, mobile makes up 78% of web traffic in South Africa, according to the 2017 Global Digital Overview, and browsers on modern mobile devices are every bit as robust as their desktop counterparts.

Unlike an app, mobi sites are affordable, universal, extendable, accessible and much faster to build. And it can be beneficial to start out by building your app idea as a mobile site first, giving you the opportunity to gauge market interest and get quick feedback on how your product would be used when it goes live.

The reality is that new technologies are popping up faster than ever and having surprising effects on businesses of all sizes and across all industries. “There’s no turning back the clock,” concludes Lategan. Businesses need to give themselves the best chance of evolving by embracing innovation as a fundamental part of their strategy. As much as they need to focus on their core operations, they also need to create spaces within the business to test out new ideas and rapidly bring these innovative concepts to market.”

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Equipping your organisation with the right digital tools is the best way to ensure a successful and thriving business. Thats why we have put together a list of the best apps for business, to help you get ahead. 

Vodacom offer a wide range of products and services to fulfil the telecommunications needs of organisations of all sizes.

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