November 21, 2012

Creating apps for internal business use

Written By Martin Sandhu

Apps are really useful for work, there a no doubt a number of productivity apps you use on a regular basis in the office or when you’re off-site. But apps can be much more than this…and we’re not talking about Angry Birds! Many businesses are starting to consider building apps to use internally in their business, to help communication or to aid in productivity.

The benefits of internal apps are endless, it means employees on the road do not have to carry laptops, they can simply use a tablet, all employees have access to real-time information, it significantly reduces paperwork, speeds up processes…we could go on! In short, people can do their job wherever they are and, due to the intuitive nature of apps, often much quicker.

Just this week Emirates announced it is to roll out a Windows 8 app for use by its airline crew. The application will be used by the purser, who is in charge of the in-flight crew, often totalling close to 30 members. Through the use of a tablet the purser will be able to access a profile of each crew member, including essential information such as the languages they speak. Not only that, but the app will allow the crew to record seat changes and perform in-flight upgrades. Not only will the Emirates app cut down on paper-work and make staff communication easier, it will also make the passenger experience better.

Internal apps can be used for a whole variety of businesses; for example a coach holiday company that would usually carry a pile of paper-work containing all passenger information could benefit greatly from an app which stored the data and allowed the driver to check passengers back on board before departure…no more counting heads and trying to work out who is missing! Whilst a modern retailer who wished to remove the traditional tills and associated queues, could give each member of staff a tablet with checkout and payment processing software, allowing them to attend to a customer from start to finish in just one place.

Just like any app, there are a few things to consider before commissioning an internal app; it’s important to understand which platform your device will be built for and what tablet or phone you want your employees to use. Whilst the majority of your employees may already have an iPhone, Apple have strict rules and regulations when it comes to app distribution, so do consider Android or Windows options. Also, remember this won’t be seen or used by your customers, so it doesn’t have to be the slickest app you’ve ever seen, whilst you want it to look good functionality is key.