Creating successful business apps. How is that possible?

by Giovanni Foschini on 12/04/2012

I happened to read an interesting article: iPads in the office – what are they really good for? that I recommend you give a close look.

The author sums up a brief survey on how PCs and tablets are used, observing that: “users want to accomplish work primarily through their PCs – where they can consume, collaborate, and create. But they also recognize that during certain times, in certain locations, or when mobile they prefer to use nonstandard form factors, including tablets – where they can consume and collaborate, but not create.”

This may be due to the fact that there are no business apps, or they’re not adequate for users’ needs, which makes it even more important to ask ourselves: how can we create truly useful business apps?

I found my first answer in that same article: “The real opportunity, though, is to create business applications that work better on a tablet than on other platforms.”

So we can’t simply rewrite the software we use on PCs for tablets. To be successful, we have to be able to write apps that capitalize on the unique strengths of these devices: portability, ease of use, long battery life, relatively large screens, and the possibility to be able to function even without an Internet connection.

These characteristics are in fact precisely the reasons behind the sales success of tablets and smartphones, despite how the author points out that they aren’t yet “suited” for use in the office.

This is why I think that solutions based on virtualization systems or terminal-server style should only be considered stop-gap solutions. The same is true for web applications rendered “compatible” with mobile browsers.

Developing applications working from the strengths of tablets is undoubtedly more difficult, but the enormous opportunities of this market make the challenge very intriguing.

I think it’s worth trying. What do you think?

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