Rick Kapani Rick Kapani Founder and CEO - Apptium

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Getting Much Closer to Customers

  • Using specialist software to provide a richer and more intimate customer experience

     

    There is an app for that. It may be a cliché, but it’s true.

    In fact, there is a smartphone app for almost anything and everything. There are now more 2.5 million apps available for Android and 1.8 million for iOS. Does the world really need so many apps? 

     

    Maybe not, but there are very good reasons why apps have proliferated in this way. People tend to use apps designed to do a specific task really well because they typically offer a better experience than general apps, such as a web browser.

     

    This logic could and should be applied in the enterprise market, as well as the consumer market. Rather than having to monitor their operations through a monolithic enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management system, businesses need to be able to employ specialist tools for specific tasks, such as monitoring the performance of a promotional offer, the condition of vending machines or the location of field engineers.

     

    The beauty of a specialist app is it can be configured to serve up exactly the right information at the right time – it reduces the friction for the user. If I want to see what my garden sprinkler is doing, I tap on the app icon and it shows me immediately how much water it has distributed in the past seven days. Working my way through the menus in a generic smart home app to find that information would be a much more cumbersome experience. Specialist apps make things simple by enabling the individual to focus on completing a task, rather than distracting them with other information.

     

    Accessible, helpful, knowledgeable

    But specialisation is about much more than convenience and focus. It is also about personalisation and tailored recommendations. At a high level, a smartphone can give prominence to the specialist apps an individual uses regularly, so a keen gardener, for example, can quickly and easily turn on their sprinkler. 

     

    At the next level down, the app can tap the wisdom of crowds. A sprinkler app could flag when an individual is using significantly more or less water than their peers in comparable neighbourhoods. It could even devise a customised sprinkling plan based on the size and composition of the user’s garden.

     

    Similarly, online shopping apps can highlight food items that people often buy together, such as pasta and pesto, or flag items that the individual customer generally buys, but has forgotten to add to their basket, such as milk or bread. A dedicated smartphone app can also make it simple for an individual to buy tailored car insurance that reflects their actual driving patterns and the vehicle they use, rather than some off-the-shelf package for the average driver. When you relax on the couch, Netflix makes it easier for you to find something you will enjoy watching by comparing your viewing patterns to those of millions of other individuals.  

     

    These specialist apps are enriching people’s lives by doing a very specific job extremely well and by providing a highly personalised service. Business software needs to work in the same way – it is no longer sufficient to provide generic software that does many things to a mediocre standard.

     

    As employees are also consumers, they expect the software experience they enjoy on their smartphones to be replicated in their working lives. Business software needs to move much closer to the customer. It needs to become “their” software, rather than an impersonal standardised product. 

     

    In summary, “there’s an app for that” is much more than a cliché. It is short hand for a whole new personalised, frictionless customer experience, as well as a mind-set that businesses across the economy need to adopt. Specialised software is eating the world.

     

    Rick Kapani
    About Rick Kapani Rick Kapani works as Founder and CEO at Apptium
    More information : apptium.com