New Mobile Apps Offer Midsize Businesses Easier Ways to Perform

By | May 10, 2012

It's no surprise that mobile technology is starting to dominate the business cloud; devices like Windows phones, iPads, and Android-based tablets have been using cloud-like structures to communicate for years. They would have advanced the cloud agenda even if platform and service providers not been so quick to capitalize. What's been missing from the world of midsize business mobile devices are strong candidates for functional mobile apps--not simply schedulers or basic data reporters, but apps with real form and function. Now, several candidates have emerged, especially on iOS.

Designing for the Future

A Forbes article examines current market trends as they relate to smartphone iOS use--as reported by the NDP group--showing that 61% of smartphones on the market run using an Android OS, with Apple coming in a distant second at 29%. Despite these numbers, however, Forbes argues that the iOS is still the best choice for developers hoping to create viable apps. Why?

First, Apple has always provided consistency in their products, and apps built on iOS work across any of their current-gen devices. Android and Windows devices, however, can be maddening for developers, particularly when it comes to screen size. In addition, Apple has massive market scale and penetration, thanks to its installed user base, and the company also enjoys a high level of consumer trust in its app store.

The result? For midsize business IT, it's that using iPhones or iPads may make sense in a corporate environment. Along with the increasing number of personal devices crossing over into workspace use, there are a number of worthwhile apps to consider purchasing through Apple.

What's Out There?

Mashable recently examined several new business-specific apps developed for the iOS, pointing again to the continual consumerization of IT. IT admins can't afford to ignore mobile apps as part of their overall tech strategy--employees and management will use them, with or without approval.

Of the four apps reviewed by Mashable, three stand out: Boardvantage, IBM bCase, and Cisco WebEx. Boardvantage permits iPad users to carry out an entire board meeting using only Apple tablets and then stores sensitive data in an IT-secure portion of the app. Cisco WebEx lets iPhone and iPad users join web conferences from anywhere in the world, though a WebEx host account is needed if IT wants to host a meeting or schedule one--those without the host account can simply join. IBM's bCase app focuses on creating dynamic sales presentations on iPads using content pulled from a wide variety of sources, offering what's intended to be a superior alternative to PowerPoint and other presentation software.

Summing It App

For IT admins, the growing world of iOS business apps means getting on board or getting left behind. The simple user interface of Apple's phones and tablets combined with their huge market clout mean that employees will use these apps even if IT doesn't approve them and even if security protocols aren't followed properly. Although Android owns the largest share in terms of pure OS numbers, developers still flock to Apple, and midsize IT needs to be prepared to polish up their iPhone and iPad skills, smile, and take a bite.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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