ProOnGo creates expense tracking applications for mobile phones. CEO and Founder, Phil Leslie helps us understand more about how applications can be used for businesses.
What are your thoughts of businesses using apps as opposed to traditional software – any data from your customers?
I don’t know many businesspeople who spend their whole week at their desk, but I know quite a few businesspeople who are running between client meetings, partner meetings, the home office, trips to “headquarters”, trade shows, and the like. Businesspeople are mobile, and the software they depend on should be mobile too!
Are businesses asking for their own apps or looking for apps to use on their phones.
Businesses large and small are certainly scouring the app store for productivity-enhancing mobile apps that meet their needs; however, they don’t stop at downloading “what’s already out there”. They aren’t afraid to call up mobile app developers and ask about feature enhancements, white-label versions, and custom development. Mobile software gives businesspeople such a sense of empowerment to be productive on-the-go, and many businesses are willing to make the investment necessary to go beyond what’s already in the app store.
Do you think the increased use of mobile phones is driving app usage or is the availability of apps driving mobile phone usage?
The increase in quality and quantity of apps is driving excitement amongst consumers, and enticing them to buy smartphones, even if they’ve always carried feature phones and never thought of themselves as “techie”.
There are so many apps on the market how do businesses know which one is for them?
The good news is that it’s fun to search through app store to compare/contrast competing applications; however, at some point, that “fun” gives way to needing to make a thoroughly-researched decision. One trend we see is that businesspeople are looking for applications that will “be around” five years from now – they don’t want to get hooked on a particular app, integrate it into their daily life as a businessperson, and then see the developer stop upgrading the app a few months down the road. They also like to see that the app is available on multiple smartphone platforms – especially as many people are torn between choosing an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone 7 device as their next smartphone – they want to know that no matter what they choose the app will still “work”. At ProOnGo, we support 100s of different smartphone models, and we’re not shy about talking about how our team includes smartphone industry veterans who are “here to stay”. We think that speaks loudly, that our solution will still be relevant (and increasingly useful!) with every year that passes.
Some apps are free, some apps are free and part of software and some apps you pay for and are stand alone.
There are a great many apps that are free; however, there are very few well-maintained, user-friendly, professional-grade, high-uptime, business-focused apps that are free. The question that most businesspeople find themselves asking is “is this free app good enough”, or is the paid version such a time-saver that it “pays for itself”? At ProOnGo, we’re constantly trying to add new benefits to our software to make sure that ProOnGo Expense “pays for itself” many times over, in regained productivity.