Ten years ago if somebody asked you to picture a typical business meeting between a business leader, their employees, and perhaps some of the organisation's customers, what would you have imagined? The chances are that you probably would have visualised a crowded, airless meeting room, with executives fighting tooth and nail to make their point heard.
Fast forward to today and ask the same question, and it's unlikely you'll see anything remotely similar in your mind's eye. Indeed, the proliferation in the number of mobile devices, tablets and laptops means that employees and partners are far more likely to connect to a meeting from a variety of locations. Interestingly, they are also likely to connect through a range of different applications, incorporating everything from the humble telephone, to video conferencing and even VOIP services.
Although recent years have seen a great deal of focus on how businesses are developing strategies to be able to cope with the increase in mobile devices, it's telling that very few seem to focus on maximising the reach and effect of their mobile applications. After all, it's worth remembering that it's rarely the devices themselves that impact on corporate networks, and it's much more common to find applications that can add greater efficiency and value.
This is borne out by a recent study conducted by Progress Software, in association with research firm Vanson Bourne, which found that, of 600 global organisations surveyed, as many as 92 per cent believed that adopting mobile applications would give them a competitive edge. However, only half (51 per cent) of those surveyed admitted to currently using mobile applications to interact with employees, with even less (45 per cent) using them to engage with customers. So why does this 'app gap' exist? Why, when people are keen to embrace the benefits that mobile applications can provide, are surprisingly few are actively looking at ways to make them a reality?
With the 4G spectrum auction on the horizon in the UK, it's clear that there's never been a more important time for businesses in this country to invest in getting these solutions right. Let's not forget that 4G networks will offer British businesses much more than fast access to information. The ability to benefit from applications that can enable a rapid exchange of potentially large datasets seems destined to usher in a new age of mobility in this country, but it's nonetheless true that only the most prepared will be able to benefit.
If businesses wish to embrace the future of mobility in this country, it's clear that they need to embrace mobility strategies that place applications at their heart. Failure to do so could not only make your business less attractive to prospective employees, but also to potential partners and customers. One thing's for sure: the successful businesses of tomorrow will be those that have managed to reduce the 'app gap', and make refusal to encourage application-centric mobile strategies a thing of the past!