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BPOs cashing in on the App market

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business-process-appsBy Martin Conboy. The mobile app market is booming. It’s predicted that the app economy will be worth over $US 145 billion by 2016. Organisations are looking to reach their own customers via mobile platforms further driving the need for the services of mobile developers and platform providers. And the mobile apps for business processes revolution is about to happen.

“Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. From entertainment content to productivity services, from quantified-self to home automation, there is an app for practically anything a connected consumer may want to achieve,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

“This connection to consumer services means users are constantly funnelling data through mobile apps. As users continue to adopt and interact with apps, it is their data — what they say, what they do, where they go — that is transforming the app interaction paradigm.”

For a while now I have been pointing out that while some BPO service providers have been fretting about the decline in the BPO voice market, savvy players are moving into application and animation development. The dominant BPO power houses of The Philippines and India risk becoming disengaged from the trend with their over reliance on voice projects.

The dominant BPO power houses of The Philippines and India risk becoming disengaged from the trend with their over reliance on voice projects.

The switch away from voice BPO to Visual BPO is all too apparent. It’s the same garden, just different flowers. A number of BPO and outsourcing providers have been quick to realise the impact of mobile apps and their impact on customer service.

Just over two decades ago customer interactions were primarily face-to-face, over the phone or by mail. Today, customer interactions are managed through a variety of channels. The latest game changer to this mix has been the rise of smartphones and tablets.

According to eMarketer 1.75 billion people in the world currently use a smart phone and more than one-third of the globe’s population will have a smart phone by 2017. That’s a huge market. Apps gives consumers anytime, anywhere access to services, information, and entertainment. Customers are increasingly relying on their mobile devices and apps to manage their bills, banking, insurance and a host of other regular activities.

Apps for business

According to Datamark the mobile app for business revolution has started. Mobile apps have the potential to greatly boost the productivity of management and staff across a range of disciplines. Numerous organisations have tipped their toe at least when it comes to their field forces – giving them apps to access their email, calendar, contacts, etc.

But in the next few years mobile apps are expected to emerge to manage all business functions. Mobile apps offer the ability to automate complex tasks quickly and easily compared to installing or modifying a core back end system.

…100 percent of the respondents believe that in the next two years at least half of the businesses in their industry will have mobile apps for their organisation.

Recently Burrus Research in America, surveyed 700 companies where 4% said they had developed mobile apps for their business processes such as logistics, purchasing, sales support etc. However, 100 percent of the respondents believe that in the next two years at least half of the businesses in their industry will have mobile apps for their organisation. That’s a massive upswing in app development activity.

Mobiles apps have revolutionised how software is produced, distributed and used. The focus to date has been almost exclusively on the consumer market providing entertainment, information and access to services.

In the immediate future companies both large and small will need access to resources and platforms to build and manage apps that automate key business processes. Daniel Burrus, CEO of Burrus Research, comments, “That means the rise of mobile apps for all business functions is a hard trend you can’t ignore. The companies that transform their business processes using mobility will achieve new levels of success. The time for business process transformation is now”.
January 27, 2015
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