Whenever apps are mentioned for iPhone or iPad, people naturally think of the iTunes App Store as the method of distribution. For most applications, this is perfectly fine – Apple handle the storage and distribution of apps ensuring they can reach the widest possible audience. Anyone, from the bedroom coder to the largest corporate, can write and deploy their apps safe in the knowledge that someone else is handling the bandwidth, e-commerce and security issues that come with internet-based stores. For most of our customers, we’d expect to publish their app through the App Store.

If you remember, I did say “For most applications”. One downside to the AppStore is that anyone can get your App. Anyone can see what your app can do. Perfect for a game or social media but not great for commercially sensitive applications. Another downside is that pre-configuration of an app might be difficult as it may expose internal server names or locations – something that the IT team would object to.

For many businesses, the iPad and iPhone are perfect platforms to build new ways of working. Many job roles require email and web access and perhaps one or two specific applications. For this, laptops are deployed and are barely used – the IT team spend time and money supporting these devices for VPN access, virus management, updates etc. Writing a web-based application, accessed by a VPN, has it’s merits (flexibility, ease of deployment and upgrade) and can help define what the user actually needs in the field but does come with the issues of speed, no offline ability and handling of large content. Deploying native apps releases employees from their laptops and the associated costs, can aid secure storage and delivery of commercially sensitive data, and provides a fast and accessible method of access to corporate systems.

The iOS Enterprise Developer programme from Apple allows the business to write and deploy native apps outside of the App Store to your employees. These apps can be as corporate-specific as needed, pre-configured and ready to go. Deployment can be as simple as a weblink from the Intranet or as part of a well-defined and process-driven MDM (mobile device management) policy.

We’ve been developing bespoke applications for many years so we understand that for many companies, highly-specific custom desktop applications are necessary to run their operations. With the sudden boom in smartphone and tablet computing, it comes as no surprise that the need for custom apps is as important as ever. The key point for businesses is to start incorporating these devices in to their IT strategy and not treat them as executive toys.

So, next time you think –

  • “I’d love Sales to have a fast collateral and pricing tool but can’t let it get in to the hands of my competitors”
  • “Everyone should be able to raise a holiday request from their phone”
  • “Our internal manufacturing systems are proprietary, but we need to give 300 staff access in the field”
  • “We have 20 meeting rooms in 5 different offices, how can we make the booking process easy”

Why not think – “With a custom iOS app, we can achieve our goals of efficiencies of working, reduce IT support costs and steal a march on our competitors. I’d better call First Option Solutions”

Call us today – 0333 900 1444 or email us at sales@fosolutions.co.uk.