Smart devices have taken the world by storm, and with it, phone and tablet applications – popularly dubbed ‘apps’. Businesses today, whether big or small, established or starting out, have recognised that having a mobile app is an indispensable growth catalyst – an innovation that has changed the fortunes of many organisations.
There is no arguing that mobile applications have etched their way into every organisation's business strategy, with companies making a beeline to come up with their own apps in the market.
Apps are great for businesses that directly cater to consumer needs, have a large customer base and face stiff competition. For such companies, not staying connected with their consumers could put them out of business.
Companies that are a part of industries like aviation, e-commerce, banking, travelling, music and gaming, which sell products or services directly to a large consumer base, have found that their apps have millions of takers. Creating a mobile application has become a compulsion for such organisations and investments made into building apps have mostly paid off for them.
While one might assume that having an application is entirely necessary for the success a business, for a few industries a mobile application has no effect on sales or profit and end up being a miscalculated cost.
Let’s look at some such businesses or industries for which having a mobile application can end up becoming a white elephant for the company:
Automobile industry: Nobody is going to buy a brand new four-wheeler or two-wheeler over an app, nor is anyone going to waste precious mobile memory on apps that are of no value. Not too many people would be interested in downloading the app of an automobile maker. A vehicle is a long-term purchase, and such an app would be just of a one-time use for them.
Hospitals: Someone who is ill would prefer to be diagnosed by a real doctor in person rather than write their symptoms on an app and wait for answers. A hospital app would also not make sense unless it helps in taking appointments or making payments.
Manufacturing industries: Since most manufacturing companies like pharmaceuticals, power, chemicals and petroleum companies make products that are ancillary in nature and are used by other industries as raw materials and have no direct market, it is unnecessary for them to have apps of any sort. Most manufacturing industries can do with just a website and would not want to waste their money on creating mobile applications.
While having an app is considered ‘cool’, businesses must evaluate the benefit that they expect from a mobile application. Businesses, especially those that are small, which go with the flow and create mobile applications often end up regretting the decision and tying up a lot of their crucial working capital. There is no denying that apps hold the potential to redefine businesses, but it is necessary for organisations to do a cost-benefit analysis before deciding to invest money in making an app.