Ask the Experts

Ask the experts: Should my small business develop a mobile app?

CorrespondentJuly 29, 2013 

Josh Oakhurst is the creative director for Skookum Digital Works, a custom software business in Charlotte.


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Going for a tailor-made app is a choice more entrepreneurs and small businesses are making as a way to raise their profile, boost sales and get their services in the hands of more users.

But there are also several good reasons for a business not to consider a mobile app, most importantly if the only impetus is the CEO received an iPad for Christmas.

While mobile apps can greatly increase a business’s efficiency or generate more profits, business leaders need to first think about how a mobile app would integrate with their work.

“There’s no sense in writing a mobile app until you understand what the business’ needs are,” said Josh Oakhurst, creative director for Skookum Digital Works, a custom software business in Charlotte.

“Any business considering a mobile app needs to really have a good reason for wanting one.”

Mobile apps are not just for customers. An increasing number of businesses are employing mobile technology for in-house applications such making information and communication more accessible for employees in the field.

When properly integrated with a business, mobile apps can significantly improve employees’ jobs.

Mobile apps, which can be customized, can help employees do everything from approve invoices to track mileage.

The Electric Power Research Institute, a not-for-profit organization that conducts research on issues related to the power industry, recently worked with Skookum Digital Works in developing a mobile app for welders who work on power plants.

EPRI, which has an office in Charlotte, issues 100-plus page reports on its findings, which typically are kept on a shelf in an office or on a computer.

Skookum Digital Works has built mobile apps that have digitized 25 years of research, and it has put software on a iPad so employees could access it in the field rather than returning to an office to work on a computer.

“We have given employees two or three hours of their day back,” Oakhurst said.

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