When clients who need a mobile app approach our CEO, Vince O’Gorman, around half of them can pinpoint their issue.
“There’s usually a consistent problem that’s been bothering them and they’ve tried a few internal fixes, but realize they require a more fulsome mobile solution,” he says.
The other 50 per cent may not be able to identify their specific technical concern, but have a business need that isn’t being met, which is fleshed out during discovery sessions. This is ultimately the value an app provides.
“It solves a business problem,” explains O’Gorman, who highlights Vog’s expertise spans custom software, mobile apps, and website development to meet varying business needs.
Increasingly, mobile apps are the answer to business needs that range from customer engagement and retention to sales, business development and even internal operations/management –– because mobile is where people are spending their online time.
A 2020 study from eMarketer reveals that 88 per cent of mobile internet usage by adults in the U.S. is spent within apps. It far outpaces online access via web browsers. As well, Statista reports that in 2020, users around the world downloaded 218 billion apps to their phones, up from 204 billion the year before.
While consumer demand is one key driver that motivates organizations to invest in mobile apps, the influence of other evolving digital technologies is also extensive, says O’Gorman.
From 5G internet connectivity speeding up online experiences and increased use of mobile wallets, to artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented or virtual reality offering new and exciting ways to engage with brands –– there are a multitude of use cases that drive demand for new apps, he says.
Consumer facing products are not the only players in this field either. Enterprise mobile apps — which are meant to help employees better engage with and run an organization — can significantly increase productivity and revenue if well-built and well-used, says a Forbes Insight & VMware report. And 81 per cent of surveyed enterprise respondents expect the importance of employee business apps to grow.
The app industry is in perpetual motion rather than a state of current revolution, says O’Gorman.
Skilled app developers are consistently growing to keep pace with the latest technology updates — including functional updates from cloud providers like AWS and Azure or mobile platforms like Apple and Google — while simultaneously helping clients make growth-oriented business decisions, specific to their industry.
Let’s dive into some of the key needs and trends that are driving app and software development in sectors such as energy, financial services, and healthcare.
To adopt new tech, energy companies need to be cloud-enabled
A top tech priority for energy companies? Many are focused on a “digital transformation strategy to move from local, internal servers to the cloud,” O’Gorman says. If organizations want to implement new digital technology features or apps into their business, they often need to migrate their data to cloud-based solutions, which can be a big undertaking.
Another new technology that’s especially transforming the energy sector is AI. As the World Economic Forum reports, “AI can help energy-system stakeholders identify patterns and insights in data, learn from experience and improve system performance over time, and predict and model possible outcomes of complex, multivariate situations.”
Gartner’s Top 10 Trends Driving the Oil and Gas Industry in 2021 report, reveals that industry adoption of AI or machine learning more than doubled from 13 per cent to 32 per cent between 2018 and 2020, and 50 per cent of companies are expected to increase their investment this year.
In oil and gas, the tech is enabled via both business systems and applications for a variety of workflow uses, such as “geoscience interpretation, drilling, asset performance management and production optimization,” says Gartner.
The report notes that not all companies have invested in the cloud-based data integration that allows for deployment of AI, but as they do they’ll find that asset operation and optimization capabilities expand, as will reliance on AI for business decision-making.
Financial service apps focus on easier user access
When it comes to mobile app development for financial service firms, the key focus is enabling easier access to cash, says O’Gorman. “Consumers want quick and convenient connections to financial support, options, and the ability to swiftly move money.”
The State of Mobile 2020 report from App Annie notes that “globally, consumers accessed Finance apps more than 1 trillion times in 2019, up 100% from 2017. From stock management to mobile banking to payment apps this showcases mobile’s central role in managing our daily finances.”
The impact of COVID-19 has of course sped up demand for, and thus investment in mobile financial service apps, and the resulting industry changes are here to stay.
For instance, according to a 2020 Mastercard global consumer study, 74 per cent of consumers will continue to use contactless payment post-pandemic.
The key to creating a successful Fintech mobile app is to strategically meet consumer expectations. Organizations can do things like streamline the user journey using facial or fingerprint recognition, or gamify the experience of moving money.
COVID-19 continues to be a catalyst for healthcare app development
In comparison to many other industries, healthcare has a longer journey to technological advancement and investment in mobile, says O’Gorman. But the pandemic has certainly sped things up.
“The biggest trend we’re experiencing in healthcare app and software development is a move away from outdated systems that were previously seen as secure — such as faxing and spreadsheets — to digital data management, achieving a simplified user experience and removing the need to repeat input of information,” he says.
Additionally, many healthcare professionals are asking for solutions that streamline health records and allow patients to easily access and update them on their own, O’Gorman notes.
From a consumer perspective, telemedicine has been a leading trend, with some apps reporting an extraordinary 8,270% increase in downloads, according to a report from GlobalData. Previous barriers to adoption of telemedicine –– such as awareness, reimbursement and resistance to change –– were swept away by the shift in needs/priorities that arose due to COVID-19, says the report.
As organizations bring in developers to create these new apps, privacy can be a concern, as so much sensitive consumer health data is involved. O’Gorman says that protecting customer data is an integral part of app development, and is likely more advanced than analog healthcare data systems.
“We’re constantly evolving, bringing in new concepts and ideas to ensure that data is secure, as well as solving the bigger business or organizational problems that necessitate new software or an application in the first place,” he says.