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The mobile application or simply the mobile apps may be defined as the Internet applications or even any application software that is designed to run on the small and low power handled devices such as the personal digital assistance or the PDAs, smart phones, or some of the other mobile devices, enterprise digital assistances or any other of the mobile phones. The mobile apps can come either as in the form of the pre installed packages on the phone or the mobile users can download them from a number of mobile software distribution platforms. These applications helps the users usually to perform a wide variety of the tasks like connecting them to the internet services which is generally and traditionally used to be done with the help of the desktop computers or the notebooks which makes it very comfortable to the internet users which enables them to use it on their portable devices. (Mobile Application) There are wide varieties of the mobile apps available in the today's market which serves for the several of the purposes whether it be a mobile web site bookmarking utility, instant based chatting which is based on the mobile, Gmail on mobile, yahoo on mobile, facebook on mobile, music player, video player, games, and many other such applications. (Gartner Newsroom) The mobile applications are one of the most rapid developing and the growing concept and segment of the global mobile market. (Market Research Report) These easy to handle software runs on the mobile to perform certain or a number of specified tasks for different types of users of the mobile phones. (association, 2008) The mobile apps are also sometimes called the downloadable as they are common for a number of mobiles and also they are very inexpensive along with being the entry level models. They are installed in the mobile phone for a wide range of the purposes like providing the interfaces for the basic messaging and the telephony services along with a number of the advanced services such as the business purpose solutions, gaming, downloading and reading the blogs such as the opera mini browser, etc.
THE CATEGORIES OF THE MOBILE APPs
As discussed in the introduction there are many mobile apps which comes pre-installed with the newly bought and manufactured mobile phones whereas the others may be the configured on post sales or similarly provisioned. Many of the mobile applications may include the applications designed for the purpose of managing the SMS or the MMS clients, music players, browsers, handling the wifi or the Bluetooth requests, share market figures provider or the news providers, etc. The differentiation of the mobile applications can be done on the basis of the technical point of view according to the runtime environment it is working which can be one of the three types. Firstly, the application could be the native platforms or the operating systems such as the symbian, Linux or the windows mobile. Another type of the mobile applications would be those falling in the category of the mobile web browser runtimes such as the webkit, Opera Mini, Firefox, or the RIM. The third category of the mobile apps is the other managed platforms which can be described as the virtual machines such as the BREW, Java, J2ME, (Java ME, Java FX) flash lite or the silverlite.
According to a report, there were about 1.5 billion estimated mobile phones in the world of 2004 which was more than three times of the number of the computers or the laptops and moreover it was said that the processing power of the some of the most sophisticated mobiles is similar to the computers of the mid 1990s. (Attewal, 2004) The different technologies that lead to the development of the mobile apps include the various types of the cellular communication technologies. In the modern era, the mobile phones cannot be just recognized as the simple two ways pager for its being as the cellular phone, but it consists of the several of the features and the functions with the added modules of the GPS navigation system, embedded web browser, the hand held video games, the instant messenger client and much more. Moreover, many of the technical experts believe that the future of the computer technologies lies in the wireless or the mobile computing. The growing pace of the mobile technologies is heading towards the 4G technology in the near future where the domination of the high speed packet transmission and the burst of the traffic in the channels are expected to occur. The operating systems which provides the platform for the mobile apps includes its vast range of the Symbian, Android, Blackberry, Apple iOS, Windows mobile, Web OS, Bada OS. Among the most promising operating system for the future includes the Android which is developed by the google and is the first open source mobile OS. Almost all these platforms provide the facility of the third party application installations. The Symbian models are among the largest market share holders in the markets of the OS. The hardware of the mobile consists of the variety of the components like the Bluetooth module, GPS module, GSM, CDMA or the iD EN standards, digital cameras, etc.
ADVANTAGES OF INCORPORATING MOBILE APPS IN BUSSINESS PROCESSES
The latest developments in the mobile applications' field and the capabilities that have been achieved so far clearly shows how beneficial and advantageous the specific mobile applications can be for the future of the business processes of the different type of organization. (Enabling Mobile Business Applications) The requirements growing today in the business process changes and the driving of the advancements in the IT sectors are like need to become more and more responsive in the lesser time, the efficiency of the staff or the overall human resources are required to be optimized, and to shorten the time required by a cycle of the task to get finished and/ or completed. (The Mobile Application Platform) Some other drivers of the growing pace of the industry specific mobile applications and its variety of adoption on the large or the small scales includes the reasons like the evolution of the technology which is promising enough to provide the alternatives to the existing technologies, development of the platforms such as the RIM or the research in motion which enables the extensions of the already developed and the well implemented enterprise applications to the mobile forms for the mobile employees which includes the features of security, etc. (Burden, 2005) The different surveys done in this growing field indicates how the productivity and the performance of the mobile app strategies are taking more and more importance and the momentum gain in the corporate and the business firms. (Survey) The highlighting advantages of using of the mobile applications in an organizational business purpose with the key benefits to the organization is listed below: (Mobile apps for Learning, 2010)
Some of the specifically designed applications help to improve the communication among the employees of the organization.
The collaborations among the different team members and even the collaboration of the different teams in the organization are also improved.
The certain mobile applications may help to the rapid delivery of the actionable information to the point of the decision.
The mobile applications may also play an important role in increasing the customer's intimacy.
The costs related to the various aspects can be reduced by the smart and the efficient use of the mobile applications. Like, for the purpose of general communication and the dissemination of the information to the employees of the organization, the organization can have the application that is connected to its server and will automatically update the information on the application meant for this purpose and installed on the mobile phones of each and every employee.
The organization's competitive edge may also be improved through the use of several of the latest advancements in the mobile applications. (Survey)
It can cut costs from the variables like the increased sales force efficiency, information collection costs, etc.
The mobile application can eliminate a number of the communication and the transcription delays in the organization up to a large extent and also improve the information quality (Mobile Application Services).
It would also be improving the effectiveness, efficiency and the increased revenue from the enhanced customer services and up selling through the employees.
It would also assist the employees to explore the new ways to harness the new revenue streams (Mobile Application Services) .
The information can be encrypted by the use of the mobile application for the security of the confidential and the essential data of the organization.
It could provide a number of facilities and features like the data analysis when the employees are on the mobile and the remote sites, instant email check facility, mobile internet access through the GPRS, and even the video conference using the different mobile apps.
CHALLENGES IN USING THE MOBILE APPS FOR THE ORGANIZATIONS
Besides the several of the benefits of using the mobile applications, there are certain limitations associated with it too. There are certain issues in general with these applications that cause difficulty in the organizations in implementing it. (Challenges for mobile applications) The Key challenges faced by the organizations when using the mobile applications in to their day to day activities are described below:
There are a huge number of the different kinds and the variety of the mobile phones or the other handheld devices available in the market and it is a big challenge for the organizations to work with a certain application which is supported by the handsets or the devices of all the targeted employees. (Special challenges for mobile application development) Some would be supporting the Java ME apps, some would be Android apps, while some only the SIM application Toolkits available. The initial interoperability of the apps in the different devices has to be managed by the application developer which is the major challenge to build a mobile app for the organizations. (Get IT done) The applications having the core features like the SMS or the access to some web portal can be easily achieved but for the applications that is designed and developed in such a way that is incompatible with the other environment than the environment for which it is designed creates the trouble.
Another challenge is the security issue with the mobile apps. The mobile application designed for the exchange of the information or the data is generally needed to be secured in its transaction so that it may not fall in the undesirable hands. The mobile apps uses the various techniques based on the wireless tools to carry such information which may be highly unsecured for the movement of the confidential or the essential data which is one of such issues that are needed to be primarily addressed. Some of the aspects of this issue are physical security of the device from being lost or thieved, authentication of the device with the User ID/ Password of the employees, encryption of the data being transacted over the air, encryption of the data which is under the storage and the security of any thick client application (Business Chalenges in Mobile Application Development).
The scalability and the reliability are another problem and the challenge for using the mobile apps. With the mobile apps, the employees may be sitting in any part of the world and hence the organization has to assure that the systems are up and running in a 24X7 fashion. The reliability of the systems has also to be managed and kept well up to date by the organization which needs another set of employees to manage these kinds of affairs.
The distribution of the application is also sometimes a problem for the organization. The initial distribution may not always be the problem but there could be a number of issues related to the upgrade and/or the update and synchronization of the different components of the app.
Sometimes the employees don't understand the working of the apps which are complex in its operability and thus sometimes the additional training or the demonstration is required for the employees.
DOCUMENTS TO GO- MOBILE APP WIDELY USED FOR BUSINESS PURPOSES
The Documents To Go is one of the all in one mobile application which supports the widely used applications like the Microsoft Office, PDF, Apple iWork, and many other files. (Top mobile apps for business users) This provides a number of features to the mobile users for example somebody emails the user a power point presentation, the user can view it and edit the file on his/ her mobile app only. The user would be very comfortable to prepare such presentation while he/ she are on the travel and even use it when the printed copy of the application is forgotten. This application works with a variety of the platforms like the Palm OS, Windows mobile, Black Berry, Symbian OS, Android (Documents to go 3.0) , iOS, etc. (Documents To Go) There are several tools available for the synchronization of the documents between the handheld device and the desktop computers. Some of the most useful feature of the Documents To Go mobile application is described below:
The version of the application for the Palm OS has both a handheld tool as well as the desktop tool. (Documents to go premium)
The tool can open the files like that of MS Office from the expansion cards as well as in its own compressed format from the expansion cards or the main memory of the handheld device.
It provides a number of features such as the editing of the files, which includes the formatting of the text fonts, color, size, as well as the style of the contents and has many such features which are common to any of the office suite software.
It can even be used to open and create the charts, tables, graphs based on the supplied data and the desired functions.
The Slideshow To Go can be used to open up the Power point files as well as the slideshows in its own format. However, the features like the animations and the sounds are not supported by it.
The desktop tool that comes with this application has the ability to automatically compare the desktop version of the file and the handheld version of the file and automatically apply the required changes and the adjustments to the compatibility issues.
This application is highly beneficial for its common purposes to a wide range of the employees in the different organizations which is evident from the variety of the features it provides. The application being available for a variety of platforms and thus resolves the compatibility issue and can be used over almost each and every of the handheld devices.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
The mobile apps can play a vital role in enhancing the business of the organizations. It provides the additional technological advancements to the existing framework which can make the work easier, more reliable and more efficient by providing some of the most powerful tools and techniques in the mobile handheld devices. The benefits are at both the ends whether it be the organization or its employees. The work could be made much more flexible than before with the of the high-tech like the latest mobile apps and also the future potential and the applicability which these mobile applications possesses. On the basis of the research I would like to recommend the following points:
The applicability and the potential of the mobile applications should be deployed by the organizations who seek the key benefits from the latest trends in the technology for the improvement in their productivity and effectiveness.
Certain mobile applications for the day to day use may be used by the employees on the basis of their personal perception and individual factors if it cannot be implemented at the organizational level.
The customized applications may also be purchased from the developers of the different mobile apps for the specific purposes of the different organizations.
The report was prepared after the in depth study of the various secondary and the tertiary sources of the data that was taken from the several of the websites, articles, journals, blogs, etc. Some of the highlighting sources of the data are listed below:
Association, M. m. (2008). Mobile Applications.: This report is taken from the site www.mmaglobal .com and the material reveals out the several basic concepts of the mobile application besides its main focus on the mobile advertisement. The key concepts, mobile application categories, mobile applications overview, etc are taken from this report.
Attewal, J. (2004). Mobile Technologies and learning. : This report is published by the Learning Skills and the Skills Development Agency and the report was retrieved from the website http://www.m-learning.org/ . From this report, the major updates to the different technologies related to the mobile applications are taken.
Burden, K. (2005). Business Benifits of the Industry specific mobile applications. : This is a whitepaper report sponsored by the Research in Motion Limited and authored by Kevin Burden in October, 2005. This whitepaper was taken to reference up the basic definitions and the key benefits of the mobile applications in the business processes.
Documents To Go. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2011, from Data Viz: This data is available on the website http://www.dataviz.com/products/documentstogo/index.html who are the real owner of this application. The details of the application along with its benefits and the applicability in the organization was taken from this resource.
Mobile Application Services. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2011, from HP Enterprise Services: This data was taken from the web page http://h10134.www1.hp.com/services/mobileapps/ which was used to understand the several of the advantages of the mobile apps in the small and the large enterprises.
The list of the references is listed below