The App that crosses multiple devices and multiple generations
In late 2012 and early 2013 a debate was taking place in our boardroom between father (David Oliver, founder of Insight Marketing – above right) and son (Joel Oliver, MD of Insight Marketing – left).
The issue was all about Apps! In the older corner the feeling was that Apps were a complete distraction to the core business; a red herring; a fad that would die out before it even started. In his opinion, not only would it be a waste of time, but a foolish project to consider.
In stark contrast, from the opposite corner, came the passionate belief that Apps would become a key tool that would enable professional service firms to differentiate themselves and engage clients. The vision was that Apps would form a key ingredient for professional service companies of the future; the critical interface between firms, their clients and their systems.
At the time, the discussion reached an impasse but even without complete unity the App project moved forward. It launched late in 2013 with gentle take up and a mixed response. Early App adopters and innovators immediately ‘got it’ while others put up stout resistance.
2014: The year it all changed
2014 brought a change on a global level. The App quickly gained momentum, with tens of thousands of end users providing feedback. Unlike one or two other App providers in our field, we made the decision early on to keep innovating. To the initial basic App, we added mileage tracker, receipt management, income tracker, more calculators, push notifications and integrated marketing. Those who were sceptical early on started coming back and having another look. Even the ICAEW who originally said Apps wouldn’t take off for accountants have now accredited the My Firms App solution. As App use outstripped desktop and Google searches, change continued at a blistering rate.
2014 ended with over 40,000 end users and the App being approved, accredited or promoted by almost every single professional body and network. What’s more, enquiries came in from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and other places around the world.
A tool that can cross generations
So back to the title of this blog… As father, son and grandson sat together, we realised just how tactile and powerful the technology is. Jacob, aged 8, is often used to test our Apps in beta testing mode. He has an amazing ability to make smartphones and tablets do things most of us cannot. His non-commercial take on the Apps and their functionality has led to scores of improvements, ultimately making the Apps even more user-friendly. Explain accountancy, financial services or the legal market to an 8 year old and you’ll be met with a bored sigh. But hand them an App and ask them to play with it and you will be met with a completely different response!
The future of the App
As the professional service marketplace continues to face significant change, Apps will become the mainstay of modern business: They will become the hub through which everything connects; a communication centre; a tool packed with great features and data all managed for you.
What’s more, as the tax system changes and becomes more automated, as more information is gathered online and the annual tax return is phased out, there’s little doubt that more and more will be done via Apps. Firms that have the vision to capitalise on this now and start developing their own App user base will benefit massively in the short term while positioning themselves perfectly for the future.