This Web approach works well with APIs and doesn't require manufacturer approval of the content or the app. The user simply creates a bookmark to your smartphone Web page and the content does the rest. The jQTouch framework, for instance, lets you specify an icon that will appear on the user's phone just like an app from the app store. People who use their phone to visit your Web page can store the bookmark with this icon on their front page. It's another channel for distributing apps.
This approach will reward some businesses more than others. If your workers are on the go, then easy access to the company's Website from a smartphone will be popular. The key is to identify the data and transactions that matter most to these workers or to knowledge workers who frequently work away from their desks. Small-screen UI design is tricky, so it makes little sense to offer much beyond the most essential options.
In many cases, the IT department may not know what transactions are the best targets for the company's users. It may be valuable to confer with the sales force and business development team to help establish a game plan for exposing the appropriate data and services to users once you get your smartphone-friendly prototype in place.
Check out low-risk IT experiment No. 4: Geocoding
Low-risk IT experiment No. 4: Geocoding Every IT department has a database filled with tables, and every table could easily carry two extra columns. Latitude and longitude data are becoming increasingly easier to gather these days, thanks to smartphones and browsers that report users' locations. Why not use this information to enrich your company's data store by adding two columns to your most important tables?
Adding geographic data can be surprisingly useful for illuminating trends. Are more of your customers on the East Coast or the West Coast? Are there clusters? A quick glance at any of the maps that can be constructed as a result of this simple data gathering can often reveal more insight than a room full of statisticians.
Consider these maps just the beginning, as location information can help you recognize how clients, requests, contracts, and other revenue opportunities are clustered -- data that can then be mined for relevance. Did a marketing campaign in one region pay off? Is one sales team succeeding? Is one advertising deal worth renewing? Many of these answers can be found by analyzing geographic information, which prior to geocoding was considerably more labor-intensive.