The Great Phone App Debate – How to find your way through the app jungle

Guest posted by Tom Mallet.

Summary:  Deals with the issues related to phone apps and business phone system needs.

It didn’t take too long for the “apps for everything” bubble to burst. Let’s face one basic fact- Apps must be useful to have any value at all. The truth is that a lot of apps are fossils in terms of their functions. Some are no better than third rate organizers and pseudo-spreadsheets. There’s a less amusing aspect to the apps racket, however. Some are utterly useless on modern telephone systems. They’re not just pitiful; they’re dangerously inefficient and they’re not necessarily secure.

Apps problems for business communications aren’t exactly unknown. There are some good apps, mainly designed for popular phone brands and configurations. There are others which have had Google and Apple users writing outright condemnations as reviews.

The early apps, on which a lot of the current crop of dismal Brand X business apps are based, were designed to work with the phones of their times. These apps were intended to work with early iPhones, Nokias and were pre-Android and pre Netbook/ iPad technology. These days, they’re antiques.

The problems go beyond drab designs and unimaginative or insular ideas for useful phone apps. Apps that can’t work directly with modern information systems are real third wheels. File sharing systems, for example, which are now a business staple, need to be able to work across a wide band of users with different technologies. Some apps can’t do that. For a core business function which is supposed to be a solution to email file size limits, that’s not exactly great functionality.

Apps and business phone systems – What to look for

The app jungle can be navigated, despite the appearance of the huge numbers of apps available online. Modern business phone systems are designed to manage calls, data and multiple types of software. Even credit card transactions can be processed directly through these phones. These are the core business parameters you can use to assess any app.

With that in mind, now have a look at the apps on the Google and Apple apps pages.

There are specific criteria you can apply:

•Functionality related to your own business needs- Literally, is this a function which has direct practical value to your business?
•Direct references to your business systems- The best apps are tailored to work with systems like MYOB and similar mainstream business platforms. To work with these platforms, they have to be well developed apps with good software.
•Specifications related to data management- App specifications vary considerably. The professionally developed, best quality apps read like computer specifications. The worst tell you what great apps they are.
•A “test drive” working with your own phone and information systems- The rule is “no test drive, not interested”. You need to see that the app works.
•Reviews, good or bad. Some reviews are very thorough. They deal with the app in situations which may be relevant to your needs.
•Originality of the app idea: Innovative, ground-breaking apps tend to be developed by their original sources. They’re usually good and well tested.

The bottom line for businesses is that you need to see value. Buy your apps the way you’d buy administration software, and you won’t get lost in the apps jungle.

Author Bio: Tom Mallet is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including telephone systems and business phone systems.