App hysteria & corporate development

Anders Granfeldt works as a management consultant at HiQ, helping companies with strategic development and business. This article is taken from our publication ”App app app app app”.

One of the most common questions in the past year has been, “How do you earn money from apps?” “What does the ’business case’ look like?” As if there was only one.

Really the question is impossible to answer, and from my perspective it’s irrelevant. What is interesting is to first answer the company’s fundamental questions about why, how, what, where, who for and what for – and what business aim is to be achieved. If the solution then turns out to be a blackboard or a pot holder with a barcode on, that’s just as relevant to me as any new technology.

Putting the company before the app

The question isn’t how you earn money on apps but what you as a company have to gain from an app. And which of them best supports your business goals. Ultimately it all comes down to corporate development in a new context. The problem is that those of us in the digital media landscape seem to forget to think in terms of corporate development and business objectives. Instead lots of people are swept up in the hype – because “everyone else is doing it”.

In the past twenty years we’ve seen several bewildering development journeys, partly driven by increased globalisation and partly by technical and digital development. But still a plus is always a plus and a minus is always a minus. Running a company is basically about accumulating more pluses than minuses. It doesn’t matter whether you call it “the new economy” or “the free economy”. There is still nothing that is fundamentally new and nothing that is free. And that goes for internet presence as well. It is still about people working with other people to find other people who appreciate the company’s existence and its products or services.

In the digital era, I see many companies spending a ridiculously small amount of time challenging and developing the company’s business model and organisa- tion. Companies are far too focused on their products and services. Constantly evaluating, challenging and developing the business model is just as important and necessary today as developing the product. The companies that will win out in their sector in the future are working just as much on developing new business models and new business spa- ces, as they are on developing new products and services. However that requires a completely new way of working, and new ideas, and that affects the whole company.

Pick and choose

Today’s, and tomorrow’s, presence on “the net” is increasingly merging with our day-to-day habits and activities. The digital channels are melting together and working seamlessly with each other. And the choices we make as companies in communicating, marketing and selling our message and products are becoming hugely more complex.

Here it is essential to be able to pick and choose according to a plan which supports the overall objectives of the business – whether you are looking at an app or anything else.