The Future of Business to Business for Mobile App Developers

“No single competency is enabling us to elevate the Starbucks brand more than our global leadership I mobile, digital, and loyalty. Starbucks is a clear leader in mobile payments and we are encouraged by how consumers have embraced mobile apps as a way to pay.” – Howard Schultz, 2013

Starbucks generated over $1 billion via mobile payments in 2013. Keep this in mind.

Whether you have a large team, a small team or engaging as a solo developer the option is always there for you to approach other businesses to see what you could do for them. That may sound intimidating if you have not done that before, but the worst anyone can say is “No”. This is not something restricted to mobile app development, suffice that many developers are not generating as much revenue as they would like by developing directly for the consumer market.

Back in the 1990’s, working for Continental Cablevision’s subsidiary distributing Primestar Satellite TV (DirecTV’s #1 competitor then), it seemed odd that they did not have a web site. They got one though, simply because someone asked why they didn’t have one and provided them a prototype of what their web site might look like. That helped launch a new career and a business, influencing also the career paths of several of the managers who supported the proposal.

The idea for mobile app developers is to try to identify opportunities that:

  1. enhance what a business is already doing,
  2. fill “gaps” in what a business should be doing but is not,
  3. apply what other businesses are successfully doing to those who are not doing it,
  4. simplify or solve problems that have a significant impact on a business.

The Macro Picture aims to enable, “Everyone in the world being connected via devices and other things so that they can communicate and do business with anyone, anywhere, anytime.” The race is on to be able to do that.  Companies unable to adjust to this paradigm will likely either go out of business or be acquired by others applying to it. We can reasonably guess that at some point, almost all global purchases will be processed digitally.

From concerns about taxes and untaxed “shadow economies”, money laundering, financial support of terrorism, currency counterfeiting, to simply making it easier to do business, this is in the future. It may be years away yet, but active efforts are moving in this direction, (with Sweden being a prime example)

The future is already here; it is just not evenly distributed.
– William Ford Gibson (See MobilePaymentsToday.com)

That’s a bird’s eye view to provide you ample ideas to play with.

By knowing where everything is going it becomes significantly easier to “reverse engineer” all of things that will get us there. That is to say, for example with languages – the idea is that eventually the entire sum of all human knowledge that is in print will be available to everyone in every language. To some extent, that already exists now, insomuch as things like Google Translate and other translation software can provide a fairly decent gist of content.

For years, I had questions about who was going to pay for all those translators, but the solution is far simpler and exponentially more economical. Back in 1993, it was one of my goals to see something like the works of Baron Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall translated into English. One of his works was written in seven languages – Latin, Hebraic, Greek, Aramaic, German, French and one entire paragraph in English. Conventionally, that would be difficult to translate, cost a lot, and there’d be all of maybe 200-300 people in the world who would even be interested in it. Today, the means of doing so is almost free – provided one could get hold of either one of the seven remaining copies or a microfiche copy of it.

These may seem like digressions, but cover some very simple problems to some very complex ones, all of which are par for the course for small businesses. There are millions of small businesses out there, not to mention plenty of big businesses, too.

Every creation does not need to be unique, suffice that you can create your own apps or coordinate with other developers to adapt apps as needed to fit almost any need.

Fundamentally, it is you – the mobile app developer who is best able to help the world’s businesses get to where we are going. Whether or not we “really want to get there” is a totally different question, but the race is on.

Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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