Saturday, 22 January 2011

Is your IT department dragging its heels over mobile apps and websites? Here’s how to get things moving…

I ask the question because, from feedback I’ve been getting this week from a total of 20 communications professionals who would like to develop mobile websites for their organisations, IT departments are being highly obstructive.

I’ve been running training courses on how non-programmers can now create mobile versions of their static websites – a mix of web and native apps that quickly put mobile-appropriate content into a form that the users of web-enabled phones can access.

I show delegates now to do it without any knowledge of programming, and only a lay understanding of web design and site architecture.

All the delegates spoke of an explosion in smartphone ownership among their customers. One had figures: 27 to 28 per cent of those who used his organisation’s online services have smart phones, and it was projected that 35-40 per cent would have them in a year.

And yet, when he and the others on the course had sought to engage with their IT departments on getting mobile-optimised sites or apps up and running, they were met with, at best, indifference and, at worst, hostility.

Why is this?

I suspect it’s because IT departments, perhaps with good reason, see themselves as the guardians of online provision, particularly in big organisations and those that are ripe targets for spammers and hackers.

Yet the web has moved on. It is now possible for the non-programmer to create all sorts of highly professional web presences, including those for mobile devices. And they don’t need to be hosted on your servers.

Such sites can be created either for free or for a minimal cost.

And yet when my delegates asked about the costs of developing mobile, either from their IT departments or from external developers, the prices quoted were ridiculously high.

It seems that developers seek to charge as much for creating a mobile apps they would for an extensive static website.

That can’t be right.

How can they expect to charge from £2-3,000, and sometimes much more, for a simple web or native app when you or I can create one either for nothing or, for an iPhone and Android app made available in the iTunes store and Android market, no more than £400?

From the feedback I got this week, I’d say that IT departments and web developers ought to get up to speed on all this.

Otherwise, as I’ve seen from the take-up of the courses I ran this week, their customer-facing colleagues will take the ball and run with it.

If you’d like to know more about creating your own apps and mobile websites, please go to and use the Contact options you’ll find there.

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