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Exploiting the unique capabilities of Apps

written by Editor, 22 September 2015

Guest blog by, David Pearson, Senior Development Manager – Practice & Workflow

mobile applications

Apps should be designed to make the most of what mobile devices have to offer. At their best they don’t just repeat what their partner applications do; they take advantage of the connectivity, geolocation and photographic capabilities of our mobile phones and tablets to extend and simplify the functionality we need day-to-day.

Take Digita’s Practice Mobile app; you’d probably guess that it utilises the connectivity of mobile devices to give you any-time access to crucial client information and history, billing and WIP data and allows you to see the progress of projects and task status. You can also see the availability of colleagues back in the office and by viewing the active timers you’ll even know what they’re working on! Another benefit is that you’ll also get that crucial visibility on your phone messages and notifications so you’re never out of the loop.

mobile applications

It uses built in geolocation to help you record mileage; let the odometer track where you’ve travelled or calculate a route using mapping services – you’re only a few taps away from submitting the trip as an expense entry tagged to a specific job and client. The built-in camera easily allows you to capture images of receipts and to access your photo library for attachment to expense items. Once you know where you’re heading, use complementary apps to give you turn by turn directions.

And not forgetting that your mobile device is probably a phone so you get dialess calling from contact screens and the ability to share those contact details via message. Tracking time (using built-in timers) is straightforward and convenient since you almost always have your phone with you and you don’t need to wait until you’re in the office to submit them.

The capabilities of apps are continually being developed and refined to interact with other cloud offerings (such as Google Drive and Dropbox) and to further exploit a devices capabilities. Digita’s cloud document management app turns the camera into a clever multipage scanner; automatically cropping, skewing and sizing documents for fast storage and exchange with your clients. Improving the interaction with your clients through mobile apps and portals shouldn’t be underestimated as a means to provide a 24hr presence and access to shared locations. Being able to brand the apps that allow them to do this to look like your firm could be a key differentiator for your practice.

So, if the apps you use are simply repeating what their fully fledged bigger brother is doing without exploiting the capabilities of your mobile device, they might not be providing all the value that they could be.

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