Web apps are all the rage right now. And for good reason. They’re able to help your business organize itself and streamline its operations. And, as a result, it’s a technology that’s worth potentially millions. But what, exactly, are web apps?
They’re basically programs that work inside a user’s browser. It doesn’t sound like a big change. But programs held on an external server and accessed through a browser are potentially game changing. For small businesses, they are particularly alluring, not least because they are automatically updated.
All of this means that web apps are big business for companies up and down the value chain. And they’re changing the way that businesses do things in almost every way imaginable. Here’s what they can do today and why everybody is talking about them.
They Facilitate Content Management
A few years ago now, businesses realized that they needed more than half a dozen pages on their website. If they were going to attract customers, they had to produce new content at a regular clip.
That meant uploading blog posts, videos, reports, and charts. And after a while, it all started to get out of control. It was hard to manage all that content and to know what was old and what was new. But it was essential to produce it to keep customers interested and coming back.
For a while, companies struggled to manage their content. But soon content management systems arrived. The name belies the simplicity of the software. These were essentially web apps that allowed anybody to update the content on their site easily. No longer did you need to be a web developer to make modifications.
They Help Manage Customer Relations
There is a lot of focus on web app development in the field of customer relationship management. Right now, having your own in-house CRM tools is expensive. And because they are in-house, they’re difficult to update.
Web app CRM is much friendlier to businesses. And it allows them to track customer information, payments, and referrals more quickly. Custom CRM tools can often be layered on top of existing web app based solutions. This helps to lower the cost of implementing new procedures and keeping track of clients.
They Can Be Used To Automate Business Processes
All businesses have processes they need to go through in order to register new customers. But often these processes are not streamlined and require lots of labor. Customers are processed in many companies using all sorts of different methods. Calendars, emails, phone calls and paper forms all become part of the procedure.
Of course, because it’s so complicated, firms make mistakes and customer experience suffers. And that is what has led more companies to use web apps. Web apps can integrate and automate business processes. They have all the resources required to make new customer registration a self-contained process.
For instance, a web app could have all the forms required, as well as integration with an employee’s calendar. Thus web apps have the ability to bridge the gap between different tools and get them talking.
They Enable Web Portals
Web apps are also super helpful for companies who are in the business of providing access to vast troves of data. Many companies offer data to customers. And so they need some type of app that allows customers to access their data. Web apps can be used as customer-facing portals, allowing content access only to authorized clients.
Web apps can also be company-facing. For instance, they could be used as a gate through which employees can access training material. They can also be used as a platform through which coaches and staff can communicate. Over a portal web app, coaches can set work for employees, and employees can deliver their solutions. The process is streamlined and businesses benefit.
They Can Help Your Office Get Rid Of Paper
Another useful application of web apps is through the so-called “paperless office.” Right now many offices are trying to get rid of paper. It’s expensive, and software offers a better solution.
Many businesses find themselves buried under a mountain of paperwork. Paperwork is produced as part of their primary business activities. And then that paperwork has to be read, edited, stored and transferred between employees.
It’s all a massive hassle when the paperwork is physical. But when it’s digital and controlled through a web app, a lot of the difficulties just vanish. Because web apps are cloud-based, any document can instantly be transferred between parties for review. And that means that offices are becoming less about pushing paper and more about getting rid of it.
They Allow You To Have An Online Store
Right now, the service sector economy is booming. There are millions of businesses doing everything from accounting to web design. But here’s the thing: until now it’s been hard for them to sell products alongside their services. Before web apps, a tutoring agency would have found it hard to sell its own educational resources. But with web apps, this is trivial.
Web apps can easily be incorporated into service provider’s websites. And with these apps, companies can start generating additional revenue streams. As you can probably imagine, most of the development for these apps has already been done. And that means that even custom versions tend to come cheap.
They Allow Your Business To Have A Membership Site
The final reason why we’re all now so obsessed with web apps is their utility for knowledge businesses. One of the interesting trends of the last few years is the shift in the economy towards knowledge-based industries. Knowledge is fast becoming a commodity in its own right. And providing access to that knowledge is a very lucrative business indeed.
One way that companies can leverage web apps is to use them for membership websites. Here companies charge a fee for access to information. And then they layer a web app on top of their site to facilitate this access. Again, it’s a great way of generating revenue to supplement business income.