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Apps Growing in Popularity and Importance

iStock 000017233306XSmallA new survey by Pew Research Center found that fully half of adult cell phone owners had apps on their phones. Add that to recent research from Nielsen that found that 62 percent of cell phone owners between 25 and 34 own smart phones and you're starting to see that if you're not in the app game, you might be missing a great opportunity for your organization to connect to a wide range of desirable users.

The Nielsen survey found that while the percentage of smart phones went down the older the demographic, it was still significant with the 35-44 range at around 54 percent and the the 45-54 range at 39 percent.

While the Pew study found only 10 percent of adults owned tablets, 75 percent of those people who do, downloaded apps. I'm wondering what the heck the other 25 percent are doing. Both these numbers seem a little light to me, but whatever the actual percentages, it's clear that apps are gaining in significance and this is only likely to increase over time.

As a company, you need to look at this as a way to reach employees and how they live and work. It's clear that consumerization has reached new levels when FierceMobileIT reports that IBM has announced it is encouraging employees to bring in their own smart phones and tablets to work and they expect more than 100,000 employees will be doing just that by the end of this year.

And it's not just employees, it's a new way to reach customers too on the go, wherever they are in real time. As companies look for new ways to communicate with audiences, especially the younger age ranges, it's increasingly apparent that younger people are ignoring traditional communication through print and TV advertising. Even the PC, it would seem is beginning to take a back seat to mobile devices.

All of this shows the way we compute and consume media is shifting quickly and companies need to be changing with it. The problem is that most IT shops move much more slowly than outside trends suggest. That means that you might lack the expertise in-house to develop apps across devices and operating systems.

When you see an opportunity like this one to find new ways to attract younger workers to your company and to find new ways to interact with your customers, you should embrace it and not wait for the competitive landscape to shift under your feet.

Don't be afraid to to seek help from an outside source to help you make that transition to a new way of doing things. As these research firms have clearly shown, apps are gaining in popularity and your company needs to start developing them to keep up with this trend or risk getting left in the dust.
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