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Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing, Chris is the cofounder of Successful Workplace. He believes there’s no end to what we can change and improve. Chris is a marketing executive and flew for the US Navy before finding a home in technology 17 years ago. An avid outdoorsman, Chris is also passionate about technology and innovation and speaks frequently about creating great business outcomes at industry events. As well as being a contributor for The TIBCO Blog, Chris contributes to the Harvard Business Review, Venture Beat, Forbes, and the PEX Network. Christopher is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 305 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

WhatsApp shows the future of apps and mobile

02.25.2014
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Is your company still developing business applications primarily for the big screen? If you’re doing it for more than just a few people in specific roles, you’re probably missing the bigger picture of where the world is going. Facebook’s Zuckerberg said they paid $16B for the WhatsApp mobile messaging platform for more than its 450 million monthly users (who mostly access the app daily) because they see the value of a mobile growth platform that can be expected to have 1 billion users soon. But it’s more than that — they plan to operate WhatsApp as a standalone app, a decision driven by the knowledge that the mobile world is not a monolithic one.

The mobile world is a sliced-up, purpose-built collection of as many apps as the user wants to use to do their business or have their fun. 

A purpose-built world

Think about the maturity of the Internet for a moment. When we first computerized commercially in the 70′s and 80′s, we did moved whole departments online all at one time. Accounting went first, and then we brought in HR and the rest. We didn’t know any other way. Then we went online in the mid-90′s, but our heads could only understand and the technology could only support one-way web pages. Even as we developed two-way applications for the web, we were only pushing those 70′s and 80′s systems online, still as monolithic applications with all of their functionality intact.

Then the 2000′s came and we’ve been smashing through technology and mindset barriers, led by the concept of small, purpose-built applications that run extremely well on bandwidth and storage-limited mobile devices. WhatApp was brilliant because it took expensive, carrier-owned functionality — texting — and turned it into another small, purpose-built way to communicate. This is the market Skype could have owned if they had moved their model to mobile much faster.

Apps matter more than applications

We’re in a world where the app has more value than the application for the end user. Think about what that means for development — rather than spending a fortune and months or years developing user screens and workflows, the value today is in getting the data figured out and then slicing it as many ways as necessary to give value to the users through apps. Remember that users don’t care about HTML5 or any technology that sits in the back end…they want something easy to view, press and swipe. They want their functionality served up in a way that’s very easy to consume.

Apps are about attributes, not about a powerful, all-knowing application (which can only scare us when it comes to privacy or complexity).

Published at DZone with permission of Christopher Taylor, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)