The Star Tribune recently published this story about how Jay Coughlan transformed his business from a hardware company to a mobile app company.
I met Jay at the 2013 MobCon Dinner Party in Minneapolis and we had plenty to talk about. As an early adopter of mobile technology, I was trying to push mobile application development in 2001 before it was fashionable. I fully invested in mobile technology as soon as I felt the spark of inspiration. When Jay got into the game, he also felt the spark and fully invested in a mobile business model.
“We moved all of our chips onto the table on mobile.”
~ Jay Coughlan
I’ve had countless conversations with business owners and decision makers about how mobile has, can, or will affect their business model. It is rare to find someone who not only possesses the intuition to spot an opportunity but also the conviction to go for it, as Jay did:
“Jay listened really intently to the competitive landscape. He realized very quickly that this was going to be their new business.”
~ Björn Stansvik
How successful was his company’s transformation?
Xata used to be primarily a hardware company that installed a communications dome on top of a truck’s cab and then tore apart the dashboard for a four-hour installation of a fixed-panel display and keyboard.
Now, with its mobile technology, it takes about 10 minutes to connect its XRS relay device and sync it with a wide variety of Android and Windows Mobile smartphones, rugged handheld devices and tablet computers that will automatically transmit vehicle and operator data directly to a management dashboard in the cloud.
When the topic of mobile apps comes up, people often associate success with Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, or another blockbuster game. Apps like these are a stroke of brilliance, like a great painting or a novel or maybe a stroke of luck, like winning the lottery. There is no doubt those apps are successful, but attaining that success is akin to catching lightning in a bottle. That isn’t what mobile strategy is about.
Mobile strategy is about business transformation.
It’s about uncovering opportunity. The opportunity to improve a business while overcoming challenges, to learn as you go, push the envelope in a developing mobile landscape.
It’s about imagination. How can mobile technology facilitate innovation for customers, executives, field workers, end users, and consumers? How can mobile technology, business innovation, and user experience be rendered in a beautiful application?
The mobile applications that successfully answer these questions rarely show up in top 10 lists or break sales records. But those apps are the work horses of business transformation. They lower costs, increase efficiency, or provide additional value to end users. They improve your business. That’s what we do: Imagine, Design, Deliver.