“A lot of corporates are latching on to the fact that people are really and sincerely looking for solutions on their mobile device. In 2013, we saw lots of banking apps come to the fore, people having really good functionality on their apps,” Cerebra head of online reputation management and insights Keenan Harduth told CNBC Africa.
“FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank all have apps that have great features and while they’re not 100 per cent perfect, I think they are getting there. With things like the success of M-PESA, which is fantastic, we really are looking for mobile solutions in terms of payments. That will be a key focus moving forward into 2014.”
Innovation however needs to correspond with the specific needs of a specific country or its people, especially within the African continent. This can be a challenge as well as an opportunity to create a unique mobile application, or app.
“There’s some great apps and innovations coming out in Africa particularly around mobile. I just think we don’t do enough of a good PR job for ourselves and for the rest of Africa. There aren’t that many that come to mind just because I don’t know about them, but there are some great devices, greater hardware being developed in Africa. When it comes to mobile banking apps, it’s very much what works for us,” Harduth explained.
Successful business-related apps can significantly boost a company’s online presence and reputation as clients and consumers can interact with the business on an additional level.
“Whether it’s a marketing strategy or an app innovation, it has to work to get that sentiment online. What banks have done really well is they’re all involved in social media quite heavily. They use the feedback on social media to update the app, to be aware of problems,” Harduth explained.
“A lot of the time it seems that they’re only really aware of the problems once it reaches critical talking point on Twitter or Facebook. I think it’s great that they’re looking towards social media to develop those insights and make their apps better and more usable.”