Evaluating Grapple Mobile Technology Assessment

Introduction

Grapple Mobile Technology is a full service solution and mobile application developer based in London, New York and Toronto. The privately funded company is a Red Herring top winner. Grapple’s main services include the building of applications for multiple devices and distributing these apps to leading app stores (Grapple Apps 2011).

This paper aims at evaluating the company’s performance in terms of services offered, organizational chart and functionalities, information dissemination system, boundary spanning activities, challenges encountered and managing information.

Services Offered and Competitors

Grapple Mobile Technology’s main services include building and designing apps for mobile devices, distribute these apps to leading apps stores; these steps take days rather than weeks. Grapple has a unique award-winning technology that enables cross platform strategy to deliver the highest quality in building an app.

The company constructed the Grapple Technology which is a patented development environment for the building native mobile phone applications with standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

“Using a hybrid compiler and virtualisation technology, applications can be written once and run on multiple mobile platforms including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian” (Grapple Apps 2011).

Grapple’s main competitors in the App Development industry include Golden Gekko, Masabi, Always on Message and Yuza Mobile. Aside from developing mobile apps, Golden Gekko also provides mobile application development alternatives such as bespoke development, products for customisation and branding of mobile app studio which allows clients to create their own mobile app. (Golden Gekko About Us 2011).

Masabi, on the other hand, develops ticketing apps for the transport sector with its award-winning “Ticket Machine in Your Pocket” app. “The company’s technology allows transport operators to transform their passengers’ travel experience while also dramatically expanding sales capacity without significantly increasing costs” (About Masabi 2011).

Always on Message works with leading businesses in developing innovative strategies to put these businesses at the forefront of engaging customers through mobile (Always On Message 2011). Lastly Yuza Mobile which was named the Top 50 Mobile Innovator by Mobile Entertainment, also develops mobile apps and provides competitive services in the app development industry (About Yuza 2011).

For Grapple Mobile Technology, the business service area that offers the most growth and profit is development of apps. With Grapple’s exclusive technology which reaches 97% of phone users, mobile apps can be produced for numerous devices allowing clients to reach their target audience easily. The technology also enables a speedy building for all native interfaces and mobile operating system.

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This saves time and costs in development and production because apps can be created in a span of days rather than weeks. Grapple provides customers with the lowest cost available in the app development industry being more than 75% cheaper.

The company delivers a full service solution which helps clients from the conceptualization to the downloading of the app. This process enables customers to create an app that helps their businesses fulfil objectives.

Organizational Chart and Functionalities

As a full service solution firm Grapple’s team is divided into 6 to accommodate the needs of clients. These teams are: App Management, App Analytics, App Technology, App Creation, App Delivery and App Distribution. Below is the mapped out network chart which represents the inflows of information from the conceptualization to the distribution of apps.

App Management Team Work with clients in conceptualizing new ideas to reach the target market.
App Analytic Team Provide specific information on app usage
App Technology Team Team that develops technology in making apps at a lower cost
App Creation Team Ensures that apps push through boundaries
App Delivery Team Futureproof newly created apps to keep up with trends
App Distribution Ensures apps be distributed and handles paper works for third party distribution

The Grapple team works systematically in terms of producing the best products and services needed by clients. The organization is composed of interdependent team working closely together. On the forefront the App Management team works closely with different brands, businesses and agencies to produce new and innovative ideas to reach their target market.

Once ideas have been conceptualize the App Analytics team will supply data on app usage from the number of downloads to interaction and frequency of app usage.

Then the App Technology and App Creation teams which will develop the needed apps requested by clients and ensure that they can push the boundaries through various testings. The App Delivery team will prove created apps making them available on all latest releases. Lastly the App Distribution team will be handling the signing and distribution processes.

Information Dissemination

There are various ways of disseminating information about a newly created app. Grapple can distribute apps via vendors or third party app stores such as Apple iStore, Nokia OVI, Android or Blackberry. Vendors can advertise new apps in their store websites which is quite effective but other alternatives such as online blogging, product reviews and giving out free trial usage can be effective tools also in spreading information. Below is a chart of the information dissemination techniques done by Grapple Mobile Technology.

Grapple Mobile Technology Laboratory
Vendor/ App Store Online Blogging Press Reviews Free Trial Usage

Once apps are completed clients may choose to let app stores distribute their products. Grapple can blog about its newest developed apps but the scope will be limited to those who visit the company’s blogs.

Another way of marketing the app is through press reviews, by letting media personnel evaluate the app and in exchange they would write a literature on it. Lastly another viable source of app information dissemination is posting free trial usages of the new app where users will download a free trial version for a couple of weeks.

Boundary Spanning Activities

Grapple’s technology which enables apps to be created in multiple devices and mobile devises, clients can reach their entire target audience by 97%. Grapple works with over 500 devices which exclude phone users from not being able to use newly developed apps by the company (Grapple Apps 2011).

With Grapple’s a hybrid compiler and virtualisation technology, the company can provide hosting services which stores all binaries on Grapple’s servers. Client’s target audience can download app from a centralised location and an URL is produced from which all versions of the app can be downloaded.

The company’s phone detection database which is constantly refreshed and enhanced to keep up to date with new devices, enables users to install only binaries on their phones. Also, the App Management group, with its experience in extensively working with brands, businesses and agencies can suggest newly formulated ideas to new or recurring customers.

They can be able to persuade new ones to grow the company’s network by pulling in more clients. The continuous exposure of team members to other developers, award giving bodies and media personnel can also help the growth of Grapple in terms of market share. Word of mouth and budding friendships among employees and third party groups can improve the company’s spear of influence.

Boundary spanning activities of Grapple should not be exclusive only to technological advancements and connections but people interaction also plays a significant role in increasing annual sales and revenues. Grapple’s blog also serves as a tool to connect its clients and probable clients. It is one of the best forms of boundary spanning activities conducted by the company.

Challenges

As a young company which was founded 4 years ago, Grapple Mobile Technology has encountered its fair share of obstacles and difficulties.

In a time when the mobile device industry is becoming more and more saturated with big players such as Google Android, Apple iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry, Nokia’s Symbian and Window’s operating systems competing against each other’s captured markets, almost everyone owns a device whether be a smart phone or a tablet.

Grapple must face the challenges concerning the speedy demand for innovation of technology and creativity. Competitors who are more experience in the field and who have a larger client pool are at bay to capture Grapple’s market share. Customer satisfaction is the key to maintaining Grapple’s stability and growth in the industry not to mention the constant upgrading of technology in the company’s developmental laboratories.

Employing talents can also be a challenge with the presence of competitors pouching people from one company to the other. Grapple must also make sure that employees are happy in the workplace and continue to help them grow in terms of learning and experiences and at the same time satisfy employees’ compensation pays.

Constant innovation and creativity providing utmost customer satisfaction by capturing target markets and helping clients attain company objectives are very significant in running the Grapple business.

It is good that Grapple won awards in the year 2011, and got the Best App Developer award at the Mobile Entertainment Awards. This contributes to the strengthening of trust of the share holders and clients with the management team.

Managing Information

In order to efficiently manage inflows and outflows of information, Grapple Mobile Technology should be organized. The company should pay attention to the key principles that are critical in Grapple’s success and stability in the industry.

These principles are: recognize and manage complexities, focus on adopting to changes, deliver tangible and visible benefits, prioritise according to business needs, take things one step at a time, provide strong leadership, mitigate risks, communicate extensively, aim to deliver a seamless user experience and choose projects carefully.

Improving information management practices should be a key focus for organizations to grow efficiently and demand competence from teams to deliver products and services in the market. First the Grapple management team should recognize and manage complexities in the work environment. When planning and deploying solutions for customers each team should avoid if not limit complexities.

“Organizations often adopt simple approaches and believe vendors when they offer silver bullet technology solutions” (Robertson 2005). Second, the company should focus on adopting to change. The carrying out of information is crucial in the execution of such knowledge by the team. In managing information systems active participation from all members is required.

However, the challenge here is that sufficient adoption of such information will be followed to ensure that the system (namely team members involved) takes such information and executes accordingly.

In a world where everything changes quickly the dissemination of information and tasks among teams must be efficient and swift not to mention that the team members should also be alert in the changes brought about by the climate of the business. In the app development industry it is important to acquire exclusive technologies to have an edge with competitors.

Whenever changes may occur be in the technology department or management, people from Grapple must be prepared to embrace such transformations and modifications. The company’s system must also be flexible for any improvements in the future thus projects must be designed to ensure that there is room for change and employee adaptation.

In dealing with clients, although systems are open for some adjustments, Grapple must make sure that the essence of the system must not be missing namely the advantages of clients in adopting to the newly improved agreement, purposes and benefits of the change must be communicated properly to staff, target projects to build another, extensive change management and cultural change activities and ensure that organized systems are useful and usable to the team.

Third, the delivery of concrete and evident benefits is a key factor in the management of information. Information management projects must always be devised to produce tangible and visible benefits thus operations should always target issues or needs that are visible within the organization.

In the public’s eye Grapple is a fast emerging apps developer company but internally the management has to look after the development of the workers in teams in terms of keeping phase with the company’s growth. From a start up company, Grapple is fast becoming a renowned organization thus as the company grows its workers must also grow. The management team’s organization of information system must improve continuously.

The delivery of solution indicate the improvement of the company, this must be heavily promoted throughout the company. The fourth principle is the prioritization of business needs accordingly especially with the challenged posed by not knowing where to start in managing the whole organization.

Most urgent business needs or issues must first be identified in managing information in Grapple Mobile Technology which is obtained from the overall business strategy and direction of the company.

An example is the continuous improvement of technology which is the core factor on how the company will operate and this also give the direction of Grapple on how it will position itself in the market in the upcoming quarters. Next principle in managing information is to take one step at a time letting go of the idea of designing a complete information management solution.

“There is no single application or project that will address and resolve all the information management problems of an organization. Where organizations look for such solutions, large and costly strategic plans are developed. Assuming the results of this strategic planning are actually delivered (which they often aren’t), they usually describe a long-term vision but give few clear directions for immediate actors” (Robertson 2005).

It is worth noting that organizations, like Grapple Mobile Technology, are too complex for the consideration of a planned approach. Instead of wasting time and resources making a plan for the whole company, it is advisable that management leaders recognize small approaches and make adjustments along the way depending on the situation the company encounters.

Management will encounter that changes may occur in quantity, sometimes it may be organization-wide but most of the time changes are implemented in smaller units such as individual teams. It is worth observing that when changes are added up together they impact major activities of the whole organization.

While this type of management can be difficult to impose with many groups to develop, this approach actually addresses the complexities of the first principle and it’s an effective way of justifying risks. The sixth principle is providing strong leadership in the organization. To successfully manage information means to create an organizational culture of leadership.

Leaders can influence workers to see the clear vision of the company’s target outcome. Along with this vision is the outline of how the organization will operate and what the steps of the workers will be in achieving such goals. In order to create a culture of leadership, the company’s share holders must be also involved in goal setting. This will create the atmosphere of unity and support and might even boost confidence in performances.

Focus on leadership and developing leaders can provide a clear understanding of goals and advantages in accomplishing such goals. The seventh principle for Grapple to function effectively in managing information is justifying risks.

Organizations in general have complex environments thus risks arise when implementing information management solutions such as selecting technology solutions, overruns in terms of time and/ or budget, revising business requirements, technical issues or staff’s failure to adopt to changes.

Risks should clearly be identified before an approach will be formulated. “Risk management approaches should be used to plan all aspects of the project, including activities conducted and the budget spent” (Robertson 2005). An example can be in the company’s cost cutting action plans where risks can be justified easily.

Eighth principle is to communicate extensively which is critical for the success of the initiative. Open communication breeds an environment of creativity with ideas. The next principle is to aim to deliver a seamless user experience by hiding the system that information comes from. Thus information presented to clients should be presented in a way clients understand them.

Lastly in order to manage the company information system, management must choose projects carefully ensuring that they show the value of Grapple’s information management strategy, create momentum for future activities and projects, increase interest from all partners, provide tangible and visible benefits for the client and the company, tackle urgent needs and issues; projects can be communicated to staff clearly and they must help the team in gaining further resources.

In choosing projects carefully Grapple will benefit because the right projects will lead the company to the right path by providing opportunities to satisfy the company’s goals.

Conclusion

Grapple Mobile Technology has only been operating for more or less 4 years now. With its rapid growth, it may encounter threats from competitors in the app development industry. In order for it to be competent in its field it must enhance its organizational information management.

References

Always on Me 2011. Available from: <http://www.alwaysonmessage.com/what-we-do/>. [Accessed12 December 2011].

Golden Gekko 2011, About Us. Available from: <http://www.goldengekko.com/about-us>. [Accessed 12 December 2011].

Grapple Apps 2011, What We Do. Available from: <http://www.grapplemobile.com/what-we-do/>. [ Accessed 12 December 2011].

Masabi 2011, About Masabi. Available from: <http://www.masabi.com/about-us/company-information/>. [Accessed 12 December 2011].

Robertson, J 2005, 10 Principles of Effective Information Management. Available from < http://www.steptwo.com.au/papers/kmc_effectiveim/index.html>. [Accessed 12 December 2011].

Yuza 2011, Our Vision. Available from: <http://yuza.com/about/>. [Accessed 12 December 2011].