The majority of U.S. mobile phone users have smartphones and many of those users are part of a growing and savvy mobile workforce. In fact, the global mobile workforce is on course to reach 1.3 billion people by 2015 according to IDC. Between iOS and Android alone, there are over a million apps that people are choosing from and many users are finding that apps they adopted for personal convenience convert into professional productivity assets as well. It's all about familiarity and convenience while on the go.
So how will the advent of Facebook's App Center as well as other booming app stores across platforms benefit the mobile workforce? I see three clear ways:
App Discovery: An immediate benefit will be people identifying new, awesome apps in the current sea of apps. Employees can check out what their friends and colleagues are using and choose to download the same apps themselves. You may just find out the "secret ingredient" to your officemate's deal closing skills.
More Apps = Better Apps: As apps proliferate, two things will become true. Some companies will try to differentiate themselves by going native, or simplifying the problem their app is trying to solve -- in my mind key marks of a better app. Second, practice makes perfect. By that I mean, with more apps comes more app developers with greater experience. As higher quality, more experienced talent becomes available better apps will be sure to follow.
Social Media Policy Relaxation: There's a good chance you still work at a company that blocks Facebook. As social sales and productivity applications take hold via online sharing and recommendations, you may find your company being more receptive to you having access to the platform during work hours.
Overall, the advent of app stores and the new Facebook App Center are a boon for the mobile workforce, social business app developers and the integration of social into business overall. All these constituents are further supported by the market validation of recent acquisitions including Buddy Media, Vitrue and Yammer -- the mobile workforce will ultimately be more successful and bottom lines will benefit as these integrations come to the fore. The real question remains, will Facebook ultimately integrate with corporate technologies directly?
Follow Chris O'Connor on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@NowHearChris