Commentary and Opinion

MORRIS: Another app, and some perspective

September 11, 2010

greg morrisAs Indianapolis Business Journal launches its mobile phone application, I’m struck by how swiftly communication channels are changing. I’m enthused about new technology advances, yet I’m still drawn to traditional information and entertainment channels like the printed newspaper, magazine or a book. I’m also partial to traditional customer contact methods.

In conducting business, nothing is more effective than a face-to-face meeting to discuss how we can help provide solutions to meet our clients’ needs. If a meeting is not available, a phone conversation can work in a pinch.

Some younger execs might call my preferences “old school,” but it’s tough to establish a solid business relationship via only e-mail, voice mail or a text message. A lot of business is done that way today, and I understand the advantages. Productivity gains top the list. But I take issue with using these channels as your main method of communication. If you are looking to be a trusted adviser to your clients, you need to get in front of them at least some of the time.

On the new communication channel front, I hear a lot about the extinction of the written word, and now there is talk of the impending death of the Web. Laptops are said to be on their way out and predictions are that we will be getting most of our information through our mobile devices like our smart phones and iPad-type tablets. This may very well be the new world order at some point, but I don’t believe we will get there overnight.

As I wrote in a previous column, I believe new technologies will continue to interact with older communication channels. They will work in concert with one another to provide a great user experience for years to come. As an example, IBJ will use a video, photo gallery or related documents on our website as an extension of a written story from the newspaper. Also, if you’ve downloaded the proper tag-reading software on your mobile phone (available free), you can scan a matrix bar code that appears on page 2 of the printed edition of IBJ. The result is an immediate launch of a video or a webpage on your smart phone.

This brings me to our new mobile phone app. We have a mission at IBJ. We want to deliver the best, most complete and up-to-the-minute business news to you in the way you want to receive it. In that spirit, we launched our mobile app in the past few weeks. We haven’t promoted it yet, but if you have an iPhone or Android phone, the app is ready to download. Coming within days is a version for many BlackBerry phone models. You can expect an iPad app in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, just browsing ibj.com on an iPad provides an awesome user experience.

The IBJ mobile phone app is available free for a limited time. There will be a nominal charge in the future. It has an easy-to-use interface and you’ll be able to access most everything available on ibj.com that is not premium, paid content. This includes the latest breaking business news, just as it’s delivered to our website. You will find the latest stock indexes, arts and entertainment news, opinions and commentary, videos, picture galleries, IBJ event information, the latest weather and a lot more. Also, as a bonus, our sister publication, the Indiana Lawyer, has much of its news and information included via a tab within the IBJ mobile app.

When you download the IBJ app, you’ll have access to the latest Indiana business news at your fingertips while on the go. IBJ gives you old school and new school. The combination is a beautiful thing.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think.•

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Morris is publisher of IBJ. His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to gmorris@ibj.com.

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