Now with Waitrose and Ladbrokes as clients, Chelsea Apps Factory boss says when they started out no-one knew anything about apps.
Mike Anderson and a couple of pals started a business on an instinct. This business didn’t know what to sell and its prospective customers didn’t know what they wanted to buy. Five years later it is still going and still growing.
“Chelsea Apps Factory (CAF) is five years old. It was born on the same day as the iPad. It came about because we were following an instinct. There were people queuing around the block to buy devices and people being cheered for having bought them and Steve Jobs and others were on the front pages of every newspaper talking about tablets and new computing,” Anderson says.
Companies want to work with agile suppliers. CAF positions itself as big enough to offer confidence in delivery and small enough to care. Anderson contrasts this with companies bringing in large consultancies and then not being able to get rid of them. The plan is to tap into global demand for mobility. In a five year old industry the challenge to scale is gathering the talent.
“There isn’t a business that doesn’t need a mobile capability. It would be as ridiculous as saying that businesses don’t need web sites. We’ve gone from projects to programmes and we are helping companies expand into new territories. It is a global opportunity. The challenge is choosing what to focus on.”
Waitrose, was one of the first organisations Chelsea Apps Factory engaged with to talk about enterprise apps. The organisation had a very mature desktop system which operated the stores. Anderson says that they could instantly see a whole suite of applications that could be built and deployed on a tablet device.
CAF came up with a candidate list of different applications for business processes that a store manager could operate on the floor of a supermarket in front of the customer with the data in their hands.
“And we could see how compelling that could be. So we started to build out the use cases. Areas like assisted selling, stock control and management. We produced something called the daily numbers so they could what they were selling by the day. We helped execute promotions and display stock to maximise their impact. The business efficiency of doing that in a live environment, instead of running around with guns, pointing at bar codes and printing off reports was obvious.”