Rise of the Smartphone

One of the reasons I started ProAnnexUs was to provide convenient access to professional services via smartphone. A mobile platform for the professional services market.

If you have read my earlier blog you will know that one of my great heroes and role models is Steve Jobs, as he was to many. Steve took the view at Apple that the technology was not enough, it was the delivery of the technology and the packaging that really made the Apple products what they are, linking the logical need for the technology with the emotional passion.

I acquired an iPhone two and a bit years ago now, having previously used Blackberry at work. In the early days I was a huge fan of the Blackberry. There was nothing that was as good at getting your email to you instantly. However, life moves on and the ability of the iPhone compared to the device I was provided by my office was a bit like horse vs Henry Ford!

My interest was piqued and I started to take notice of the communication devices other people were using. It quickly became clear that the smartphone market was taking off and quickly becoming dominated by operating systems from Apple and Android. Anything else was slowly on the ascent, or falling off, depending on where they were in their cycle, against these two giants.

So the technology was up-and-coming and becoming more powerful and the need was out there evidenced by government polsters so why not use it? It was only going to get better!

While not all of the professional services sector will be attracted by the thought of new business, even if it not currently being competed for, enough will and others will follow the early adopters. The Autumn statement from the Chancellor is set to stimulate the startup economy (we hope) and that can only be a good thing.

I remain convinced that if we can get the right attitude in the legal and accountancy professions and a convenient method of delivery, acknowledging the “service” bit of the service sector, there is an opportunity for supply and demand.

Whoever came up with the quote “if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur” was right. Professionals are there for a reason, are highly trained and, in the long run, with the right attitude, can add significant value to any business. Just have to match the need and the solution

If the UK legal market is worth £30 billion and the unserviced market is worth 1/3 again, £10 billion has to be worth having in anybody’s book. Furthermore, the survey for the Legal Services Board suggest then UK economy is losing out to the tune of £100 billion per annum by not engaging properly and in a timely fashion with the professional sector. The fact that early and appropriate engagement can deliver a 10 times payback for the buy side and open up a huge market to the professional side is a powerful argument.

So why smartphone and not web? The statistics for smartphone penetration in the UK are set out in the graph below. On the increase substantially, forecasted to 2017 only getting higher. So, using the convenience of the smartphone to create a market place and bring need and solution together is only logical in the words of Mr Spock!

Statistic: Smartphone penetration rate in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2010 to 2017 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

The rise of the smartphone is incredibly exciting.

We have the comparatively sophisticated markets of the UK, US etc where smartphone penetration is coming at the cost of the existing feature phones. There is a huge new market in developing economies who have not previously had access to mobile networks. Banks and other financial institutions and many other retail opportunities are totally focused on providing service through the mobile network.

I believe the opportunity is glaring to open up service sector expertise through the convenience of the smartphone to those clients who will be the lifeblood of the global economy for a sustainable future. It is a classic win-win!!

Here's to 2015!

Simon Astill