The Director of an App company has some unique and serious responsibilities, and, in this article, we’ll take a look at what they are…
Chances are that, right now, you’re reading this article via your mobile phone and, possibly, through an app.
When using apps, we rarely think about the people behind them but, these companies are often complex and bound by strict rules. Breach of a director’s duties when it comes to apps can carry some serious penalties.
Across the globe, 6.3 billion people now own a Smartphone and, figures show that 88% of the time spent on our Smartphones is used in accessing apps. This carries a huge responsibility for app company directors.
Let’s examine these responsibilities and start with the basics…
Firstly, What Is An App?
A mobile app is a software program which runs on a Smartphone, tablet or computer. These programs perform a specific function, for example, an airline might create an app which allows passengers to check in without having to queue at the airport.
There are three main types of app, web-based, native and hybrid and these apps allow users to quickly access a function such as checking their balance on a banking app or updating their status on a social media app.
Responsibilities of App Company Directors
Some of the responsibilities app company directors include:
When a company sells or makes an app available for uploading, it’s the director’s responsibility to make sure that the app is fit for purpose. This means that he or she needs to make sure that the app does what it is supposed to and offers value to the customer.
Failing to do so can result in negative reviews which can have an extremely negative impact on the company.
Each territory, or country, across the world has specific laws when it comes making products available to the public and, this includes apps. In the UK, these laws include:
- End-user privacy and security
- Intellectual property (IP) rights
- Advertising, promotion and marketing protocols
- GDPR - ensuring that customers’ personal data is protected
The last point here is particularly important as breaching GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation Act) can result in fines of up to 10 million Euros - a penalty which few businesses would be able to recover from.
In 2021, consumer and market data app, Annie, agreed an out of court settlement of over $10 million after being found to have been in breach of data laws.
The app and its founder Bertrand Schmitt, were charged with ‘securities fraud for deceptive practices concerning the way that its data was derived. Director of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) said in a statement:
”App Annie and Schmitt lied to companies about how their confidential data was being used and then not only sold the manipulated estimates to their trading firm customers but also encouraged them to trade on those estimates - often touting how closely they correlated with the companies’ true performance and stock prices”.
This case highlights the devastating penalties which can be imposed on app companies and their directors.
Service Level Agreement Metrics
Service Level Agreement Metrics (SLAs) are the nuts and bolts of a director’s role in any industry and, these include:
- Costs and ROI (Return On Investment)
- Business Value
- KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
These metrics come together to measure and manage the company’s finances and to ensure that value to the customer is balanced with the requirement to make a profit for the business which is, of course, what a business is all about.
Training And Communication
The director of an app company needs to be able to effectively communicate the company’s ethos, values and guidelines to all members of staff to ensure consistency. This communication will often include training, mentoring and ongoing assessments for employees.
Putting in place training and development programs is essential in allowing the director to effectively manage his or her team and make sure that the company’s branding is rolled out throughout the entire business.
Much more than just being ‘the boss’ the director of an app company needs to be able to drive the business forward by inspiring and guiding its employees.
In 2022, businesses are falling victim to fraud more than ever before. With an app company, when a fraudster infiltrates the system they may also be able to find their way into the systems of the company's clients as well.
While this may not be considered the fault of the app company, the business may still be subject to legal action for failing to adequately protect its own system.
Because of this, app company directors are responsible for making sure that the company’s systems are protected by the most robust security systems possible in order to protect itself and its clients from fraudsters.
Using tools such as a VPN and multi-factor authentication can really help to stop fraudsters in their tracks.
There are endless challenges for app directors…
The increasing popularity of Smartphone apps means that governments across the world are taking a fresh look at the legislation and guidelines for app producers and businesses.
This means that, going forward, directors of app companies will be under increasing pressure to ensure that their product remains compliant as well as offering functionality and value for the customer.
With a huge amount of competition, ensuring compliance while still appealing to customers will be the main challenge for app company directors and owners across the world in the next few years.