Signs of Change: Service Providers as App Providers

I have been predicting for a while now that apps would be as revolutionary to the internet as websites originally were.This week an article called "Why Consultants Need to Build Apps" shows we're one step closer to that point:
Services firms...are adapting in new ways to the fast-paced [application] development world. It's not simple but by no means is it as complex as it once was to develop applications. And from our estimations, it will become increasingly important as apps offer increasing business intelligence and the ability to provide self-serve tools any customer can use.
Bullseye. People are increasingly turning to smartphone or webapps as their primary tools for many of their daily activities, and building product manufacturers that understand this trend will have a strong advantage.

A quick definition: I define an app as a small, specialized, single-purpose program. Most apps are easier to download and install than traditional programs, allowing quick and easy ways to upgrade your phone's functionality. Webapps are the same basic idea, but benefit by being housed on a webpage so they will work across multiple operating systems. Disadvantage of webapps is you need an internet connection, and you may miss out on many of the unique features of the individual phones.

Full-scale software development is an expensive and resource-intensive process; many apps, by contrast, are made by individuals in their free time. Software has a high sticker price; many apps are free.

I was joking with a friend who works as a business coach that he needed an iPhone app; how great would it be for his clients to walk into negotiations with him literally in their pocket? We laughed, but he was intrigued by the possibility, and that possibility is exactly what this article taps into.

Many product manufacturers are finding that to stay competitive they have to think of themselves as service providers: we don't sell bricks, we help designers achieve their masonry construction goals, or I don't sell screws, I help my clients figure out why their old screws failed. If you provide a service to your clients, there is an app that can encapsulate and enhance the experience.

How will you find yours?