There has been a running debate for years within the mobile ecosystem on what approach yields the best result for an end user trying to access complex information resources. Complex information resources can be something familiar to most consumers such as on-line shopping, scheduling a flight, or checking a Facebook status, to something more business-centric such as adding a new application or workflow to the panoply of capabilities we all seem to carry around on our mobile devices.
So assuming the objective is to deliver a compelling user experience that encourages your customers or users to return, then the questions becomes (as noted), to web, or not to web?
To web: we’re basically talking about a web-centric user experience, and by web I mean a site that is rendered on a mobile device via HTML5. There is nothing for the end user to do but point their browser at a website, and assuming the baseline software on their device is current, they’re good to go. This is easy, convenient, and works well for occasional use where the threshold of sophistication requirements are relatively low. Where it does not work as well is where the process is consistent (that is, routinely transactional), or critical to your day to day (that is, your job depends on it). Vendors that deliver critical services through an html5 interface are doing their customers a disservice, their customers are looking for depth, and they’re not providing it.
Not to web: in this instance we’re talking mobile apps. When the requirements get complex, when you’re dealing with dense data (e.g. tracking sales KPIs as part of a workflow process), or when you’re dealing within anything in the IT space, such as service management, the app approach is critical to ensuring the compelling event everyone expects. This is where applications like MyIT come into play; navigating complex information resources should not be complex, your users have enough to do without forcing them to deal with the limitations inherent in an HTML5 interface. Treat your customers with the respect they deserve, and give then a mobile app that is specific to their requirements.