How to Cope with Increased Demand for Mobile Apps in the Enterprise
Gartner has predicted that by the end of 2017, the demand for mobile apps will outstrip development capacity 5 to 1.
This has massive implications for the development of enterprise apps, as it means that companies will be unable to deliver the full range of apps that their employees will expect, losing out in productivity gains and potentially extra revenue generation.
The demand for mobile apps has been ever on the increase for years, as employees continue to expect the same rich functionality in the workplace that they are used to having in their day-to-day lives. This is coupled with the many Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives that we are seeing and which are only bound to increase.
However, enterprises are finding it increasingly difficult to meet this demand, as the costs and resources necessary to develop apps is exceedingly high, let alone time-consuming.
With the inevitable advent of the Internet of Things and other mobile technologies, businesses are going to need to find ways to meet the demand for apps that this will result in.
What companies can do to meet demand for mobile apps
So what can companies do about this? There are several options available to cope with this dramatic increase in demand:
1. Prioritising apps that meet business goals and customer needs
Rather than having a first-come, first-served approach to the development of internal apps, prioritising apps that meet business goals or customer needs is an effective way of ensuring that apps add value.
As a key element of the business strategy, any enterprise mobility initiatives should align themselves with business goals. You may think this is a no-brainer, but so many companies get it wrong.
By asking yourself why you are building the app and whether it will meet the key business goals, you can therefore ensure that you discard any app that doesn’t truly add value.
In the case of customer apps, a key consideration will also be to ensure that the app delivers the content that customers actually need. Whether this is information about the firm or solutions to common customer issues, the app will only be successful if customers find a use for it.
2. Use an agile app development strategy
One of the greatest issues that enterprise app development teams are facing is the inability to keep up with internal app requests.
Besides common issues such as cost, the greatest challenge contributing to this is the reduced agility brought about by top-down systems of working.
Moreover, the need to develop many aspects of apps from scratch, particularly when it comes to native apps, considerably slows down the process too.
Not only could apps be delivered much faster, but the content of the apps itself, as well as technical updates, need to be updated regularly to continue to provide value.
In order to do this, app development teams may need to move towards new systems of working where front-end, back-end, testing and deployment is carried out simultaneously and horizontally rather than in a top-down way.
3. Use rapid app development tools
Finally, we are seeing many companies shifting from traditional methods of app development – whether through internal app development teams or external developers – to alternative approaches such as app builders.
App builders allow companies to create mobile apps using a unique platform, which means that most features don’t need to be built from scratch, saving time.
The greatest benefit of app builders, however, is the ability for anyone with no coding skills to create apps. This is because app builders commonly have drag-and-drop type functionalities that allow apps to be created with the same or more ease as websites are built using WordPress.
Not only does this allow for anyone within a company to create their own apps, but it also helps them build and deliver them with much more speed.
This all results in increased agility and saved costs. As demand for mobile apps continues to outstrip development capacity, it is only a matter of time before most companies opt for alternative solutions such as app builders.
The demand for mobile apps has really taken the enterprise world by storm. As this continues to increase, companies will need to find ways to adjust in order to deliver mobile apps with sufficient agility.
Thankfully solutions such as app builders are becoming increasingly common. It will be interesting to see what alternative solutions emerge in the next few years to cope with this sky-high demand.