Demand For Mobile Apps To Outweigh Organizations’ Capacity To Develop Them By Five-To-One Says Gartner

Mobile phone sales are projected to hit 2.1 billion units by 2019 according to Gartner forecasts. The ubiquitous nature of mobile is leading more and more business users to expect and demand enterprise mobile apps that match the quality of design, usability, and performance of today’s consumer apps.

And yet, the same class of projections predicts a market demand for apps that outpaces development capacity five-to-one even earlier – by 2017. Already at present organizations are finding it a challenge to plan, develop, deploy, maintain, and progress mobile apps, being that it is difficult to find, hire, acclimate, and retain high quality developers with the requisite mobile skills.

A vast array of organizations is grappling with the mobile environment, absent familiarity and expertise. App projects are mounted as reactive endeavors, and are mounted as purely tactical rather than strategic initiatives. Often, simple ignorance in this arena means that organizations are not using the proper tools and techniques, as paired with best practices, in getting off on the right mobile footing – and staying that way. There is even avoidance by some organizations – outright denial – even as employees in today’s digital workspace use an average of three devices in support of their daily routine. The ratio of devices to people is expected to increase to six in the next couple years with the spread and increasing utility of wearable devices. Apps will also interface with the Internet of Things (IoT) – an expanding array of devices that benefit from the emplacement of sensors, processors, and unique-identifiers within them – machines, household appliances, office equipment, automobiles… the list can go on and on. A veritable explosion of apps is on the way in match.

Organizations will soon have no choice but to demand their own improved standing within the realm of apps on behalf of users and related issues of general productivity; as well, they will be called upon to satisfy the expectations and demands of customers, constituents, and partners. How to start? What do we need to consider in the way of tools, vendors, architecture, platform, and so forth? Gartner recommends four main best practices that any organization should consider in gaining a firm footing in the mobile arena:

  1. Focus and Prioritize App Development: Many in-house mobile teams are new. Many of them are overstretched and unfocused; poor gatekeeping and prioritization means that demands come from many different directions, often simultaneously. Inefficient use of already stretched IT resources leads to degraded quality in the apps delivered. Create a management and gatekeeping structure that can vet app requests, shape those that are deemed of merit, prioritize them, and craft them in total match to business stakeholder requirements.
  2. Implement a Bi-modal Approach: In delivering fitted apps more efficiently, ultimately more quickly, the organization needs a Mode 1 to create and maintain stable infrastructure and APIs in order to accommodate apps and their retrieval and delivery of data to back-end systems. This perspective for development also helps to hold technical debt in abeyance, keeping apps ensconced in an empathetic environment for best development and progression. Mode 2 employs high-productivity, agile, approaches to deliver front-end features that are a total fit to the organization’s business, and allied stakeholder expectations.
  3. Employ Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD) Tools: Closing the gap between demand and supply in the realm of apps will involve business (non-IT) stakeholders to an ever greater degree. Codeless tools, employing drag-and-drop, along with model-driven development, virtualization, forms construction, and others, will allow those with no programming abilities to assemble their own mobile app prototypes for debut at specialized team meetings involving business stakeholders and apps developers.
  4. Mixed Sourcing: Pure in-house development in the realm of apps is not likely to serve well for most organizations. Development of apps may not represent a continuous endeavor, and carrying specific staff may not be practical. User Experience (UX) design may involve many breaking developments that a mobile app provider may stay abreast of far more readily than your organization does or can. Things such as coverage testing, impacts to bandwidth, infrastructure accommodations, etc., are possibly better left to folks who specialize in scanning the horizon for impacts, and favorable timings for investments in scaling up so as to keep your mobile platform solid, secure, and stable.

In assessing a mobile vendor – a true solutions partner for the long-term – evaluate them on the basis of a number of factors. How long have they been in business? What sort of clients do they serve? Do they have familiarity and experience with organizations that are similar to yours in size and mission? How many mobile apps have they delivered? How flexible are their apps – that is, what range of back-end accommodations have they made; what flexibility do they make for all the various endpoints (devices) and OS out there; and so forth? Make your mobile solutions partner choice carefully, and for the long term.

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