For years now, industry participants have highlighted the infamous statement by Marc Andreessen:
“Software is eating the world.”
While this is true and touches all areas of business and life, a significant part of this perspective has taken a dramatic shift — today, software is eating the world increasingly on mobile devices. Are you ready for this?
The Industry Fallacy
Many organizations have embraced the increasingly mobile world we’re living in, but they don’t understand how to effectively create and capture the value of native apps. “Responsive or hybrid works just fine for us.”
The Simple Truth
The simple truth is not so simple. Mobile is not an easy “build it and they will come” opportunity and the challenges start from the building stage. While many pursue a responsive or hybrid approach, this is far from the best practice.
Initially, most thought that a responsive website would satisfy the needs of their business and customers. For some, it worked adequately. Others soon realized that they needed to embrace a truly mobile strategy to stay competitive. They needed to address customer segments, personalization, different types of devices and operating systems, browser incompatibilities, infrastructure requirements, and more. So, they chose the path of least resistance: hire different teams (or agencies) to develop for each mobile need and/or adopt a hybrid mobile development approach. Situation addressed and solved, right? Unfortunately, no.
Why do we need to embrace native mobile development rather than the streamlined hybrid mentality? Mobile proliferation has changed expectations. People now expect to see applications that leverage the inherent capabilities of each device and operating system — whether it’s an Apple or Android device (or random others floating out there as well).
While hybrid solutions like Cordova seem like "easier" options when compared to the challenges of creating separate native applications, they are not optimal choices for mobile development. Can your business and customers be satisfied with significant performance tradeoffs and hybrid limitations? Native applications can solve these problems for the mobile user — so why are so many businesses sticking to responsive instead? Why don’t more businesses create native apps?
Some businesses are devoting considerable amounts of time, money and resources to native mobile development. Creating and managing these native apps is challenging at best, which drives other decision-makers to avoid them.
Prepare for the Future by Planning Better
Business executives are tasked with making choices to bet the business on and delivering rewarding customer experiences, but that requires selecting solutions that don’t limit your options. For example, you might not need a native mobile application right now, but what happens in a few months when you do need it? Digital transformation requires scale, efficiency, and extensibility. Don’t put yourself in a box. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Technology moves even faster these days. This means that you need to be forward-thinking. What happens if your business counterparts come to you and say, “Now we need a native app,” and you have selected an approach that doesn’t support that? Things change — business requirements, market conditions, competition and customer expectations. Pick solutions that allow you to prepare for what’s ahead, whether it’s mobile, the Internet of Things or whatever comes next, without requiring a complete overhaul of your content, marketing, and technology foundations.