Mobile applications are great for business. They can be a competitive differentiator, generate revenue, improve business processes and enable better customer service. But for development and operations teams, these business drivers translate into a growing list of mobile apps that must be developed, launched and updated. With the need to deliver more and faster, organizations need to change the way they manage the mobile app lifecycle.
According to independent insight and research agency Opinion Matters, enterprises have a significant mobile backlog. In a recent survey the agency found that more than 85 percent of US and UK enterprises have a backlog of between 1-20 applications, and half of those respondents have a backlog of 10-20 apps. For 64 percent of respondents, the goal of these new mobile app initiatives is to generate revenue, while 58 percent seek to improve the mobile experience of existing apps.
But it’s not just the number of applications that challenge development and operations teams. For each mobile app initiative there are multiple platforms to support, hundreds of change requests and complex backend integrations to address. It is simply impossible to achieve all of this by hand coding each and every application. Enter the rapid application delivery (RAD) platform. (Notice I said delivery not development. More on that in a moment.)
A RAD platform enables developers to easily and rapidly create and deploy apps across iOS, Android, Windows Phone and the web, all from a single application design and code base. A RAD platform reduces the amount of hand coding required to develop and update mobile apps – but that’s not all. (Here’s where they differ from the other RAD platforms with which you may be familiar.) A rapid application delivery platform also automates the entire build, test and deployment process, making the entire application lifecycle more efficient. In fact, it has been shown that RAD platform users can deliver mobile and web applications an average of five times faster than traditional coding techniques, while virtually eliminating change request backlogs.
Evaluating RAD platforms
When organizations consider how much faster development and operations teams can deliver production-ready mobile apps than they are currently, a RAD platform becomes a must-have tool. However, it is important to carefully evaluate platforms and choose one that extends across the entire application lifecycle – not just development.
When evaluating RAD platforms look for one that:
· Delivers applications as open, standard-architecture code to protect you against future technology changes and vendor lock-in.
· Can be delivered via the cloud, thereby reducing your capital investment while enabling you to scale as needed.
· Offers deep integration to native device sensors while enabling organizations to forego app store review processes.
· Provides connectors for popular SaaS and legacy applications to enable rapid integration.
· Allows developers to utilize responsive web design (RWD) to create mobile apps that render beautifully on any device, form factor or OS.
· Simplifies the development process even when complex workflows and deep integrations are present, thereby enabling any skill level developer to build robust mobile apps.
Going forward, most businesses will find their list of mobile application initiatives growing, while their development and operations teams struggle to keep up. Meanwhile, customers and internal users expect existing apps to continually improve and new apps to become available with innovative capabilities. Organizations must give their development and operations teams the tools they need to rapidly build and deploy robust mobile apps. Otherwise, they risk leaving money on the table.
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