By Zahid Jiwa, VP UK & Ireland for OutSystems
Mobile applications have come a long way. Just 15 years ago you were lucky to have the game Snake installed on your phone (remember?). Today mobile apps have become so integral to both our working and daily lives that I find it hard to believe we were happy with such limited options. Recent research undertaken by TechValidate and commissioned by OutSystems, the “State of Application Development Report” shows that 43% of companies now rank mobility as their top business functionality. The research also shows that they are struggling to keep up with the speed with which mobile technology is advancing.
The enterprise has already embraced the mobile and app revolution; the majority of businesses have created their first applications and are now looking at how they can integrate and bring those legacy systems into 2015. Organisations may be making the leap into the cloud or creating a responsive design site, but today’s app development has to build on what we already have.
When I speak to customers I often find that they need a solution that will integrate into their current systems and the research also highlights this need to integrate. 79% of companies surveyed said they have to integrate their applications into existing technology with the majority of businesses having to ensure that their new applications integrate with up to 15 different existing systems.
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Despite the plethora of pre-packaged solutions available, most businesses still need to either develop their own bespoke solution or to customise certain parts in order to match their individual needs. As a result, organisations are seeking alternative solutions to app development that will simplify the process while allowing for rapid development on a budget, all while taking into account existing technology requirements.
It was also interesting to read in the research that the dominant mobile architecture is now Mobile Web (60%) and Hybrid (65%) with only 26% of enterprises planning to develop apps using Native mobile architectures. Does this mean that the traditional application is dead? Of course not, but it does further illustrate that mobile technology is evolving again and companies need to produce solutions that will continue to be relevant moving forward. I think the latest generation of enterprise apps are a lot more forward thinking than they were previously as architectures such as responsive design allow developers to update continuously, incorporating a DevOps culture into the organisation.
Over half of the organisations surveyed planned to build the majority of their apps with a mobile component, so it would appear that smartphones are still the dominant force over alternatives such as Microsoft and Chromebook’s PC app stores, at least when it comes to enterprise applications.
So how can organisations speed mobile development and meet integration needs? In my opinion, a mobile application development platform (MADP) should allow companies to develop the bespoke apps they need three to six times faster than traditional methods, not to mention the cost savings over hiring an external development team. A good MADP will also enable organisations to develop once and deliver across all devices, whether that is native or responsive design, as it is important for organisations to offer all options and future-proof for upcoming developments.
Clearly this is a period of change for mobile app development. I wouldn’t like to predict what percentage of development will go into the cloud or how important it will be to integrate the existing apps into future development, but what I can say is that this research shows that mobile is still the most important technology for the enterprise moving forward. Now is the time to invest in your mobile infrastructure and prepare for how you are going to implement a strong, cutting edge development strategy that prepares your business for the future.
For the full survey results, visit www.outsystems.com/1/mobility-custom-apps-report