As the mobile ecosystem continues to grow, app development emerges as a crucial component fuelling its growth. While initially mobile app development was solely focused on consumer apps, today, with the growth of the digital enterprise, developing enterprise mobile apps are becoming a top priority for most organizations. According to a report by 451 Research, 50% of IT organizations plan to deploy a minimum of 10 mobile apps over the next two years. With the growing number of mobile devices within the enterprise, the demand for the enterprise app store is on an increase. In fact, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2017, “the demand for developing mobile apps will grow at least five times faster than IT can deliver them”.
Organizations are moving away from the all-in-one kitchen sink apps and are keen on developing tailored apps that suit the enterprise demands. However, this comes with its own set of challenges as enterprise apps have to have secure client-server infrastructure, user-friendly distribution, and efficient administration. It wouldn’t be off the mark to say that, to cater to these demands, app development within the enterprise is approaching the age of industrialization where development costs can be minimized and distribution can be increased easily with the help of Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD).
What is RMAD?
Jason Wong, principal research analyst at Gartner says, Rapid Mobile App Development or RMAD has the potential to “unleash app dev in a big way,” within the enterprise.
- RMAD uses code- free programming tools to accelerate the process of creating applications for use on mobile platforms. This code-less environment enables developers to simplify app development by making it faster by breaking down the entire app development process.
- With code free development, people with minimal knowledge of coding can also build an app using a platform thus easing the rigor of app building. This process allows developers churn out applications in response to the business demands and provides the employees opportunities to drive productivity and innovation.
- RMAD also reduces the cost of developing an app since the organization only has to purchase the platform to develop the mobile app once and can continue to develop more apps on it without worrying about the monetary economics.
- Considering that people are now getting used to “lightning fast access” to everything, including sensitive enterprise data, RMAD is enabling the enterprises to clear out the app request backlogs and is providing developers a simpler way to develop mobile apps for employees.
Here are a few things that enterprises need to keep in mind while adopting this process for app development.
Ensure Data Protection:
While RMAD makes app development easier, organizations need to ensure that the application also scales the security parameters easily. This can be done by having built-in security for all applications created on the platform and also by taking a closed-security approach. This makes sure that the app security does not get compromised with each new release and also makes sure that only the relevant parts are revealed to the user. Data can also be protected by adopting a metadata-driven model and enabling data storage on-premise or on the cloud rather than on the device.
Mitigating the Integration Challenge:
RMAD accelerates app development. However, to be completely useful within the enterprise it has to facilitate powerful customizations on, both, the backend and frontend. Considering that the enterprises are replete with extremely skilled enterprise app developers, RMAD should be primarily targeted to remove only the productivity and expense hurdles associated with app development. It should at no time compromise the innovation quotient of the developers. Having a flexible and open architecture and the ability to integrate with standards-based approaches becomes essential.
Future- Proofing’ RMAD:
When selecting an RMAD platform, it is critical to look at scalability. Identifying how the RMAD platform generates code, how it manages the code, what are the maintenance obligations, access options from different devices are some of the things to be considered to assess how ‘future-proof’ the platform is. While creating and managing a few apps on the RMAD platform is easy, enterprises need to assess how they are going to manage the apps when they start increasing in numbers and easily identify who should use them and when for a greater ROI.
Clearly, the benefits of RMAD are many and quite tangible. However, just like custom app development, CIO’s here, too, need to ensure that the app strategy, security, and usability are accounted for and ensure that they manage these apps conveniently and correctly to experience the true benefits that RMAD has to offer