Today smartphone has become man’s best companion. We interact with the virtual world through our mobile phones and this is more time than how much we interact with our families. Why mobile apps? How is it necessary for any business? Let us have a look at some statistics that would help you make up your mind on why your business needs a mobile app.
- There will be 1 billion smartphone customers by 2016, with 257 million smartphones and 126 million tablets in the U.S. (Forrester)
- Only 11% of end users access business application from the corporate office 100% of the time (Cisco)
- 85% of enterprises have no plans to hire a mobile leader (refer)
- Mobile app testing consumes a quarter of IT budget (CIO post)
- Mobile 4G connection to grow from 203 million in 2013 to 1.5 billion by 2015 (Cisco)
- 75% of fortune 500 companies are taking steps to deploy Hybrid Mobile apps (IBM)
Above statistics indicates that “mobilizing your enterprise” is not a choice anymore. Mobile apps have become the fastest and most effective tools to engage with customers and they have now become an integral part of the enterprise strategy for businesses.
Every company at some point would need to
- Build mobile apps for existing systems and/or
- Build new mobile apps to cater to the changing business environment and customer needs
These apps would fall into one of the following categories
- Consumer facing apps
- Enterprise facing apps
These apps would be targeted to one or many of the following mobile platforms:
Also, there is a wide variety of device form factors to be considered
- TV (e.g. Android TV)
- Wearable devices (e.g. Google Glass, Cardboard)
The business team needs to analyze the following factors before planning for any mobile application.
- If the app is an enterprise facing or consumer facing?
- Which OS platforms are of strategic importance?
- For enterprise apps, the choice between BYOD vs purchasing specific devices.
- Time to market.
- Integration with external devices (printers, card readers, barcode scanners etc.)
- Last but not least – the budget
These decisions may or may not be made in consultation with the IT team. However, these become the baseline or boundary conditions within which the IT team needs to make some of the critical technology decisions. The next big question is whether the IT team can build the mobile application or if an expert needs to be hired to build it. More often than not, existing IT teams may not have the entire skill set to build and package a multi-platform mobile application. In such cases, it makes sense to hire an expert mobile application developer or company.
The approach has the following advantages.
- In the ever-changing landscape of mobile technology, finding and sustaining a team is hard and expensive.
- Companies find it very hard to find talent and train them in new technologies.
- Time to market and MVP (Minimum Viable Product) are the new mantras even to large enterprises. Tailor-made and dynamic processes are required for companies to achieve this.
- Developing an in-house testing strategy for mobility testing is hard and expensive.
- Companies need to adopt the right tools and strategies to test the apps across devices, platforms, form factors and platform versions.
- Unlike typical IT projects, the time to market for mobile apps is 3 – 4 months. This means that companies would need on-demand scaling.
- This gets even more complicated when the app needs to be developed across platforms (iOS/Android etc.).
Choosing a platform
The decision of the target platforms is taken based on the business needs of the company. There are however instances where the IT team can influence this decision.