Enterprise Apps Must Be Developed Both Faster and More Carefully

Carl Weinschenk
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Seven Must-Have Features for Great Mobile Apps

Application development is a vital and ever-changing part of the mobile ecosystem. Now, there are rumblings that a new approach is necessary. Research sponsored by Kinvey points to dissatisfaction on the part of CIOs about mobile app creation. Half of those surveyed, according to the story at Associations Now, think that it takes too long to build an app. More than half says it takes seven months to a year and 35 percent think it takes less than six months.

A big problem, according to the survey, is lack of a cohesive central strategy. Seventy-five percent of respondents say that product lines and “individual functions” drive development. The process may be changing, however: 54 percent of those who answered the survey say they will standardize development and 63 percent will utilize cloud approaches.

The call to change is being heard. Forrester released a report on the transitions occurring in the mobile app development sector. It identifies eight. The top four: Standalone apps will fade; hardware changes will create new opportunities; and mobile competition will shift to both accessories and ecosystems. The other four changes and details on all of them are available at the ReadWrite story on the Forrester research.

These and other changes must be integrated carefully. A good start is to not fix the parts that are not broken. Developers should carefully consider best practices that have emerged over time. Entrepreneur has a list of things that companies developing their own apps should think about. Firms should choose carefully between iOS, Android or Windows; avoid writing mobile apps as mere mini-versions of the website; consider monetization and marketing issues carefully and have the organization – not customers – be the beta testers.

It also should be kept in mind that mobile apps are performing increasingly important roles. CIO has an interesting story about an app that has to be perfect from day one. The application, which will help keep nuclear power plants safe, is built by Westinghouse for its new AP1000 nuclear plant. The plant is involved in two years of testing of the 100 internal systems that must be kept operational. The app, which will be tasked with streamlining the process, has been in development for two years as well:

And the development of an application to streamline that process is also expected to take that long, on top of two years already spent searching for the right mobile development partner and toolkit. Work began this year with vendor Copper Mobile, and the application won't be live until 2016.

The story does a good job of describing the great demands that will be put on the app, which will hold 100,000 pages of tests that can be run as many as six times. The app can cut testing time, improve safety and save $120,000 in paper costs annually.

App development is a time-consuming and complex job. It also is changing as the underlying elements and the needs of users evolve. Organizations building their own apps need to pay careful attention to all of these moving parts.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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