The great apps drought – can it be prevented?

What about codeless mobile apps?

Not all enterprise mobile apps need complex coding, features and integrations. "There are plenty of business use cases for the rapid creation of mobile apps that don't require any coding skills," says Cathal McGloin, VP Mobile Platforms at Red Hat. "Three key areas to consider for using these codeless mobile apps are fast prototyping to quickly gather feedback on app ideas, replacing a simple paper form process with a form-based mobile app, and creating a disposable app that responds to a one-off event, requiring fast launch and short life," he adds. After all, not every mobile app needs to be complicated to be powerful.

What are rapid mobile app development tools?

Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) tools are fast replacing traditional coding; at present, they appear to be the only way to meet the surging demand for apps. "They are tools that provide ready-to-use building blocks to create apps," explains Levallois. "One can create simple apps at a very low cost with these systems." Gartner reports that 26% of organisations develop apps in-house, while 55% outsource at least to some degree.

"These approaches are allowing those with no programming skills or coding ability, such as people in business roles, to rapidly assemble mobile app prototypes and continuously iterate on these designs," adds Leow on the topic of RMAD tools.

There's no need to bother creating bespoke apps for common tasks

There's no need to bother creating bespoke apps for common tasks

Is app development a high enough priority in organisations?

That depends on who you ask, and in what sector they work in. "If you are the CEO of a financial services firm with 5,000 desk-bound staff, you would probably be running Microsoft Office 365 across your workforce, with internal app development being a low priority," says Johnson, who suggests that a very mobile, specialised workforce reliant on the quick movement and access of data demands a very different approach to apps. "You might be spending a fair amount of your budget on developing apps to reduce data lag, improve transactional ability and business agility," he adds.

What's the most difficult and time-consuming part of app development?

It's subjective, again depending on the organisation and the industry they belong to, but it's always best to know what kind of commitment is required before kicking off a project. "When looking at any initiative it's key to identify what aspect of the project will be the most time-consuming and complex," says Luchetti. "To do this we need to look at the key success factors for mobile implementation," he adds, listing the GUI and functionality, integration, security, change management and tech requirements

"Have you defined the backend systems that the app will integrate with, are the APIs available that are required, and can they support mobile data consumption/performance," says Luchetti about integration.

Change management also requires careful thought. "Do you understand what you need to have in place to drive awareness and adoption within your organisation or with your community of users, or with your customers?" asks Luchetti. "Are there training or business deployment activities required?"

It's also critical to think about the tech, and about whether a custom build, off-the-shelf or built-in app would work best, and about what platforms need to be supported.

There's a demand for apps that the industry just can't meet

There's a demand for apps that the industry just can't meet

All about priorities

In the end, it's all about priorities. "Mobile development teams are overstretched and have difficulty effectively delivering the growing number of mobile apps in their queues," says Leow. "The result is apps being built on a first-come, first-served basis, with the line of business making the most noise having its needs met first." 'Whoever shouts loudest' is no way to efficiently use IT resources to produce effective mobile apps.

Organisations tend to be as slow to react in terms of apps, as they were for websites. "For websites, they moved in the 2000s from 'our business doesn't really need it' to 'it is a basic requirement'," says Levallois. "For apps, many organisations still consider them as peripheral to their core business … but this is slowly evolving."

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),