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Forrester: How to Develop Mobile Applications for Multiple Platforms


Mobile business app demand is high. Having a good mobile development strategy for producing apps is key. Forrester just released a report about the current state of mobile app development, and it's not a pretty picture. Slow mobile application updates, poor infrastructure, and too few custom mobile apps built in-house are just a few of the problems. But the report also has suggestions on how to develop smartphone applications that fix those issues and more.

The report, "The State Of Mobile App Development," warns that because of the growth of mobile, "eBusiness pros have more irons in the fire than they can manage." A particular problem is that "Apps are multiplying like rabbits rather than products," because of high consumer demand. Even though almost half of the digital business professionals surveyed had fewer than three mobile apps, 9% had more than 21. It cites Nestlé as having more than 200 apps in the Apple App Store.

Because of this, apps aren't updated frequently enough. Gartner found that only 20% of companies update their apps at least monthly, which often isn't enough, particularly because bug fixes are needed. And 25% of those surveyed believe they don't update their apps as often as they should.

Not surprisingly, 35% of those surveyed say they simply don't have the resources to update their apps. Only 20% update apps at least monthly, 37% update only every two to three months, and 35% only update a couple of times per year or less.

How to Create Smartphone Applications and Minimize Risk

A major cause of all this, Forrester says, is a lack of developer talent in-house and a too-heavy reliance on external expertise. So Forrester recommends increasing in-house talent, and setting up permanent mobile IDEA teams for each app. This team should be composed of from four part-time to full-time people with design, development, testing, and analytics expertise.

Companies should use caution before hiring outside talent to build native apps, and instead rely on internal staff when possible. They should also choose the right technologies for app development - technologies that will make it easy to maintain apps, and write fast updates. In addition, companies should recognize that there will be significant integration challenges in working with CRM systems, multiple databases, supply chain management apps, and more.

Finally, one of the report's most important recommendations is to to choose the right tools and frameworks for building apps for multiple platforms.

Learn how to develop smartphone applications the right way
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About Author

Dion McCormick
Dion McCormick

Dion McCormick, Lead Solutions Engineer at Alpha Software, is a recognized expert on agile application development. He helps enterprise development teams around the world transition from slow legacy approaches to high-performance mobile, web, and desktop development using the Alpha Anywhere platform.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.