Rapid Mobile App Development — Without Limits

Rapid Mobile App Development Will Empower Citizen Developers to Quickly Build Sophisticated Business Apps While Allowing IT to Maintain Some Control

Creation of mobile and web business apps by citizen developers using rapid mobile app development products is exploding.  Forrester Research projects the market for such citizen developer rapid mobile app development tools (a.k.a., mobile no code/low-code platforms) to be some $3 billion by 2020. Similarly, Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than half of all business apps will be created by citizen developers using rapid mobile app development tools.

While coding will always have high value for enterprises, to remain competitive, companies must move to agile development techniques to speed the mobilization of business processes, and respond to customer, partner and field organization demands in a mobile world. Rapid mobile app development platforms allow non-technical users, at the technical level of an Excel or PowerPoint user, to create sophisticated mobile and web apps for a fraction of time and cost of traditional native development or coding-intensive mobile app development platforms (MADP).  The best rapid mobile app development tools:

  • empower citizen developers to craft mobile and web apps, while still giving seasoned developers a coding-optional environment to meet enterprise requirements (such as security, data integration, etc.), when needed.
  • meet user needs by always working offline.
  • can easily integrate with corporate data sources, common enterprise databases, SaaS applications and REST services.

I recently wrote about the enterprise trend to empower citizen developers with rapid mobile app development platforms in the DZone article, “Are Citizen Developers the Future of Mobile?” and in the Alpha Software white paper, “The Democratization of Mobile and Web App Development.”

Some examples of Rapid Mobile App Development Apps Created by Citizen Developers

Below are two examples of business apps built by citizen developers using rapid mobile app development products:

  • Oxford Instruments tasked Superconducting Technology Business Analyst Sagrika Mehta with developing a solution that would let the company’s semiconductor shop floor workers reliably manage preventive action efforts in the manufacturing process directly from their tablets. Using the Alpha Anywhere rapid application development platform, she was able to prototype three mission-critical forms in just 2 days.  Only 30 days later Mehta had built, tested and deployed the full preventative action app, beating the business deadline. The RMAD app is now helping workers to identify and correct manufacturing issues faster than ever before.
  • DAIKIN/Goodman Territory Sales Manager Daniel Santucci needed to help contractors selling the company’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning products, while better tracking leads and sales. Using the Alpha Anywhere rapid app development platform, Santucci was able to build a mobile app in a month’s time to help his contractors better track and fulfill sales. He also built a web app so Goodman executives could tap into enterprise sales information. Goodman provides the mobile app for free to its partner contractors in the field who fix or install HVAC systems. The app helped Goodman generate and retain business tenfold, because it provided independent contractors with a free solution that helps them grow and manage their own businesses. Santucci was promoted to Division Pricing Director, in part due to his success mobilizing the sales organization.
  • Fast Mirror founder John Azzara Azzara wanted to use his extensive leadership experience in human resources to build a self-service Software as a Service (Saas) solution that would help human resources organizations address some of the challenges they are currently facing with performance feedback and professional development. He built the Fast Mirror subscription-based service by himself, including the SaaS framework and the capability to utilize API’s of existing platforms to integrate information into his SaaS solution. He finished the work in half the time a competing product would have taken.

These citizen developers were able to build sophisticated mobile and web apps without hiring outside mobile app developers. Because of the richness of the rapid mobile app development product they selected, they were able to leverage built-in security, data integration and offline capabilities, along with rich user experiences.

A Look at Rapid Mobile App Development Products by Gartner

In a past blog, we highlighted key points from Gartner’s Market Guide for Rapid Mobile App Development Tools. The report seeks to help enterprise buyers and decision-makers understand the key considerations when evaluating rapid mobile app development products and the differences between some of the leaders in the market. In the report, Gartner analysts introduce rapid mobile app development as a new approach that can help a wider range of business users develop mobile apps:

“Mobile app development is not just for coders and programmers. The growth of the RMAD market shows the pent-up demand for ‘coding-optional’ tools to build apps quickly and cost-effectively. Application development leaders should use this research to select tools that offer immediate business value.”

Gartner analysts further explain,

“Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) capabilities can range from creating simple, stand-alone mobile-only apps to sophisticated transactional apps with integration to enterprise data and workflows.”

The report offers comprehensive analysis of the rapid mobile app development market, including comparisons of product capabilities and functionality for vendors in the RMAD market. In the analysis, Alpha Anywhere emerges as one of the most robust products evaluated; it is one of only a few vendors that meet ALL of Gartner’s criteria of popular app features in a rapid mobile app development tool:

Source: Gartner Market Guide for Rapid Mobile App Development Tools (2016)

Source: Gartner Market Guide for Rapid Mobile App Development Tools (2016)

In reviewing Alpha Software for this report, Gartner analysts give Alpha Anywhere credit for:

  • Use of Cordova versus a proprietary container, which many of the vendors on this list employ. Alpha prides itself on being a standards-based, open architecture and the report reflects this strength.
  • Allowing custom coding/editing, and generating editable code that enables users to build a basic business app and also add customized code at any point. This flexibility, a key tenant of Alpha Anywhere, is becoming an increasingly important enterprise criterion.
  • Extensive training, mentoring and partner delivery options to fit a range of customer needs.  Many other vendors in the market do not have offerings in this area, which are so important to quickly getting a wide range of employees proficient on a platform.

The RMAD Market Guide has been a very popular read with Gartner clients since its release, and has been ranked highly on Gartner.com by readers. Gartner Research Director Jason Wong, a co-author of the report, explained that readership of the report is on par with that of the Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADP) Magic Quadrant, in which Alpha Anywhere was recognized for enterprise integration and rich client-side workflow.Due to heavy client interest in RMAD market trends and vendors, Gartner plans many more reports in 2016 and 2017.

We’re very pleased that report co-author Jason Wong will be attending this year’s Alpha DevCon in Danvers, MA. For more information on Alpha DevCon 2016, click here.

Gartner clients can download the full Market Guide for Rapid Mobile Application Development Tools report here.

To read more details about why Alpha Anywhere stands out in the market as an RMAD platform, click here.

To read the full Gartner Market Guide to Rapid Mobile App Development (published in 2016), click here. To compare how Gartner viewed the Rapid Mobile App Development market as it initially emerged and what’s changed since then, click here.

To learn more about what Rapid Mobile App Development without limits can deliver to your team, click here.

Read Mobile Advertising Watch’s recent story: “Alpha Software Delivers Offline Capable Rapid Mobile App Development and Deployment with No Limits to the Enterprise.”