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Mobile App Developers: "Shadow IT" May Be Your Best Friend

If you've struggled in corporate confines to get a mobile web application software built and launched, whether you're the developer yourself, or whether you're a business expert asking that one be built, you're not alone. Enterprise mobile apps are in high demand, with the need for more mobile applications growing daily. Unfortunately, IT departments are increasingly have difficulty delivering important apps quickly. The Standish Group's CHAOS Report, for example, found that in 2012 far more IT projects either failed or were "challenged" than succeeded: Only 39% succeeded, while 43% were challenged, and 18% failed. And a recent white paper sponsored by Outsystems warns that: "IT is stuck in a development cycle where it has little flexibility for change and is frequently late to the game with new systems. When released, applications are often not up to par, and in many instances, misaligned with business requirements that have since evolved during the slow development process."

The App Developer's Answer: Shadow IT

What's the answer if you want to get a mobile app built quickly? "Shadow IT" Shadow IT refers to a phenomenon in which departments and individual developers go their own way, and build apps using software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions or tools that allow developers to quickly and easily build and deploy sophisticated solutions - or even allow technically astute business people to build them themselves. If you do this, you won't be an outlier. A report by Frost & Sullivan titled "The Hidden Truth Behind Shadow IT" found that more than 80% of respondents to a survey said that they used non-IT-approved SaaS applications while doing their jobs. The report also found that 35% or more of all SaaS apps in a corporation typically "are purchased and approved without oversight." The key, of course, is making sure that the app development tool you use is effective, reliable, easy-to-use and affordable. It should include future-facing tools such being able to build mobile apps that work when offline as well as online. And it should mesh well with your existing IT architecture. Ideally it wouldn't even have to be Shadow IT at all — it would be best if it could be included as part of IT department's suite of tools. Keep in mind that not uncommonly, useful hardware and software first enters a business at the department level, and eventually makes its way to IT. For evidence, witness the BYOD explosion. So what starts as Shadow IT may eventually get its place in the sun.


View our tutorial: How to Build a Mobile App


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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.

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.