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Study: Development Backlog for Mobile Apps Negatively Impacts Revenue

app backlogs means bad news for financial numbersMobile business app demand is increasing, outpacing the rate application developers are able to deliver. As the mobile industry continues to innovate, businesses need to find a way to catch up and deliver mobile applications faster. New research conducted by independent research company Opinion Matters and published in BizCloud uncovers key mobile trend statistics.

Mobile Backlog has Negative Impact

The survey revealed that 85% of companies have a mobile backlog of between one and 20 applications, with a majority (50%) having a backlog of between 10 and 20 apps. With the average app taking anywhere between three and 12 months to get out the door, this slow approach to mobile app development is increasingly damaging revenue opportunities in the enterprise. Enterprises need to mobilize their workforce faster to realize benefits and stay competitive.

The study polled US and UK enterprises and found that organizations are currently struggling with a significant mobile backlog and unable to cope with business demands. The primary goal of these new mobile app initiatives is either to generate revenue (64%) or to improve the mobile experience of existing apps (58%).

“It’s clear that organizations are struggling to deal with a deluge of mobile app requests, multiple platforms to support, hundreds of change requests, and complex backend integrations,” the survey authors concluded and they then went on to say: “To make matters worse, as demand for mobile app developers grows, companies will continue to have a challenge hiring developers. Not only will they be increasingly hard to find, they will also be increasingly expensive.”

Mobile Development Challenges

The study, Mobile App Backlog is Directly Damaging Revenue in the Enterprise, identified the top challenges and trends in the mobile app development space. The full report also included segmentation and key differences by industry. Key findings include:

    • Mobility – A Top Priority – 99% of respondents recognize the importance of incorporating mobility into current and future applications in their organizations.
    • Growing Demand for Mobile Apps – In the last 12 months, just over half (51%) of respondents have undertaken between one and five mobile app projects and 44% have undertaken between six and 10. This means that over a 12 month period 95% of respondents have undertaken somewhere between one and 10 mobile app projects.
    • Money Spinner for the Enterprise - When asked about the goal of new mobile app initiatives the top three cited were to generate revenue (64%), to improve the mobile experience of existing apps (58%), and to improve customer experience (52%).
    • Big Challenges - The top two challenges when building mobile apps are budget (53%) and time (50%). Other challenges ranged from a gap in skills needed to undertake mobile (36%), to both business (25%) and users (33%) having unrealistic expectations (total 58%), to not enough developers with the right level of skills (19%), to the development environment not currently being right for mobile  (17%). Only 4% of those surveyed said that they have no challenges when building mobile apps which means that 96% are grappling with issues of one nature or another.
    • Dealing with Growing Backlogs - 85% of companies surveyed noted that they have a mobile backlog of between one and 20 applications, with half (50%) having a backlog of between 10 and 20 apps.
    • Losing Competitive Advantage - Over half of the respondents surveyed (51%) stated that it was taking them on average between three and six months to build and deliver a complete mobile application. Amazingly, 6% of the survey respondents advised that it was sometimes taking up to one year to build and deliver mobile applications.
    • Increasing Demand for Mobile App Developer Skills - Nearly three quarters of the respondents reported to have between six and 15 developers working on their mobile app initiatives, and a further 21% are using somewhere between 16 and 30.
    • Hybrid versus Native versus HTML5 - When asked about their preferred type of mobile app development environment, one third voted for hybrid (33%), while 29% preferred native and 22% opted for HTML5/responsive design. 16% stated that this would vary on a case by case basis.
    • A Growing Developer Skills Shortage - 63% of the respondents had between 11% and 25% open vacancies for developers  as a percentage of their current team size. 29% had between 26% and 50% open vacancies. A very small percentage (6%) advised that they have no open vacancies due to a shortage of developer skills.
    • Top Skills in Demand - When asked if they have any open mobile application developer vacancies, the top three skills respondents had challenges hiring for were Java (31%), JavaScript (19%) and .NET (17%).
Opinion Matters surveyed 228 Application Development Directors/Managers in the US and UK during August and September 2014. The split between UK and US respondents was about equal, with around 50% from each territory (111 UK versus 117 US).

Meet Demand with Alpha Anywhere - A Rapid Mobile App Development Platform

At Alpha we understand these challenges and it is for these reasons we created Alpha Anywhere and why we focused on the key differentiators outlined on this page. Alpha Anywhere's rapid application development platform lets you produce mobile application fast, reducing the time to market. By utilizing a low code approach, you can close the app gap and mobilize your workforce faster with Alpha Anywhere without sacrificing the key features that enterprise-quality mobile applications demand.
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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi

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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.