Custom app development essential as mobile app strategies continue to mature

Just when you think you might be getting more familiar in and comfortable with the enterprise mobile device climate, continued innovation and change keeps you on your toes. The growing micro-app movement is a clear sign of this tendency, and the trend shows that businesses need to ramp up their development capabilities or risk falling behind the competition.

The mobile app environment is shifting again
When the bring- your- own- device movement first began to gain momentum, there was a great deal of thought that businesses would need to move email, social media and similar capabilities to mobile devices in order to make life easier for employees. What actually happened, however, was that users realized they could do just about anything they can accomplish a computer on their phones, so they demanded more. Shadow IT departments emerged as employees purchased their own solutions or, even more dangerously, downloaded consumer apps to help them work more efficiently.

IT teams were left scrambling, and the ensuing panic led to a wave of innovation over the past few years. Suddenly, the idea of the monolithic enterprise app was disappearing as IT departments were left to try and deploy efficient, easy-to-use mobile apps that would allow employees to work in more intuitive ways. For the IT department, it was either learn to roll out good mobile apps or risk rebellion in the form of users taking control of their own technology portfolios, something that presented a regulatory nightmare.

"Businesses are facing mounting pressure to roll out more mobile app solutions."

Through this transition period, it became increasingly clear that the days of rigid, dull and unwieldy enterprise apps were numbered. If a solution was given to users with a poor interface and limited collaboration tools, those workers would simply go find something else. So IT departments turned to technology consultants, got help from custom developers or simply changed their internal cultures in order to meet new end-user demands. We only just entered a period when many companies are not only using mobile apps, but getting better at creating and deploying them. Now, another disruption is hitting the marketplace – micro apps.

According to TechTarget, businesses are increasingly devoting development resources to the creation of applications designed to solve extremely specific operational problems. Instead of working to build robust, fully-featured apps that may tackle the work of entire teams or departments, micro apps identify a specific workflow or process and address the pain points involved in getting the job done. Myckel Aghnazari, director of IT emerging technologies for Flex, told the news source that more work is being done on smartphones than ever before. Adam Holtby, senior research analyst for Ovum, explained that the way employees typically interact with enterprise apps is fueling the rise of the micro app movement.

"Often, employees will interact only with a subset of functionality offered by a comprehensive legacy app," Holtby told TechTarget. "Micro apps … enable IT departments to quickly mobilize this subset of capabilities that are important to employees and commonly used, improving the user experience."

The micro app movement is focused on helping organizations get more precise and responsive as they work to keep up with end-user demands, a process that puts incredible pressure on development teams.

Adjusting in light of the micro app movement
Regardless of whether micro apps become the next big trend or if they are simply a natural evolution within the broader mobile development landscape, the reality is that businesses are facing mounting pressure to roll out more solutions and get them into production more quickly than ever. According to a Techaeris report, this new development climate often forces businesses to decide between innovation, cost reduction or an acceptance that they won't be as profitable in the past. Ultimately, organizations will be left behind if they don't innovate and simply choosing to reduce the value they can get from development isn't viable. Reducing costs is the only real option.

The news source explained that development outsourcing is becoming more popular because it can reduce costs compared to paying in-house teams to work on the same projects; accelerate time to delivery because a dedicated dev team is focused on the solution; and make it easier to bring in a global or future-thinking perspective into app creation. These capabilities can pay dividends as organizations work to keep pace with the demands of mobile development, particularly as micro apps create a situation where companies are pressured to roll out an extremely high volume of solutions.

At MC Services, we offer a full suite of technology consulting and custom mobile development services to help businesses adapt in this ever-changing technology climate. We'll work with you to understand your needs as a company and establish project specifications that align with your needs and your marketplace. Want to learn more about how we can help? Contact us today.