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According to various studies, the majority of retailers are yet prioritizing customer-facing programs over strategic infrastructure improvements, choosing to invest in data capture for marketing purposes and pricing programs over mobile platforms and improved delivery. This is really surprising finding as mobile-first initiatives are spreading across verticals and domains – and soon a significant majority of consumers ‘use mobile or web as their first data point to make their purchasing decisions.

Furthermore, according to these studies, these retailers are still way too often non-agile and slow to develop apps, often at their own expense. Just in line with this study, retailers looking to develop mobile applications may be facing a hurdle on the development side as a growing number of businesses have a backlog of mobile projects that can’t get out of the development phase. Because of this, application development with the right approach, tools and environments, mobile marketing and E/M-commerce are the top initiatives and priorities among retailers.

Slow mobile app development is hurting revenue

There are a couple of important aspects why every company that produces apps for consumers should be looking to accelerate the delivery of their mobile apps and use a variety of channels to provide those capabilities for consumers to buy – and among those, web experiences:

1. Very few consumers ACTUALLY USE mobile apps provided by retailers. Despite there is an app available for every need (or anticipated need that consumer might have) those apps aren’t used. Typically, those apps get in lost in the sea of apps.

2. When those apps aren’t used in volumes and for specific needs, retailers – or whoever that builds those apps – do NOT get feedback or cannot tweak the functionality of those apps to be more suitable for consumers.

3. Furthermore, many of those retailer apps are getting SLAMMED due to very bad functionality and quality. If the app gets 1.5 stars in any of those app markets, it is not likely to pop-up in search for consumers looking for new apps.

4. One of the topics for retail apps has been also compatibility with the logistical back-end systems. This is naturally where raw testing with a variety of different configurations will help to understand what sort of problems could there be and how to fix those.

With the average application Dev & Test & Delivery process taking between three and 12 months, this slow app development cycle is resulting in a competitive disadvantage. Mobile teams must use tools and techniques that match the increase in mobile app needs within their organizations.


From Complexity to Agility – Dev & Test & Delivery

Mobile development and delivery are complex processes that require independent services to be delivered in a coordinated, reliable, and efficient manner. All enterprise mobile teams should aspire to continuous improvement in these ways:

1. Release planning — small, frequent releases.

2. Continuous integration — each team’s work is continuously integrated with that of the development team and IT Operations.

3. Continuous testing.

4. Continuous delivery — automated deployment of software.

Naturally, we are in the business of embracing continuous integration, continuous testing, rapid feedback and continuous delivery. Automating this process increases reliability, quality and ensures that the app delivering what was required. Continuous testing is the most difficult part of the to application lifecycle process but can yield the highest returns in terms of user time and perceived application stability.

The rise of mobile brings major changes to traditional development methods. As Gartner explained at their recent Digital Workplace Summit, IT must adjust the way it manages product releases as the cadence of mobile release cycles speeds up.

In short, enterprises cannot approach a mobile development project in the same way that they approached traditional development projects of the past. Efficient and customer-satisfying mobile apps and especially development of those requires agility. But it also requires and delivers short release cycles – and delivers better return-on-investment.

Ville-Veikko Helppi

Mobile Testing Product Expert