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The potential and expectations set in mobile enterprise apps are soaring. The future is clearly a mobile one, but not only for consumers and individuals, but increasingly for enterprises. What are the factors that will be critical for enterprise mobility – and the entire enterprise mobile app development cycle – to be a success in the future? There are few solid foundations we know already that provide significant advantages to its users. Let’s drill more in details.

enterprise mobile app development

What we’ve learned working with some of the biggest enterprises building their apps for a variety of different users (employee groups), use cases, platforms, using myriad of different tools, and many other aspects? For Enterprise IT, mobility and mobile apps, in general, hold the potential to boost their productivity and drive business value of the entire organization. And to make the most of mobile apps, enterprises need to put in place a comprehensive mobility strategy that can work as a holistic approach, encompassing all aspects from mobile app development to security and connectivity.

Investments in Enterprise Mobile App Development

In the world of forecasts and surveys, every information provider has their own angle to dump from. According to the Red Hat’s mobile maturity survey, 90 percent of corporate IT decision-makers are preparing to increase their investments in mobile app development within the next 12 months at an average growth rate of 24 percent during that time. In this study, a majority of respondents think the open source is the key element in their mobile app development strategy. At the same time as a demand for enterprise mobile apps grows the rapid development and testing of enterprise apps become more challenging. The open source provides a natural fit as its solutions, tools as well techniques can make the enterprise app development happen at a much faster pace than currently.

mobile app development

Another interesting data point of view comes from Gartner’s forecast. The demand for enterprise mobile app development will grow significantly faster than IT organizations can deliver them. This is a well-known 5:1 demand-supply ratio and in order to deliver the exact mobile services required by enterprises business units, IT departments are not only looking into open source offerings, but more increasingly in agile technologies that can help them to tackle mobile app development and integration with Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaas), use of light-weight programming languages as well as integrated and readily available development stacks.

agile technologies

Mobile-First Mindset Requires Mobile Center of Excellence

As 55% of enterprises with a proper mobile strategy have an establishment of a mobile center of excellence these are pretty much those organizations that flourish and their best practices include Mobile Center of Excellence (MCoE). Without exceptions, all of these enterprises are embracing open source software and 85% say open source is critical or important in their mobile app development strategy. Also, interestingly a new era of light-weight languages has emerged: React Native (that allows you to build native iOS and Android apps with JavaScript) and NativeScript (that allows developing native iOS and Android apps from a single code base) is really emerging as the go-to frameworks for enterprise developers. The value proposition here is to use the same language for both major mobile platforms, and often the same language as the back-end uses (node.js used by 26% as their back-end development language).
open source react native
Both of these light-weight language examples enable developers to use a complete stack of cross-platform APIs that can be used to create a mobile app. One of the most remarkable benefits of using these languages is that it doesn’t only provide you direct access to those available stacks and cross-platform APIs, but also access to native APIs. We believe these enforce best practices of IT architecture, building up the fantastic user experience, proper security policies and standards across the enterprise – and all their mobile apps.

Build for Real Use Cases, Build for Real Devices

At Bitbar it is interesting to see the demand for multi-device support at the enterprise. Mobile devices are ubiquitous. There is a growing range of different devices, form factors and platforms available in the market, and in use at enterprises as well as consumers. Enterprises should be wary of standardizing their apps on any one device. No matter how powerful and feature-rich, they can become obsolete in a very short time. There is no point in deploying a complex mobile solution that only works on a specific high-end device if the manufacturer plans to replace and withdraw support after only a short period.
real devices for mobile app development in the enterprise
According to the study by Dimensional Research, in mobile app development and testing, 72% of testing is done on real devices. Some other information providers and forecasters say that the number is even close to 90%. This yields that need for real device testing, especially in enterprise mobile app development, is an absolute must. Developers and QA want to use real devices to verify user experience. Furthermore, in this study, the conclusion was that real devices were necessary to validate the true app performance in 78% of the companies and 69% wanted to verify the user interface appearance and functionality on real devices rather than emulators.

When Cloud Comes Into Play with Enterprise Mobile App Development

The fastest, easiest, and the most low-cost way for enterprises to achieve multi-platform enterprise mobility, but not sacrificing security or performance? The answer is a private cloud with dedicated infrastructure, devices and network, all hosted for its users (as a service).
private cloud for enterprise mobile app development and testing
When the production of the enterprise mobile services are in cloud (for instance, as Mobile Back-Ends-as-a-services like FeedHenry, IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure), it is expected that the development and testing infrastructure also is acquired from cloud, with the same OpEx funding model than the production without a need to build and operate anything in-house.

“It is expected that the development and testing infrastructure also is acquired from cloud, the same OpEx funding model than the production without a need to build and operate anything in-house.”

Not a surprise, but the importance of product pricing has significantly gone down in the priority list of enterprises. Traditionally, one of the most important criteria for product acquisition used to be product pricing. But things have truly changed and enterprises are seeing the total cost of ownership (TCO) a burden and that has opened the business for cloud-based approaches. When someone is doing all that hosting for you, devices, infrastructure, operations, additional infrastructure and also provide you technical assistance whether in form of product support, installations or DevOps manner, you’ll be offered tremendous value.

Enterprise App Development and Testing on Cloud Service

With our versatile product options, our users can test all their mobile apps (native, mobile web and hybrid apps, made with for example React Native or NativeScript), on real devices. This type of service fits extremely well also for enterprises as it scales from literally from few devices to thousands of different combinations with hardware, software, infrastructure and network configurations.

Bitbar Testing users can adopt any of these product options and build up a complex and versatile cloud device farm with literally any mobile devices, required infrastructure, and all in minutes. Furthermore, this setup can be used securely with any developers, testers, QA, DevOps, analysts, or any other part of the organization. IT can easily share access to the service and infrastructure, and control the capacity, costs and updates with a cloud infrastructure of their choice.

Feature Recommendations for Enterprise Mobile Apps

Enterprises building their apps must have an enterprise-grade cloud, with enterprise-grade security, connectivity and feature set. In order to make the cloud as an enterprise solution, the secure access is a must to have: the Bitbar Enterprise solution supports enterprise-level features like secure real VPN access for testing of pre-production apps, APIs and back-ends; single-tenant cloud services; dedicated network infrastructure and dedicated non-shared mobile devices.

Marko Kaasila

Bitbar CEO & Co-founder