Enterprise IT organizations have been trying to solve the mobile app development riddle for more than a decade. The challenge has been that mobile operating systems, devices, programming languages and frameworks continue to evolve and mature, often at a much faster pace than other technology areas, such as the underlying systems of record applications. Likewise, mobile user expectations for app UX and capabilities are ever-increasing due to the impact of consumer apps. Unlike investments in traditional enterprise software (such as ERP or CRM), an investment in mobile development tools is often short-lived, as technologies change and business requirements evolve.
Moreover, the proliferation of mobile app development tools, frameworks and platforms has added to the complexity of delivering mobile apps. Developers may naturally gravitate toward native development tools (that is, Apple Xcode and Google Android Studio), or other open-source, manual coding tools and frameworks (for example, React Native, NativeScript or Apache Cordova). According to a 2016 Gartner survey, these tools are used by a large percentage of organizations as part of internal mobile app development (54% use native SDKs and 45% use open-source tools). However, these low-level tools alone require large teams of skilled developers in order to deliver mobile apps at scale and velocity. That’s when application development leaders turn to implementing a platform strategy to instill reuse, portability and governance, thereby enabling faster and more productive development cycles. The Gartner survey showed that companies that use mobile app development platforms (MADPs) tend to have a higher number of apps deployed than those that don’t have one. Moreover, a platform approach helps achieve higher-level business objectives.
A MADP can serve as the cornerstone technology for a broad enterprise mobile strategy, but for organizations with complex infrastructure requirements and business needs, a MADP alone is often not enough. Enterprises must adopt a mix of MADP, rapid mobile app development (RMAD) tools and mobile back-end services (MBS) in order to ensure a flexible and extensible platform that will stand up to the constant changes in mobility. However, enterprises need to consolidate core functionalities within key platforms as much as possible to prevent tools proliferation.
You may also notice that some MADP, MBS and RMAD vendors fall into other development technology categories in Gartner research, including hpaPaaS (high-productivity application platform as a service), hcaPaaS (high-control platform as a service), and iBPMS (intelligent business process management suite). Mobility is becoming the norm, thus other platforms and tools have added some core mobile services and functions (such as offline data synchronization and push notifications) to support mobile app development.
A multifaceted approach to mobile app development offers a resilient platform strategy. Application leaders responsible for mobile app strategies must contend with constant change in mobile technologies, as well as ever-increasing user and enterprise expectations. These Gartner research notes will guide you towards understanding the various technologies in building your resilient mobile development platform.
- Mix MADP, RMAD and MBS for a Resilient Mobile Platform Strategy
- Magic Quadrant for Mobile App Development Platforms
- Market Guide for Rapid Mobile App Development Tools
- Market Guide for Mobile Back-End Services
- Magic Quadrant for Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service
- Magic Quadrant for Intelligent Business Process Management Suites