In our previous post in this series, we talked about the three shifts you need to make to set your mobile apps apart. As you implement your winning strategy, plan to tackle the six common challenges discussed below, ranging from meeting demand to post-release improvement.
Discover how industry leaders tackle these issues in the e-book, Out-mobile the competition: Learn how to set your apps apart with mobile DevOps and the cloud.
Challenge #1: Mounting demand for apps
In response to the mobile explosion, enterprises have recognized the need to deliver exceptional mobile experiences to their business stakeholders, customers, and employees. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that, by 2018, the number of enterprise mobile apps will double and spending on mobility will reach 50% of enterprise IT budgets.1
How will your organization meet your users’ growing demand for mobile apps when it exceeds your teams’ ability to deliver?
Begin by examining your existing resources and internal processes—from team structure to technology investments—to determine if your current infrastructure allows you to quickly build and continuously deliver many high-quality apps for various device types, scenarios, and audiences.
Challenge #2: Talent shortage
Per a 2014 Forrester survey, 50% of organizations had fewer than five developers in-house, barely enough to field a single mobile team.2 Fast forward to 2017: Do you have enough developers to cover your needs, including building, testing, and maintaining mobile apps, for each of the major platforms—or do you require additional talent? Do those developers need to be trained on new languages, tools, or platforms?
Challenge #3: Device fragmentation
Since you can’t predict your users’ preferred devices, your apps need to work well on as many form factors, operating systems, and hardware configurations as possible. While managing multiple operating system updates and device fragmentation can be costly—the number of different Android devices alone more than doubled between 2013 and 20153—it’s necessary to ensure the seamless experiences your users expect.
Challenge #4: Adequate testing and QA
Mobile quality is critical to adoption and engagement but adds another layer of complexity to the release cycle. Manual testing is not a long-term solution: it is expensive, labor intensive, can’t scale with rapid release cycles, and usually involves only a small number of available devices. Expanding device coverage using simulators may appear to lower expenses, but this provides a false sense of security, since simulators cannot faithfully reproduce real-world hardware operating conditions.
Automated UI testing and beta distribution are critical to releasing apps that meet—and exceed—users’ expectations. Teams rapidly validate that apps work as expected, identify and prioritize issues, and distribute to internal and external testers for feedback and suggestions. Development teams can catch issues early in the release process and avoid adding new features on top of faulty code, while QA teams can focus on triaging and quickly fixing issues.
Challenge #5: Innovation with security
Five-star app experiences are more than just a pretty UX. Successful apps must provide standout utilities—examples include proactive recommendations or personalized notifications based on user need, activity, or environment—while ensuring secure, reliable access to the same local or cloud-based files, services, and systems of record as traditional apps. On top of that, your users expect mobile apps to include unique capabilities like contextual push notifications and offline data sync. And all this infrastructure must be able to scale to millions of users as your app takes off.
Cloud and hybrid cloud technologies allow organizations to securely connect their systems while also giving users the on-the-go access they need to be productive. Use of cloud platforms also enable updates at scale, with offline access and push capabilities, plus critical security services like permissions management and user authentication.
Challenge #6: The “after launch”
Many teams focus on getting apps out the door but fail to account for post-launch maintenance and analysis. This mistake robs developers of a continuous feedback loop that is essential to maintaining quality. Abandoning apps (by not updating them) is essentially a waste of current investments.
Teams that capture post-release analytics better understand where their future efforts can make the most impact. By monitoring apps in the wild, your organization can understand the complete range of critical services your users expect, and you can properly identify and prioritize new features and bug fixes based on hard data and real user feedback, thereby continuously delivering value to your users and your business.
Overcome these challenges with mobile DevOps and the cloud
With Microsoft’s mobile DevOps technology and cloud platform, you can not only avoid these common pitfalls, but continuously deliver apps that users love, and drive your business forward. Mobile DevOps automates every stage of the mobile lifecycle, from planning to continuous improvement, with secure connections to cloud services which enable you to quickly deliver the capabilities your users demand and scale for any scenario.
See how Microsoft can help you make mobile your competitive advantage: Out-mobile the competition: Learn how to set your apps apart with mobile DevOps and the cloud.
|Cormac Foster, Senior Product Marketing Manager
Cormac is responsible for mobile Product Marketing. He came to Microsoft from Xamarin, where he was responsible for Analyst Relations and thought leadership. Prior to Xamarin, Cormac held a variety of roles in software testing, research, and marketing.
1. IDC, “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mobility 2017 Predictions,” November 2016, http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US41334316
2. Forrester Report, “The State of Mobile App Development: Few eBusiness Teams Keep Pace With Customer App Expectations,” March 23, 2015, https://www.forrester.com/report/The+State+Of+Mobile+App+Development/-/E-RES120267
3. OpenSignal “Android Fragmentation Visualized” report, August 2015, https://opensignal.com/reports/2015/08/android-fragmentation/