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Enterprise Mobile App Development 2021

Mobile application development is becoming increasingly essential for enterprises that expect employees to work from their devices and need platforms and business services to be better integrated.

Put simply, enterprise mobile applications are intended to make company processes better, smoother, and more flexible. 

Here, we focus on the importance of enterprise application development, specifically mobile, and its ramifications for businesses. Mobile app creation and deployment, at the very least, allows enterprises to keep up with the demand for new services and integrations. At best, it revolutionizes how employees and an entire company accesses their data and applications.

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Enterprise mobile app development

Enterprise mobile application development is the creation of mobile software that is specific to an organization. The software is designed to meet a corporate need.

Enterprise application development is either done from scratch by an organization's developers or purchased as a service from an application development provider, including with an application development platform. 

For some enterprises, mobile application development is available to non-programmers and non-developers, too. No-code and low-code development platforms allow "citizen developers" to design business apps without knowing code extensively. 

The app should ideally be able to run on all platforms, including web and desktop, but the developer has prioritized that the app runs on mobile devices. This concept is sometimes referred to as mobile-first development.

Mobile first occurs because so many companies now either require employees to use their mobile devices for work or allow it because it's more convenient. The 2020 pandemic forced many businesses to use personal devices for work, and mobile applications make it easier for employees to access company accounts from their own devices.

smartphone apps screen hands

Courtesy Adobe.

Elements of enterprise mobile app development

Creating applications requires both back-end and front-end development. The front end of an app encompasses what the user will interact with: the design, layout, UX, and markup language, if a web app. The back end includes servers and software stacks, which the user does not see and power the application. Both the front and back end use programming languages.

Good application development also involves testing an application during the development process. This includes testing the app’s functionality and ease of use on different mobile user interfaces. 

There are two approaches to enterprise app development: monolithic and microservices. 

Monolithic development is traditional: all parts of an application are interconnected. They work together, and they're generally inextricable. 

Microservices, on the other hand, are smaller components of a development architecture. Components are compartmentalized and isolated, and they don't all need each other to at least partially run.

Using microservices for development allows isolated components to be reused to create other applications. Because parts aren't tied to one specific application before they can run, they can be placed in other apps. The problem with microservices is that they can create unknowns about business processes: enterprises may find it more difficult to see exactly how their business is running by just looking at developed applications. 

Considerations

For enterprises that want a third party to develop their applications, many app development platforms exist. 

A good mobile app development platform for enterprises should have at least a few of the following characteristics:

  • Real-time updates and alerts so that any bugs or problems within the app can be addressed by an administrator or IT 
  • An interface that's at somewhat easy to learn so in-house developers can pick it up quickly
  • The ability to preview steps during the development process so teams can see what the app will look like before it's launched
  • Good reporting features that allow teams to optimize application performance
  • Testing for pre-launch stages 
  • A comprehensive security solution that's easy to use: mobile app security is especially important for enterprises, and it should be woven into the development process from the start so a new application doesn't allow a way to mine data from other company apps

It's difficult for organizations to set up mobile applications. A mobile app infrastructure requires a different setup than web applications, and mobile applications need good security and employee device management software once installed. Businesses may not have the resources to pour into mobile application development. 

Regardless of an enterprise’s ability to design and implement mobile applications, though, the industry is quickly moving toward mobile-first workplaces. Enterprise-specific mobile applications give businesses more flexibility to carry out tasks from personal devices and off the web. 

Enterprise mobile app development best practices 

App development firms should provide a list of platforms and software they'll be using as well as anything else important so enterprises know exactly what to expect and what technology will power their app. 

Mobile application development platforms with good reporting capabilities allow enterprises to continue improving the app's performance. Employees and any other users, such as vendors, should be able to provide feedback, and enterprises should be prepared to perform maintenance on an active application, including updated security and features. 

Mobile applications also benefit when they draw their data from an organized and standardized pool, according to Michael Shearer, the senior director of digital strategy and innovation at Claravine, an enterprise data standardization company. For many years, enterprises haven't been holding to the data standards that are intended to improve data management.

"Databases referenced by mobile apps that have standards applied will be more valuable because whatever their application/use is, it is more likely to be able to be tied to business objectives," Shearer said.  

"All the mobile data the app uses/creates can be pushed into a data lake and associated/analyzed via the adherence to these standards without data science teams having to clean it up."

Security

Enterprises continue to learn how important security is to all their technology. This includes mobile applications; in fact, mobile applications are one of the most critical sectors for advanced security. 

Because mobile applications are designed to facilitate mobile device use for work, they go hand in hand with bring your own device (BYOD) mobile policies. Though BYOD helps businesses accomplish more tasks out of the office, it also poses a security risk. When employees use their own phones and tablets for work, they have more leeway and opportunity to download malware or apps that could steal company data. 

Mobile applications, if not designed with security features from the beginning of the development process and monitored carefully, can also pose a threat to other company apps and data. Insecure applications create an opening for future data theft or network infiltration.

Enterprise mobile app development market

The COVID-19 pandemic applied pressure to businesses to start using mobile apps more quickly and frequently. 

Mobile applications that streamline business processes and communication help teams that are separated geographically. 

Businesses also need new applications related to the coronavirus, such as employee safety tracking and remote work planning. Health care facilities can benefit from new applications to coordinate services. 

DevSecOps — which combines development, security, and operations — is a term that refers to security practices being initially included in app development, baking security in at the beginning. 

The global DevSecOps market is growing and will continue to grow over the next six years  — as enterprise-level application development increases along with it.

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enterprise apps, Enterprise, application development, enterprise application, mobile devices, enterprise development, mobile application development, mobile devices and apps