Image: TimesHigherEducation
Image: TimesHigherEducation

Small businesses can get ahead by launching mobile businesses apps. Malcolm Carroll, Director of Bluefinity discusses the benefits of mobile apps and how low code development tools are helping companies develop apps quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

 

The global app market is set to sky rocket. According to analyst firm App Annie the global mobile app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion by 2021, a 380 per cent jump from the $1.3 trillion app market in 2016.

During this same time-frame the number of app users is expected to almost double from 3.4 billion people to 6.3 billion while the time spent using apps will grow to 3.5 trillion hours in 2021, up from 1.6 trillion in 2016.

Mobile business apps are increasingly being used by companies to improve performance and gain a competitive edge. A well-designed business app can help firms stay up-to-date, have better interaction with their customers or manage business processes.

They have a multitude of uses; from making the sales order process easier for customers to managing inventory and helping companies collate timesheets and expense forms more efficiently.

Smaller businesses can’t afford to be left behind. However, while app development may be high on the priority list the process of developing and delivering apps to meet demand can be challenging.

According to Gartner, enterprises are responding slowly to increasing demand for mobile apps. They say the primary barriers to mobile initiatives are resources related — linked to a lack of funds, long worker hours and skills gaps.

Companies also face technical challenges, including the difficulty of creating proper business apps for multiple devices and operating systems, keeping up with changes in technologies and standards, as well as database and enterprise systems integration and synchronisation issues.

The solution many smaller companies are turning to is no code/low code development tools, such as rapid business app development platforms. These tools can transform the app development process and enable businesses to meet the explosion in demand for apps, without the need to recruit additional manpower.

The following are the five main benefits of low code tools:

Bridging the skills gap

 Low code development tools enable organisations to use internal staff or ‘citizen developers’ to develop mobile business apps. Using the right low code development tools, citizen developers can develop sophisticated, full function web, hybrid and even native business apps, with a little training and support.  They don’t need specific coding skills and these tools reduce the amount of traditional coding or obviate the need for coding altogether. This can result in the lowering of the cost of setup, training and deployment.

Cost-effective

Using these tools companies won’t have to incur the cost of bringing in an external app development team. Relying on internal staff also makes it far easier and more cost effective when the app needs to be updated in response to business or organisational requirements.

Shorter development time with no restriction on development potential

The development cycle is dramatically shortened as low code/no code tools allow internal staff to develop apps in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional development methods. Critically though it is of upmost importance that the platform you choose does not restrict you in respect of what you might want, or need, to achieve in the future. The right development platform will also ensure that you have unlimited scope to expand, customise and change direction, as your company and business requirements change.

 Overcoming platform integration issues

 Low code development tools enable businesses to create apps that work on multiple device types with various operating systems and of differing sizes and user interface requirements. With this technology, developers should only need to develop code once for every device and the app will run on iPads, iPhones, Android and Windows phones and tablets, plus Windows, Linux and Apple desktops.

Using existing databases

Today’s business apps need to integrate with various kinds of databases including multiple types of SQL databases, and other database types such as MultiValue databases. They must also be able to integrate seamlessly with enterprise and legacy systems. Low code tools enable data from multiple databases (and multiple types of databases) to be used and accessed in a single app, and the information combined for optimum use in the app design.

Low code development tools are revolutionising business app development and allowing smaller companies to develop sophisticated apps easily, cost-effectively and quickly. By overcoming the barriers to development companies are now able to develop apps internally that can boost future growth and help them stay competitive.

About the author

Malcolm Carroll is Director of Bluefinity International who has released a rapid app development tool called Evoke. Evoke is a cost effective platform that provides the complete environment for existing staff to design, develop and deploy apps across multiple devices (IOS, Android and Windows phones and tablets, plus Windows, Apple and Linux desktops). Evoke allows companies to confidently create web, hybrid and even native apps through Visual Studio and Xamarin projects, and to fully integrate and synchronise with existing back-end systems and a wide array of both SQL and MultiValue databases.

BlueFinity is committed to a continuous development programme for Evoke, ensuring its partners and customers will always be able to take advantage of the very latest of technological innovations to deploy multi-platform, multi-operating system based business applications.