Slashing app creation time

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The app market is growing at a rapid rate with downloads expected to hit a colossal 258 billion by 2022, according to App Annie. Enterprises can no longer afford to take weeks to get out initial versions of an app if they are to gain from operational efficiencies and productivity hikes. The good news is that turning apps around quickly is possible if you have carefully thought out your web application infrastructure and have a considered app strategy.

Benefit of enterprise apps

The enterprise apps market is witnessing significant growth, reaching $310 billion according to Gartner. This reflects the fact that enterprises are increasingly adopting apps to improve productivity and reduce costs.

An enterprise app is worth considering for your business for a number of reasons. Enterprise apps have the advantage of being able to bring together an organization and integrate business processes and operations such as marketing, accounting, resource planning and sales and distribution, for example. They also have the bonus that no other parties will have access to the ideas that are reflected in the app.

An enterprise app can easily be created by building a program file, adding a certificate and distributing it to both corporate and external users. Apps can be distributed using Microsoft Intune, a cloud-based management tool that allows you to upload mobile apps to iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Phone devices.

Pre-design information gathering is crucial

Developing large-scale enterprise apps demands a well thought out development strategy from the onset. This requires crucial information gathering that will form the foundation of your app project. It’s important that the design team fully understands what the app is for and who it is targeted at from the outset. An app that doesn’t consider user needs through every step of its development risks being dysfunctional and will inevitably cost more in development time to tweak it.

Selecting the right technology

To accelerate app creation and create apps that will be universally adopted across the organization, you need to select the right technology. You first need to look at the needs of the enterprise and the platforms available. Some applications use specific platforms, for example, while others use cross-platforms. Your service provider and/or development partner can help you here.

You may be using Android, Windows and iOS, for example – and have started to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT). In which case you need to look at developing a hybrid app that can be used across multiple operating systems and platforms.

Global app downloads

Importance of a well-defined REST API

Prepare your core system for an app with a well-defined REST API. A REST API defines a set of functions that your developers can use to perform requests and receive responses via HTTP protocol. This means it can be used with practically any programming language and is very easy to test.

Underscore security

Security is paramount as the app will hold and process confidential enterprise data – but it can slow down app development. Security, however, must always be kept at the forefront.

To create apps quickly, there are steps you can take to speed up processes without skipping on security. Authentication, for example, must be ready to go and duplicable on the new app. These are all system development checkpoints.

If you have a regular and secure web application that uses the core system through the application programming interface (API) and are looking to optimize it for smartphones with an app, you are essentially well prepared. You might even have gained user experience, which enables you to further enhance the functionality and user interface.

According to security specialist Check Point’s Mobile Cyber Attacks Impact Every Business report, every company is under some form of mobile attack, with every enterprise registering at least one mobile malware attack per year. Thus, it is essential to add strong security features as part of the design, such as multifactor authentication.

Apple Xcode for speed

To accelerate app design, tools like Apple Xcode are very helpful. Apple Xcode, for example, includes a lightening source code editor which speeds up the development process. Xcode also supports working with several collaboration platforms, including GitHub Enterprise, Bitbucket Cloud and GitLab.com, to help your team work in the cloud. To secure workflows, Xcode can generate unique SHH keys and upload them to the server. A robust testing engine is built into the tool.

Importance of UX/UI principles

Speeding-up app design does not mean you should forget the importance of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). Following UX/UI principles ensures that your app is intuitive, easy to use and easy to control, and most importantly, users will adopt and use the app. Features need to be clear and useful. Enterprise apps, for example, should enable collaboration and sharing of data with other colleagues.

Don’t forget your MSP

Finally, make sure you talk to your managed services provider about your application development procedures, including enterprise app distribution and operations. They can advise on integration and compatibility and smooth the path for enterprise rollout when ready.

Read our case study on how Groupama built a digital and mobile workspace for its employees.

Jan Howells

Jan has been writing about technology for over 22 years for magazines and web sites, including ComputerActive, IQ magazine and Signum. She has been a business correspondent on ComputerWorld in Sydney and covered the channel for Ziff-Davis in New York.