Constellation Research’s Enterprise Mobile Apps Development 15 Point Checklist/Questionnaire
Developing apps for smartphones and tablets looks straightforward. After all, if >1M apps on Android and iOS can appear in less than 4 years, even if mainly sourced from small developers, how can this be difficult? Larger enterprises should not be deceived. It is all too easy to underestimate the sophistication required, especially when all or any of customer identities, monies, legislation and regulation are involved. Constellation Research, to assist its enterprise clients. has evolved a Mobile App Development Check List, with 15 key criteria.
For larger enterprises looking for a coherent approach to mobile app development, Constellation Research recommends that possessing at least 75% of the following is a requirement if mobile app development is to be successful, flexible (for whatever type of mobile device app business units envision) and manageable:
- Is the basis of all mobile app development based on HTML5?
- Can the mobile app development environment support multiple app models — for example browser, hybrid and native code delivery (see Note 1)
- Does the mobile app development environment use an IDE which is already familiar to the enterprise’s developers (for example, Eclipse or Xcode)?
- Does the mobile app development environment exploit some form of shared code base?
- Is there a mobile app generator and does this run from a common or already installed platform, like an app server?
- Is the mobile app generator capable of generating apps for multiple platforms from the same original app source code (for example for iOS, Android, Blackberry OS, Windows Mobile, etc.)
- Is individual target platform differentiation and/or optimization possible (for example to exploit different mobile device form factors or screen resolutions or even processing/graphics capabilities)?
- Is there a team collaboration capability (this is uncommon in much of mobile app development)?
- Will the necessary ‘middleware’ to support each mobile app to work in an enterprise environment included into each app (whether at device, or between a device and sever) when apps are finally created (so that security, encryption, message handling, notifications, etc. are part of the generation feature rather requires additional skills)?
- Are mobile app development tool costs app-based (traditional seat-based ones tends to be much more expensive) or more practical?
- Can non-HTML5 code be combined with HTML5 within mobile apps where necessary (for example to exploit individual device capabilities such as cameras, GPs, accelerometers, etc.)?
- Are completed enterprise apps deliverable from multiple sources (for example from an internal enterprise app store as well as from relevant external ones like the iTunes App Store or the Android Market)?
- Is the delivery of enterprise-developed mobile apps policy-driven and manageable by the enterprise to (and from) designated smart device by the enterprise?
- Can enterprises obtain and analyze statistics about how mobile apps are used once installed?
- Can enterprises exploit existing app management software to manage their mobile app investment?
Constellation Research will shortly publish a Quark (smaller Report) which will explain, examine and justify each of these criteria in more detail (and may refine or even add to them). In any case, enterprises that wish to build and deploy apps to smart devices need to take extreme care. Constellation Research’s ‘Mobile Enterprise Business Errors (Unintended)’ (Note 2) are starting to document the sort of expensive and silly mistakes are all too possible if sufficient preparation does not occur.