Getting of the mobile app problem

As the planet increasingly plugs into mobile, a new generation of apps is changing how we consume media, how we shop, how we spend our time and how we communicate with each other.

It is hard to imagine that it was only in July 2008, that the Apple App Store was launched – a year after the first iPhone was released. At the time it had 500 apps and, to many, it was a revelation. 10 million applications were downloaded in the first weekend alone. Now as apps have become so much a part of our everyday lives it is almost impossible to accept that this is still, in fact, a very immature industry – especially in the enterprise.

While enterprises are just starting to scratch the surface of the potential of mobile, almost all have grasped that mobile is an opportunity to drive income and competitive advantage. In a new survey undertaken by Opinion Matters and sponsored by OutSystems, over 200 UK and US respondents were asked about the primary goal of their new mobile app initiatives. The top aim cited was to generate revenue (64 per cent).

The explosive growth that we are witnessing in mobile is driving a deluge of mobile app requests in the enterprise and I know that CIOs are already struggling to keep up with demand. But as pressure for mobile app developers grows, so demand will outstrip supply and companies will be challenged in hiring mobile app developers.

Today, we already know that the country is experiencing an IT and digital skills shortage, so where are the skills coming from for new mobile developer hires? Our research showed that 63 per cent of respondents already had between 11 per cent and 25 per cent open vacancies for developers as a percentage of their current team size. Twenty nine per cent had between 26 per cent and 50 per cent open vacancies. Only a very small percentage (6 per cent) advised that they have no open vacancies due to a shortage of developer skills.

So what do you think the knock on effect will be on day rates? If you are looking to hire Java, JavaScript or .NET developers, how much are you going to have to pay for these guys (presuming you can find them in the first place)? Likewise, what impact will not hiring have on your business and your team if you can’t get these much-needed resources in?

According to our research 85 per cent of those surveyed noted that they already have a mobile backlog of between one and 20 applications, with half (50 per cent) having a backlog of between 10 and 20 apps. Growing backlogs will not only damage revenue opportunities, it will also impact on your competitive advantage and stop you from meeting growing user and employee demand.

Let’s face it, employees are becoming divas. They want access to their apps and their devices anytime, anyplace. I know I want the same experience in the workplace as I get from Amazon, for example. The way I use apps in my daily life is the way I expect to use them at work. I want the same seamless journey and the ability to access all my apps on whatever device I choose to use and the business needs to cater for this.