In a July 2015 press release, Gartner stated that by “the end of 2017, market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organizations’ capacity to deliver them . . . .”
Reasons for the Mobile App Deficit
According to Adrian Leow, a Gartner Principal Research Analyst, there are several reasons for the mobile app deficit,, including the explosion of mobile devices, sales of which will reach 2.1 billion units by 2019, and the challenges for today’s enterprises to “rapidly develop, deploy, and maintain mobile apps to meet increasing demand . . . .” One of the main problems with mobile app development, according to Leow, is the shortage of qualified engineers and the associated costs with hiring and sustaining them.
Gartner’s proposed solution to the mobile app problem involves several steps, one of which is the adoption of a bi-modal approach to system development. According to Gartner,
Bimodal approaches consist of two models: Mode 1 drives the creation of stable infrastructure and APIs to allow apps to retrieve and deliver data to back-end systems without impacting those enterprise applications, while Mode 2 uses high-productivity, agile approaches to quickly deliver front-end app features required by the business.
High-Productivity Equals Low Code
So what does Gartner mean by “high productivity, agile approaches”? When Gartner analysts use this term, they’re likely referring to rapid mobile app development (RMAD) platforms, of which there are many. In fact, Forrester Research, which has, itself, labeled high-productivity systems “low-code platforms,” divides the low code space into five areas, one of which is low-code mobile app platforms.
However, mobile app platforms are good for building nothing but mobile apps. And according to AgilePoint CEO, Jesse Shiah, the mobile app space is already a “red ocean.” This is bad for consumers because it means the overcrowded space will see attrition in the coming years, and the last thing an organization wants to do is bet the farm on a platform vendor that may not be around for the long haul.
A Better Approach
Higher up Forrester’s food chain of low-code platforms exists process-focused and general-purpose low code platforms. The advantage of such platforms is that they will, in many cases, let organizations build enterprise-class apps—even sophisticated, composite line-of-business systems—that have mobility built into them. In other words, apps will run, without further modification, on almost any kind of mobile device.
The Responsive Application Platform
Among Forrester’s elite low-code platforms is AgilePoint NX, a technology with deep roots in BPM (giving it large-enterprise capability) but which enables fast development of apps—including apps designed specifically for mobile devices—that are not only responsive to devices, browsers, and environments but, also, to the needs of disparate business units and even individuals.