Flexible platform solutions: Leveraging the Cloud for successful mobile app development

By James O'Brien

Innovation and successful mobile app development depend on many factors but one strategy helps fuel every winning approach: flexible platform solutions. Project teams are more successful when they work with a flexible platform that empowers every member to meaningfully collaborate from anywhere and at any time.

Enterprise leadership clearly recognizes cloud-based strategies as key to app success, and the growth of cloud adoption on the development side is fully underway:

  • IDG, in a 2014 study, found that 69 percent of surveyed businesses already have crucial elements of their infrastructure, including development and testing functionality, operating on cloud-based platforms.
  • A recent IBM Center for Applied Insights (CAI) report showed that 31 percent of successful development teams rely upon mobile collaboration tools.
  • Fully one-third of successful teams told CAI analysts that cloud-based toolkits allow them to work more creatively by exploring options outside the constraints of a single platform or technology.

With cloud collaboration as a central principal for successful teams, the following examples further show how enterprise is making mobile-app development more flexible, inclusive and powerful than ever before.

Cloud-Based Platforms Significantly Reduce Turnaround Time

Some app development teams get to take their time, creating multiple iterations of a product until it is market-ready. Other teams simply do not have that luxury. The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, for instance, wanted a mobile app its engineers could use to access maintenance information. Developers couldn’t take months to test and deploy the tool, because ridership and operations depended on the app being in hand as quickly as possible. Collaborating through a cloud-based platform allowed BART developers to work together despite differences in geographic location and schedules. BART was able to deploy the mobile app in 15 days, as IBM reports. That is a far cry from the estimated six months a single-location project would have taken.

Cloud Collaboration Empowers External Stakeholders

Development teams succeed when leadership builds them the right way from the start. They thrive when collaborators from the full spectrum of an app’s stakeholders and users empower them with fresh insights. As Smartsheet points out, up to 35 percent of a mobile app development project can rely on the work of external resources. When the development environment is mobile, those collaborators have the access they need to successfully contribute and promote their best ideas to the in-house team.

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) Free Developers to Focus on Creativity and Innovation

Users are a disparate demographic with a unifying desire. While they employ different platforms and devices, each user seeks well-built and reliable in-app experiences. As part of your team’s flexible platform approach to mobile app development, Jennifer Riggins at Nordic APIs suggests an application-programming-interface centered strategy. The argument is compelling: (APIs) allow developers to create and innovate apps that work across numerous platforms and devices, and do so without having to reinvent backend services for each user-end ecosystem along the way.

Culture Match: Younger Professionals Expect Flexibility

Younger professionals, especially those between 18 and 34, outnumber even Generation X in the workplace. Importantly, according to a recent EY study, this millennial demographic demands flexible working conditions; they want to be successful while enjoying flexible options such as work location and schedule. For enterprises in the mobile app development space, attracting and retaining the best millennial talent means acknowledging their expectations. Providing a flexible platform for your team is key to that approach, and an increasingly necessary evolution when it comes to workplace culture.

There has probably never been a more exciting time to be in mobile app development. The tools at hand allow for productive, creative results in a more flexible way than any business generation prior could experience.

Success still takes a commitment to collaboration and careful attention to the strategies and changes outlined above. Once those foundations are in place, cloud-based approaches and API solutions can create a flexible platform from which successful mobile projects emerge. That’s a winning outcome for teams, leadership and users alike.

Written By

James O'Brien

Technology Reporter

For the past half decade, James O'Brien has covered technology and the ways it intersects with our lives and work. His points of focus include data analytics, the mobile sector, driver-less cars, the Internet of Things, IT infrastructure, data security, 3-D printing, and technology…

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