The rise of the custom B2C and B2E app
With an increasingly mobile workforce relying on a combination of enterprise-issued and BYOD devices, the need of custom-made applications to support line of business workflows has grown significantly in recent years. Data from VDC shows that there is a clear trend towards custom applications that are internally developed, as the year-on-year change for internally developed apps was positive across all industry verticals surveyed. Field mobility in particular saw a marked increase from 30% to 45% of apps being custom developed in-house. While an increasing portion of resources are being allocated to development, quality assurance (QA) and user acceptance testing (UAT) are often complex and long processes that require specific skills and can be difficult to scale. Frequently, the testing pool is limited, and often relegated to a small number of employees, or even the developers themselves, which can adversely affect the user experience of the app. Apperian, a mobile-first ISV, is looking to address this shortcoming with the industry’s first large-scale solution for user-acceptance testing for mobile applications.
Engaging the community
Looking to overcome the traditional constraints of app testing, Apperian seeks to cast a broader net to both improve the stability and quality of the app, and to significantly cut down on time-to-market. According to CTO Carlos Montero-Luque, Apperian has “reimagined what mobile app testing should be by empowering hundreds and even thousands of employees and/or contractors to be part of a user acceptance test process,” which they cite has already had a significant impact for early customers. In addition to saving money and time, engaging employees and the broader community provides a platform in which stakeholders have an opportunity to voice their opinions and know that their needs and concerns are being heard.
Security remains an issue
With the number of apps being developed in-house on the rise, security still remains a critical issue. Recent data from a VDC survey on software development reveals that only 8% of respondents have an application security program in place that is specific to mobile applications. When looking at in-house development, that number drops even lower, with a scant 4% of respondents having the means to test applications in-house. Although most protection revolves around secure coding techniques, other measures, including binary protection countermeasures, are necessary to prevent hackers from pirating or compromising the confidentiality and integrity of applications. Failure to do so can result in applications that are easily reverse-engineered and modified.
Security Practices Implemented During Mobile Application Development
VDC data shows that while basic security needs are being met, there are still considerable gaps that remain and need to be addressed, as we have highlighted in previous blogs. This is a pain point for many enterprises and an opportunity for companies like Apperian, especially as development costs continue to rise. Adopting and utilizing tools to help ensure that mobile Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) best practices are being used will be critical for organizations as they pursue broader mobile enablement initiatives. Moving forward, sophisticated QA techniques, along with strategic usage UAT processes can help to ensure that apps have been adequately protected from hackers will be required, as the cost of security breaches can be enormous, not only in dollars but also in lost time, productivity, and an overall feeling of organizational well-being.
(With Eric Klein, Senior Analyst)