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What are the key challenges in Enterprise Mobile App Development?

A report by Strategy Analytics predicts that “The global mobile workforce calculated to reach 1.88 billion in 2023, accounting for 43.3% of the global workforce.” This, in turn, points towards increased demand for Enterprise mobile applications to meet the needs of the expanding workforce and is supported equally by the evolving trends. This brings us to the question. What is an enterprise mobile app?

Key Challenges

As Wikipedia puts it, “The term enterprise mobile application is used in the context of mobile apps created/brought by individual organizations for their workers to carry out functions required to run the organization.” Goes without saying that like any app development, enterprise mobile app development to comes with its own set of challenges, the complexities directly proportional to the enterprise-specific enhancements required.

That being said, let’s take a closer look at the Key Challenges in Enterprise Mobile App  Development faced by businesses across the globe.

1. Speed to market

Why opt for custom mobile app development when there are ‘n’ number of customizable off-the-shelf products available? This more than often is the primary challenge in enterprise mobile app development and a question that influences the choice. It cannot be denied that an off-the-shelf product would offer a faster go-to-market and the customizations may not always take much time either. Speed to market for Custom app development is often influenced by many factors including the complexity and size of the project, but with the right team, talent and infrastructure, the development time can be accelerated.

2. Infrastructure cost and maintenance risks

Setting up a new infrastructure isn’t easy. Even for well-established enterprises, moving to a new infrastructure to support mobile app development incurs added cost, requires an additional budget in terms of finding the right talent for development, security, etc., keeping the system updated and maintaining it all along. There are various risks associated with maintenance too, take for instance custom security requirements as well as scheduled updates that must be installed which can otherwise impact the functioning of the system.

3. Executive Resource Time

Custom mobile app development in enterprises isn’t something that a one-man army can handle. It requires a team, not just for the technological aspects but for project management, client management as well. The additional time allocation essential for requirement discussions, reviews, approvals and validations too, are factors that pose a challenge to enterprise mobile app development.

4. Ongoing Development and Support risks

The need for custom mobile app development indicates feature requirements that differ from those offered by off-the-shelf products. This implies that the development process may not necessarily be a tried and tested one, and hence unpredicted issues and risks may crop up which may require contingency measures too. Right from unstable releases, User Adoption rates dropping due to bugs/errors and the general decline in users because of dissatisfaction with the app too are challenges that can impact enterprise mobile app development.

5. Tackling Security issues

Data leak is a growing threat to enterprise mobility. And as the technology grows the threats get stronger too. In the words of Dionisio Zumerle, research director for mobile security at Gartner, “The main challenge is how to implement an app vetting process that does not overwhelm the administrator and does not frustrate the users.” Goes without saying that this poses a great challenge to the enterprise mobile app development process. The errors in development often make the app vulnerable to threats. While errors in development can be intentional or accidental, either way, it poses a huge risk to enterprises in terms of loss of confidential data like financial records, medical records, and even personal data. Data encryption reduces the threat to a great extent and testing and retesting the app beforehand for threats and vulnerabilities or even hiring experts to do the same can ensure that the final enterprise mobile app is safe to use. The addition of multi-level access, server-side validation, etc. are added measures that can keep the data secure.

6. Finding the right development team

Finding the right talent with the necessary capabilities is also considered as a challenge for enterprise app development and deployment. Enterprises may not always be fully equipped with an in-house mobile app development team and this often leads to a hurried search for the right talent, while facing tight competition with mobile-first startups. While sourcing for the right talent is one side of it, outsourcing it to teams with the relevant experience can help in decreasing the pressure to a great extent, provided you find the right team.

Development skills today require expertise in multiple programming languages, efficiency in Cross-platform development and more, along with a good understanding of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) which is increasingly being used in enterprise mobile app development. Jason Wong, research vice president at Gartner, says that “Development platform vendors are expanding their value proposition beyond mobile apps and web development to meet user and industry demands.”

7. Integration with existing Infrastructure

Anything new must be integrated seamlessly with the existing technology infrastructure. Integration can turn into a time and labor-consuming process if the planning and app development isn’t done right. While the general infrastructure should always be stable, the inclusion of APIs to retrieve and deliver data to back-end systems without impacting the enterprise applications can be a smart move, to begin with. In recent years the use of Cloud-hosted artificial intelligence (AI) services, along with native iOS and Android development has shown to decrease the issues in mobile back-end services and deliver better enterprise apps with intuitive user interfaces, image and voice recognition, and other AI services too.

8. Getting the UI-UX right

In terms of enterprise mobile app development, creating the right User interface can be slightly tricky. User Interface requirements are multi-faceted, mainly because of the extensive workforce, the added security requirements and other enterprise-level restrictions. The development team must focus on the target audience to create the right look, without hampering the usability. The UX should also justify the purpose of the app, the social needs, accessibility and communication features.

In addition to the abovementioned, legacy systems maintenance, project complexity (including the question of which app type to go with) and testing to are challenges often faced during enterprise mobile app development.

The success of enterprise app development lies in selecting the most suitable platform for enterprise mobile application development, hiring the right team for development and testing it thoroughly before deployment.


Shahrukh Khan

Head of Digital and Software Engineering, CoreFlex Solutions