Skills, budget and time shortage create damaging mobile app backlog in UK business

A combination of skill shortages and stripped budgets is creating a backlog of mobile apps in the development stages for 85 percent of companies, a study shows.

Independent research company Opinion Matters surveyed 200 companies and found that a majority (48 percent) had a backlog of 10 and 20 applications. The majority (85 percent) had up to 10 in the pipeline.

The apps were designed primarily for generating revenue (58 percent) or to improve existing customer-facing or internal apps (54 percent).

Almost half of all UK respondents said it took between three and six months to build and deliver a complete app and seven percent claimed it took up to a year to deploy to the business.

Projects in the pharmaceutical and retail sectors were delivered in the least time, in comparison to a slower delivery within finance and insurance industries.

How many developers building apps?

Skills shortages were cited as an obstacle to speedy deployment, alongside budget and time constraints.

Almost two thirds (63 percent) had open vacancies to expand by up to a quarter of its team size. Almost 30 percent had vacancies that would double their team size.  Some 70 percent of respondents said it took on average three to six months to recruit and one fifth said it could take any time between six months and a year.

Staff versed in Java, Javascript and.Net were the most challenging hires, the survey found.

Paulo Rosado, CEO of PaaS provider OutSystems, who sponsored the research, said: “It is clear that organisations are struggling to deal with a deluge of mobile app requests, with multiple platforms to support, hundreds of change requests and complex backend integrations.

“To make matters worse, as demand for mobile app developers grows, companies will continue to have a challenge hiring. Not only will they be increasingly hard to find, they will also be increasingly expensive.”

Shell case study: Get your group architect to let business users take control

With employees increasingly looking to access enterprise apps on their mobile phones, group architects and compliance regulations are increasingly seen as ‘blockers’ by business users.

Shell’s group architect has approved and integrated the Salesforce1 Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) as a layer to allow business users across all Shell’s global divisions to make applications with the PaaS with Shell’s data in a secure, user friendly way.

Shell has 55,000 licenses of various Salesforce products including ExactTarget, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud and the community platform across 22 different divisions.

Melanie Mainwaring, integration and program manager at Shell, advised: "If people are looking, in big companies, at how to bring the platform and the products, always get your group architects involved. [At Shell] they have approved the platform as an agility layer - not only to build on as a PaaS, but also to expose the data in a much user friendly and mobile way."

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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