3 ways to overcome the seismic mobile app development backlog

Finding the right mobile app development capability can be extremely tough. If you’re an enterprise new to the world of mobile, there’s a ton of stuff to consider. A recent survey by Opinion Matters established that 85% of enterprises have a mobile app development backlog because they cannot find the right expertise to deliver on projects. This demand for mobile capability, and lack of supply in terms of development expertise, is now damaging the revenue aspirations of large companies. Given that the average app development project can take anywhere between three and twelve months to deliver, from ideation, through planning, design, development, launch and optimization, the latest Opinion Matters survey highlights the importance of accessing the right development capability. Failure to find the right mobile app development expertise is actually damaging the revenue aspirations of big companies, slowing the rate of technical innovation and inhibiting their ability to bring vital new products and services to market. Today we’re exploring 3 ways to overcome the seismic mobile app development backlog.

The survey was conducted via over 200 companies in the US and UK, and discovered that most large organisations are struggling to manage an ever growing mobile app development backlog. Of all the companies surveyed, over 85% suggested they had a current backlog of between one and twenty mobile app projects, with more than 50% of companies surveyed having a backlog of between ten and twenty projects. The survey highlighted the fact that although many backlogged mobile app projects are designed to enhance the experience of an existing app, many also play a more critical role in terms of helping large companies to make more money and deliver against the bottom line. For the majority of companies, the primary goal of each new mobile app development initiative is to help generate revenue (it’s estimated that 64% of backlogged projects are designed to generate revenue). This means that the demand for mobile app development expertise is actually damaging the revenue aspirations and profit making potential of large companies throughout the USA and UK.

The importance of being mobile

Nowadays, most new software initiatives are mobile-first, if not mobile-always. 2016 witnessed the launch of challenger banks Atom and Monzo, both designed and developed as mobile-only software applications that are designed to engage a mobile savvy, millennial audience. But it’s not just digital banking that is being completely transformed through advancements in mobile app technology. Nowadays, ability to access the right mobile capability is a core requirement for all companies, irrespective of industry sector. User demand is now driving big companies down the mobile-first path, whether they like it or not, and the reality is that most companies simply aren’t equipped to deal with an ever growing backlog. In essence, resistance is futile, and companies that fail to deliver on new mobile initiatives are being left behind by their competitors. The question is not whether to develop new mobile initiatives, but how.

“99% of respondents recognize the importance of incorporating mobility into current and future apps in their companies.” (Outsystems)

Technology giant Cisco recently conducted a survey that discovered 90% of all Americans now use their mobile devices (phones, tablets, wearables) to perform work related tasks. Many of the backlogged mobile projects within the enterprise, are therefore directly related to employee productivity and business efficiency. As user demand continues to drive the need for new mobile projects, the backlog issue is only liable to get worse and become more challenging for large companies. It’s estimated that between now and 2018 the demand for mobile projects will grow by as much as 20%, meaning some companies will have literally dozens of backlogged mobile projects without the right expertise to fulfil requirements. If you’re a business anchored in traditional desktop thinking and development practices, the time to take action is now. In 2014, web traffic generated by mobile devices superseded desktop web traffic for the first time. The warning signs have been clear for all to see, but only the fastest, most forward thinking companies have been able to react quickly enough in  terms of bringing new mobile app products and services to market.

“The top biggest obstacles when developing mobile apps are budget (53%) and time constraints (50%). Only 4% of companies surveyed confessed to having no challenges when deploying mobile apps, which means that 96% are grappling with issues of one nature or another.” (Cisco)

The explosive rise of mobile technology is now being driven by business demand rather than demand from consumers. In the early days of mobile, the demand for new apps was driven by consumer facing products and services such as games. The mobile landscape was viewed as frivolous and not the concern of the enterprise. Fast forward to 2016 and the situation has altered dramatically. The explosive rise and proliferation of mobile technology has generated a tsunami of mobile app development project requests that need to be deployed across multiple platforms including iOS and Android. But the demand for mobile expertise is not just about delivering fixed term, one-off mobile projects, it’s also creating a deluge of change requests (mobile is all about rapid iteration based on real-world user feedback and analytics) and the requirement for complex backend integration. As this level of demand continues to increase, large companies will find it increasingly challenging to hire experienced mobile app developers. The industry is now dealing with a seismic shortage of mobile development talent for developing iOS and Android apps. As new mobile technologies emerge such as augmented reality and VR (as an example), demand within the enterprise to hire new developers and engage reputable agencies will become an increasing concern.

The Outsystems survey concluded that the vast majority of respondents (63%) had somewhere between 11% and 25% open vacancies for experienced mobile app developers (as a percentage of their existing team size). In addition, 29% had between 26% and 51% open job vacancies for mobile developers (again as a percentage of team size). Only 6% of companies that were surveyed suggested they had no open vacancies for mobile app development expertise, which means inadvertently that 94% of companies surveyed have a critical demand for mobile talent.

“When asked about the purpose of new mobile app development initiatives, the top three reasons cited were to generate revenue (64%), to enhance the mobile experience of existing apps (58%), and to optimize customer experience (52%).” (Opinion Matters)

The recent research and analysis all point to one important factor, that large businesses cannot develop enough mobile apps in a fast enough timescale. But accessing the right development talent needn’t be a chore. Here are the top 3 ways to overcome the mobile app development backlog:

Recruit a team of mobile developers

One way to overcome the enterprise mobile app backlog is to recruit a team of specialist mobile developers. But this can be time consuming and extremely challenging for a number of reasons. The reality is that high quality mobile developers are in extremely high demand and very short supply. There just are not enough mobile developers available in the labour market to satisfy the ever growing demand for new initiatives. Not only that, but recruiting a team of mobile developers from scratch can take a long time and there’s no guarantee they’ll adapt to working well in a corporate environment. Mobile developers benefit from working in a lightning paced, agile focused culture that enables them to work across multiple projects at any one time. This attitude is completely at odds with the way most large organisations operate and as such many of the best mobile developers would prefer to work for an agency with the right culture and perks, than a corporate giant with an attractive salary and bonuses. Cultural fit is an essential requirement for mobile developers, so if you’re a big company seeking to recruit for iOS and Android, make sure you’re talking the right language and have the ability to resonate with their unique cultural demands.

Retrain your existing software development team

Another way to overcome the mobile backlog is to retrain your existing software development team. However, again, this can be a complex process. Most ‘desktop’ or web developers are used to working in a specific way with a specific set of technologies that are generally unrelated to mobile, especially when it comes to deploying native apps for iOS, Android and other platforms. This means that retraining your existing team can be extremely time consuming as you’re effectively having to re-skill each and every developer in your software team in response to the demand for new mobile apps. But that’s not the only issue. Developing mobile apps requires an agile mindset and the design and optimization process often differs greatly when compared to traditional desktop thinking and skills. It’s estimated that new mobile projects can take up to 12 months to launch, which means that there is an urgent requirement. If you’re a business considering whether or not to retrain your existing development team, it’s worth considering the timescales and practicalities involved with remodelling the expertise of your core development capability.

Use an experienced mobile agency

Here at mobbed.io, we understand the complexities associated with accessing the right mobile app development talent. That’s why we’re on a mission to redefine the world of mobile agency search, helping large companies (and small) to deliver vital new products and services to market in the shortest possible timescale. Using an agency can be the perfect way to embed mobile-first thinking into your organisation in the shortest timescale. It’s a great way to get your projects up and running quickly, whilst facilitating vital mobile knowledge transfer and helping to diffuse mobile capability into your company fast. Agencies are extremely well equipped when it comes to attracting the best mobile development talent, they understand the importance of craft beer, pizza and gaming nights in a way that banks and pharma companies can (and will) never understand.

Conclusion

In order to accelerate your journey to mobile success, we’ve compiled the largest database of mobile app developers in the world (our competitors are thinly spread across traditional technology services offerings that are anchored in desktop software thinking and development practice). We’re 100% focused on mobile and you won’t find another resource that’s solely dedicated to solving the biggest challenge that many companies face: how to deliver new mobile apps to market in the shortest timescale in order to unlock new (and existing) revenue opportunities. From New York, to San Francisco and Los Angeles, mobbed.io exists purely to bring you the best in mobile and to help you find the brightest and most experienced mobile app development companies in the world.

Not only that, we’re committed to the future. Steve Jobs once paraphrased a famous Wayne Gretzky (famous ice hockey player for those unacquainted) quote: “I skate where the puck is going, not where the puck has been”, and here at mobbed.io we view the world in exactly the same way. That’s why we’re focusing on the next frontier in mobile with special focus on Internet of Things app developers, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and wearables.

Yes we’re small and humble, but the mighty river started as a babbling brook, and we’re anchoring our technology in the future of mobile agency search, based on where enterprise demand will be in the future. So if you’re a company seeking to unlock the app development backlog, used mobbed.io today to discover the right development capability.