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When the volume of mobile activity exploded, enterprises that didn’t have the expertise or bandwidth to develop all their own apps had to scramble for help wherever they could find it.  Often this meant turning to any boutique provider or independent developer who could get the work done quickly. In the end, the enterprises got their apps, but they also got an unintended consequence that needs to stop now.

Here today. Gone tomorrow.
When it came time to update the app (and with mobile apps, that time comes more quickly than expected), neither the developer nor the source code could be found. The independent developer moved onto another job or location. The team that built the app moved on and left no documentation behind. The boutique firm closed or merged or changed its name and address. And when your developers disappear, your app will, too.

What do you do if it happens to you?
Unfortunately, there is no easy fix. Companies that want app longevity – but don’t have the source code and can’t find the developer – will have to recreate their app from scratch. That’s an expensive step backward in this world of quick iterations and super-steep competition.

What you can do is make sure it never happens again. And that means two things: planning for shorter shelf life and finding the right provider this time around.

Plan now for the shorter shelf life of mobile apps
A very common mistake is to assume the shelf life for mobile apps is the same as for web and server software. In reality, it’s much shorter and more volatile. You can expect a major update to at least one mobile platform every six to nine months. With your apps living on several platforms simultaneously, the updates come thick and fast. On top of this, you will have to continually evolve your app to stay relevant and keep a step ahead of your competitors. Plan for it now.

Choose a partner that can keep up
Mobile app developers are still in high demand, but you need to be more strategic about your approach and build long term relationships that you can rely on. You want a development partner that:

  • Is large and reliable enough to be there when you need them down the line.
  • Will build a relationship with you. You’ll be glad not to start all over with another provider for the inevitable updates and refinements.
  • Understands the more strategic needs and business impacts of enterprise app development.
  • Provides on-demand access to source code, in case you decide to move on.
  • Has excellent experience and the references to prove it.

It’s time to get strategic about enterprise app development.
That’s how you fill your future with apps – and developers – that won’t disappear.
Download our ebook: The 2014 Bottleneck Report on Enterprise Mobile

 

By Randall McCroskey July 30, 2014
Tags: EnterpriseIndependent Software VendorIndustriesMobileQuality Assurance