Low Code Platforms Can Help SMBs Gain Mobility
With pervasive adoption of smartphones and tablets, it has become essential for organisations to embrace enterprise mobility today. As the competitive pressure mounts day by day, not investing in mobility may amount to losing out on real business opportunities that technology offers.
According to data published by SmartInsights, apps account for over 80 per cent of the time people spend on their mobile devices. Naturally, mobile app development, which forms as the core of mobility has been on the rise. According to the data published by Statista.com, the global mobile app revenues are expected to touch $188.9 billion by 2020. A report by Economic Times reveals that India has already emerged as the world’s fastest-growing market of mobile apps listed on ioS and Android marketplaces, with a noticeable revenue jump in the first quarter of 2018.
App development and SMBs
While large organisations whole-heartedly embrace mobile apps, the small and medium-sized business (SMBs) appear to be hesitant about their adoption. However, irrespective of whether you are an SMB or a large player, app development can offer a range of benefits to your business.
On the consumer apps front, SMBs can enjoy the benefits such as an ability to deliver new services faster, extended customer reach, improved consumer experience, speedy support capabilities, and a boost to the brand’s perception. SMBs can also benefit by creating B2B apps to speed up their operations while working closely with suppliers, business customers and sales channels.
Challenges on the way
While app development delivers real business advantages, SMBs shy away from investing in these projects. Let’s briefly examine some of the reasons that may explain such a conservative approach of SMBs.
● Tight budgets: App development projects are usually capital intensive requiring an organisation to pump in sizeable funds. High recurring costs too are involved in maintaining specialised development resources on-board throughout the project duration. Additional costs are needed for continuous testing and maintenance after the app goes live. Feeling restrained by their tight budgets, most SMBs, therefore, consider app development as an expensive (read: unaffordable) proposition.
● Unavailability of talent: Shortage of app development talent is another obstacle faced by small companies. Large organisations tackle talent shortage by hiring a mix of experienced professionals and junior developers with adequate budgetary allocations for training. SMBs find this model difficult to emulate. Moreover, although most SMB entrepreneurs are specialists in their domains, they may lack an understanding needed to hire the right candidates for app development and testing.
● Cross-platform capabilities: Since building apps just for one platform may not be perceived as adequate by customers or B2B stakeholders, organisations end up spending separately to build native apps for different platforms or invest in skill sets on Xamarin or PhoneGap to achieve platform portability. Both these approaches call for high sunk costs and involve technology complexity, further proving as deterrents for SMBs.
A suitable approach
Given these challenges, a new technology, Low Code App Development Platform also referred to as Low Code platform shows tremendous promise for SMBs. A low code platform is an integrated visual development environment that enables citizen developers, i.e. users with basic HTML knowledge, to drag and drop application components, integrate them and build a progressive web app speedily and effortlessly.
As a low code platform eliminates the need to hire app developers, it removes multiple obstacles such as tight budgets, talent identification, and skills shortage that SMBs face. Moreover, as every app created with a Low Code platform is a packaged web app (PWA), it also turns the OS portability and the associated complexities irrelevant.
A low code platform can open up a world of opportunities for SMBs. For instance, today, a range of construction equipment such as cement batching plants, concrete mixers, etc. come with IT systems for onboard diagnostics and GPS technology for tracking. Integrated with back-end systems via the interface-technologies such as USB, HMI and SCADA, these machines facilitate centralised control and management.
By building small mobile apps on top of these existing IT systems, an SMB construction company can empower its site supervisors and project officers to keep a tab on equipment condition as well as the running fuel levels at various installations in real time. With a Low Code platform, this can be achieved cost-effectively and in a short time. In a similar fashion, SMBs across sectors can build dozens of apps automating every small process to improve operational efficiency.
What to look for
Selecting the right product is the key to spelling success for your low code platform adoption. Look for a feature-rich platform that comes with a unified app approach. A unified app approach constitutes a container app. A container app is the only native app that an SMB user has to download and install. It holds together all the apps inside a container and every new app introduced by the SMB organisation is automatically added to the container. Thus an SMB user does not have to search for newly introduced apps or download them. These are instantly visible to all the users. Moreover, the unified app approach also facilitates features such as built-in oAuth 2.0 authentication security and ease of maintenance with features such as hot code updates, upgrades and security patches. Thus, by adopting a feature-rich Low Code platform, SMBs can bring in a digital transformation to their business and win a competitive advantage.
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