Enterprise apps development: Key trends tech leaders need to know

It’s a web-based world out there. For most enterprises, it’s true that their ability to develop web-powered applications will define their trajectory in the market. Forrester Research has gone as far as suggesting that an enterprise’s app development abilities are an enabler of competitive edge. Because the web is such an integral part of human life, enterprises can leverage apps to offer highly valuable experiences to customers. If you’re an IT leader, you need to be prepared for the time when your enterprise ups the ante on app development. Here are the key trends concerning enterprise apps development that you would do well to track.

No-nonsense approach toward secure enterprise apps development

Enterprise app development
Flickr / Ervins Strauhmanis

A recent HelpNetSecurity report on the state of app security uncovered some shocking truths. Here are a couple of them:

  • As many as 69 percent of enterprise apps are exposed to security threats that could result in data exposure. Considering the strictness of data protection laws worldwide, this is unbelievable.
  • 25 percent of web apps are vulnerable to eight of the 10 OWASP security threats. Considering how the OWASP framework isn’t even new, and that most of these vulnerabilities can be fixes, this is also shocking.

The reason — developers are either not motivated in designing apps with security at the core, or the enterprise cares way more about speed and ease rather than investing in app security.

However, because of the surge in frequency and intensity of data breaches and other cyberattacks, enterprises can’t keep security as a “good to have” for their apps. It must become a “must have.” Training budgets in pioneering companies are getting better to accommodate the need for security training. The enterprise focus is truly moving from “apps” to “secure apps.” Whether you’re a tech leader or a software developer, it’s worth inscribing “security” on brass and hang it in your office or work area.

Low code is the highway to success

Low code is a way to develop enterprise apps such that hand coding is kept at a minimum, in the interests of speedy deployment. Low-code development requires developers to focus on the 10 percent of the app’s code that makes it unique rather than get bogged down by infrastructure or spend time in reimplementing patterns. How does low code become a reality?

Well, low code comprises a large family of tools that enable developers to skip all re-implementations and leap over to the truly unique code. Typical low-code platforms are composed of:

  • A visual IDE: Using this, the developers can define UIs, workflows, and complex data models, adding handwritten code only where necessary.
  • Backend connectors: These handle data models, storage, and retrieval requirements automatically.
  • App lifecycle manager: This tool can automate tasks around build, test, debug, and deploy stages of app development

When unique software becomes quicker and easier to develop, enterprises can scale up their app ecosystem rapidly. Expect many more low-code platforms to jump on the scene. Build your enterprise’s capabilities to assess and leverage these platforms quickly.

Progressive web apps — A leap forward

Enterprise apps
Flickr / Adactio

Traditionally, enterprises have always faced a tough choice — whether to go for the ease of mobile web apps or the power of native apps? Native apps offer highly sophisticated and enriched user experiences but are difficult to develop and maintain, particularly because you need to manage versions for all operating systems. Web apps are compatible across operating systems, are easy to develop, but can’t match the sophistication of the user experience of a native app.

Progressive web apps is the answer, and it’s Google’s brainchild. These apps bring together the best of the latest app development technologies to offer high quality, reliable, quick, and engaging app experiences to users. Think of progressive web apps (PWAs) as apps that can act as a single web page, or a native mobile app, at the same time. These apps use native app features such as full-size screen, push notifications, and splash screen. For enterprises, PWAs are the most viable way to bypass app stores and device restrictions and offer an engaging app experience to users without really requiring them to install an app.

Development inches closer to end users

DevOps bridges the gap between software development and IT operations. Well, citizen development bridges the gap between IT and the end-user. And that’s going to be a major trend in the enterprise app development space in the times to come.

A citizen developer is an enterprise end-user who can use self-service development platforms (sanctioned by central IT) to build new business apps. We’re in the era of complete digitization, and citizen development is a strategic resource for enterprises to reach the remote corners. Low code, a trend we discussed earlier, also feeds this constructive frenzy among pioneers of IT to nurture the art of citizen development.

IT departments struggle to meet end-user demands for new apps, and that’s where citizen development emerges as a win-win proposition. Upcoming self-service platforms, and focused training for enthusiastic end users — that’s the perfect formula for enterprises to make citizen development a success.

AI and enterprise apps: A match made in heaven

Enterprise apps
Flickr / CalypsoCrystal

Enterprise apps aim to achieve very specific results and are targeted at specific audiences. Besides, organizations have massive data relevant to the process, task, or goal at hand. This becomes the perfect situation for AI models to kick in and bring an order of magnitude improvements to apps.

And it seems that enterprises recognize the opportunity. Gartner has predicted that by 2021, 40 percent of enterprise apps will have AI capabilities. The estimation doesn’t seem off the mark, considering how chatbots have become such common AI-powered assets within the app ecosystems of tech-powered corporations.

The five trends we’ve covered in this guide are not the only ones, of course. However, when you think of impact, the current state of maturity, scalability, and applicability to the specific goals of the development of enterprise apps, all of these trends are crucial. As a tech leader, stay in sync with these trends.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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