September 7, 2015

Application Development

Application Development – Web and MobileCloud deployment models are changing the economics of applications. “Software upgrades have become so costly and difficult that most customers defer them for years, sometimes even for a decade.” And it only gets worse with customization. In the future? Software-as-a-service (or “SaaS”) models, of course, which offer a flexibility, stability and scalability that the on-premise model does not. Adoption will vary by industry—financial institutions will remain hesitant, for example, given security concerns—but it won’t be long before most enterprises have as-a-service in the mix.

User experience is improving. Early business apps captured data using bland, character-based screens with rows of input fields in systems such as teller workstations in early core banking systems or in HR or retail apps. Colors, drop-down lists, icons, and other basic features didn’t help. “Millennials will reject experiences that fall short of the high expectations set by consumer apps, so vendors are delivering new user experiences with rich graphical features that embed analytics, decision support, offers, and direct customer interactions.” In other words, with the basics down, there’s more focus today on business outcome. Though rich, interactive user experiences make for great demos—but they must deliver tangible business value to be truly competitive.

Componentization supporting smart functionality. Efficiency dictates that a common system is ideal from a development and maintenance point of view, yet lines of business know that they need customization to themselves work most efficiently. The answer is componentization, which will enable app delivery teams to blend the best elements of custom-built apps and components and off-the shelf-components for functions such as loan origination and know-your-customer apps. That even extends to smaller firms, which tend to use prepackaged business apps.

Become mobile friendly. There are two basic strategies for building websites that display well on all devices: responsive and adaptive,” she explains. “And responsive sites are the best bet for most small businesses.” Following is a translation of what that lingo-laden sentence means, along with key steps your business should be taking.

At a minimum, adjust your existing site for today’s Web users. No business can afford to ignore the fact that more than a billion people primarily access the Web from mobile devices. Even if you’re not ready to rebuild your site for optimal display on all devices, at least take one of the following two steps:

Simplify your site design. Pull up your website on a smartphone. To display well on mobile,adopt simpler page designs, large font sizes, critical information placed “above the fold,” and big, touchable buttons that are fat-finger-proof.

Create a mobile version of your site. As an alternative to editing your website, you can create a parallel version, using mobile-site-design services, many of which are free or low cost. But there are tradeoffs, If your mobile site has a second URL, such as one with a .m subdomain, search engines may or may not find it.” Both Bing and Google advocate a one-URL approach for findability and search engine optimization.

Better yet, rebuild your site for display on any device. Here’s where the terms adaptive and responsive site design come into play.