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April 9, 2015

5 app development trends to expect in 2015

CBR highlights some of the areas enterprise app developers should be keeping an eye on.

By Alexander Sword

Ovum’s recent Decision Matrix, ‘Selecting a Mobile App Development Platform Solution, 2015-16’, ranked different providers in terms of their technological capabilities, execution and market share. Kony, Salesforce and IBM were recognised as some of the leaders in the category. CBR spoke to the report’s author, Michael Azoff, Principal Analyst for Infrastructure Solutions at Ovum, to discuss the trends to expect in 2015.

1. Analytics

Michael Azoff expects that app developers will make increasing use of data analytics to assess the quality of their offerings. Analytics are used extensively in AB testing, in which a publisher tests an app by issuing an update to a certain proportion of users, but leaving some users with the old app to serve as a control. The data from the varying usage between these two groups can be analysed to provide insights.

2. End-user development

Another trend Azoff expects to accelerate is end-user development platforms, which he describes as currently "under-used". These platforms allow non-IT specialists to take control of their own app development. Solutions such as those provided by Kony claim to allow executives to produce an app that is more directly aligned with the enterprise’s business goals, removing what he describes as a "huge burden" for IT. This speeds up app delivery and also helps to solve the skills shortage in the IT sector.

3. Security

Say goodbye to the era of simple password logins in apps. Michael Azoff highlights the soaring number of malware exploits in applications. He expects multi-factor authentication to play a much bigger role in security. Biometrics could be one area – TechNavio released a report in January predicting a compound annual growth rate of 128.4 percent between 2014 and 2019. Mark O’Neill, VP of Innovation at Axway, thinks that secure app delivery could come from a greater focus on securing the APIs which applications call on, either through API keys or API gateways.

4. Cloud

There is an increasing interest in enabling app development on cloud and being able to access apps on the cloud, Azoff claims. Although organisations have in the past been concerned about the security aspects of moving apps to the cloud, something of a "herd mentality" is setting in as companies are lured by the lower costs. The cloud brings two key elements to app development; hosting tools that the organisations use to build and test their apps or hosting the finished app itself.

5. HTML5 vs native

Azoff argues that the debate between whether to use HTML5 or native app development is far from settled, and will continue this year. HTML5 allows faster and easier Web app developments as it uses a single codebase that can run any device, while native apps allow tailoring to the specific demands and strengths of each operating system. Azoff highlights that native development often produces the most innovative apps, but comments that for most business use-cases HTML5 will be sufficient.

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