Gartner’s magic quadrant report on mobile application development platforms identifies 10 critical considerations that an enterprise should consider while evaluating mobile application development platforms. These considerations span both technical and non-technical realms, and are as enumerated as under.
- Match to marketing needs and skills
Mobile application development platforms need to be able to manage mobile content and campaigns across multiple channels that marketers use to drive user engagement, such as text notifications, in-app messaging, social sharing and integrated analytics.
- Match to IT needs and skills
Enterprise app development platforms need to provide a standards-based set of tools that support agile development practices, and composite content management capabilities.
- User experience
Critical to user experience is HTML 5 support. Additional features that are critical here include automated user device detection, support for fixed layout content, as well as HTML responsive content created from multiple tools.
- Back-end integration/Mobile backend integration as a service (MBAAS)
Back-end integration with databases and authentication repositories are a critical aspect of the mobile application development platform. The app development platform should support standards based third party applications.
- Robust security
The importance of security cannot be over emphasized. Among other fine grained security capabilities, the mobile application development platform should support single sign on, document level security control, and document level policy enforcement.
- Developer productivity
The application development platform needs to support HTML 5 app development tools that support responsive design. Equally critical are version management tools, and support for third party content management tools
- Cross-platform support
Given the multitude of mobile devices in popular use, it is critical that the application development platform supports building of native apps for Android, iOS and Windows platforms.
- Omnichannel support
Mobile apps have become the mainstay of all business transactions; as a result, a mobile app development platform should support content management capabilities across all channels, including web and mobile apps, and e-commerce content management
- Application asset lifecycle support
The mobile app development platform should support capabilities for the enterprise to develop, publish and measure mobile apps with minimal IT support, including over-the-air (OTA) support
- Industry templates
The app development platform should have a balanced mix of technology capabilities, while also offering industry templates for as many industry verticals as possible. For instance, Adobe’s mobile app development platforms provide templates for app development in services, banking and retail industry verticals.
The critical capabilities outlined above are attributes that differentiate products/services in a class in terms of their quality and performance. Clients should use these critical capabilities analysis as one of the several sources of input about a product before making a product/service decision. While the capabilities above form the base for any choice of platform decision, cost also plays an important role in the final decision. The final choice ultimately turns into an exercise in cost optimisation, with a trade-off between cost and capabilities.