Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

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Enough room says
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Friday, Feb 21st

'Mobile app backlog damaging enterprise revenue'

Mobile backlog affects revenues in Africa’s mobile app economy.

New research shows that a slow approach to app development is increasingly damaging revenue opportunities in the enterprise. The study found that organisations are currently struggling with a significant mobile backlog and unable to cope with business demands.

The research was sponsored by OutSystems, the open, rapid application delivery platform (PaaS) provider, and provides a compelling snapshot of the mobile application development landscape and the challenges that organisations face when delivering such projects to the business.

OutSystems South Africa director Craig Terblanche says the primary goal of these new mobile app initiatives is either to generate revenue or to reach new customers.

"The survey revealed that 85% of companies have a mobile backlog of between one and 20 applications, with a majority (50%) having a backlog of between 10 and 20 apps. With the average application taking at least three and up to 12 months to get out the door," he says.

"It's clear that organisations are struggling to deal with a deluge of mobile app requests, multiple platforms to support, hundreds of change requests, and complex backend integrations," says OutSystems CEO Paulo Rosado.

"To make matters worse, as demand for mobile app developers grows, companies will continue to have a challenge hiring developers. Not only will they be increasingly hard to find, they will also be increasingly expensive," he explains.

Today, the industry is already dealing with a considerable skills shortage. 63% of respondents said they had somewhere between 11% and 25% open vacancies for developers as a percentage of current team size, and over one quarter (29%) had as high as between 26% and 50% open vacancies.

With only 6% of respondents clearly stating that they have all the mobile app development skills they need, it is clear that this issue is only going to get more challenging as demand for these projects continues to grow.

Terblanche says organisations need to find a fast and efficient way to deliver enterprise mobile and web apps, or face extinction. "This may sound harsh but the new economy is an app economy, especially in Africa."

The study 'Mobile App Backlog is Directly Damaging Revenue in the Enterprise' identified the top challenges and trends in the mobile app development space.

Key findings included:

  • Mobility - A Top Priority - 99% of respondents recognize the importance of incorporating mobility into current and future applications in their organisations.
  • Growing Demand for Mobile Apps - In the last 12 months, just over half (51%) of respondents have undertaken between one and five mobile app projects and 44% have undertaken between six and 10. This means that over a 12 month period 95% of respondents have undertaken somewhere between one and 10 mobile app projects.
  • Money Spinner for the Enterprise - When asked about the goal of new mobile app initiatives the top three cited were to generate revenue (64%), to improve the mobile experience of existing apps (58%), and to improve customer experience (52%).
  • Big Challenges - The top two challenges when building mobile apps are budget (53%) and time (50%). Other challenges ranged from a gap in skills needed to undertake mobile (36%), to both business (25%) and users (33%) having unrealistic expectations (total 58%), to not enough developers with the right level of skills (19%), to the development environment not currently being right for mobile (17%). Only 4% of those surveyed said that they have no challenges when building mobile apps which means that 96% are grappling with issues of one nature or another.
  • Dealing with Growing Backlogs - 85% of companies surveyed noted that they have a mobile backlog of between one and 20 applications, with half (50%) having a backlog of between 10 and 20 apps.
  • Losing Competitive Advantage - Over half of the respondents surveyed (51%) stated that it was taking them on average between three and six months to build and deliver a complete mobile application. Amazingly, 6% of the survey respondents advised that it was sometimes taking up to one year to build and deliver mobile applications.
  • Increasing Demand for Mobile App Developer Skills - Nearly three quarters of the respondents reported to have between six and 15 developers working on their mobile app initiatives, and a further 21% are using somewhere between 16 and 30.


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