Alpha Software is the company behind Alpha Anywhere, a self-serve development platform that helps enterprises in-particular create cross-platform mobile apps. The firm has been recently promoting the idea of a “mobile app gap” among enterprises, who are struggling to rapidly adapt to the new mobile world. So we thought it would be a good time to catch-up with Alpha Software and learn more about what’s making the enterprise app development market tick. Here’s CEO, Richard Rabins, to explain more.
Q&A: Alpha Software CEO Richard Rabins
Many in the industry were saying 2014 would be the year enterprises really embraced app development, do think that prediction has come true?
Enterprises are still facing a “mobile app gap”. IDC surveyed US and UK companies with over 1000 employees and found that companies are struggling to meet their objectives of embracing mobile. According to the survey, 61% of organizations surveyed have deployed 3 or fewer mobile applications. Additionally, according to Gartner, most companies have developed less than 10 custom apps, but the expectation is that global companies will need to build between 1,750 and 3,500 apps in the next 3-5 years.
What do you think is holding back enterprises from app development? What barriers are there?
A major barrier to enterprise mobile app development is what we refer to as the “Offline Challenge”. Forrester called this “often the most important and difficult mobile feature” for business today. Without built-in offline capability, mobile apps can’t deliver on their true promise to work anywhere, anytime (such as in remote worksites, hospitals, or while travelling). And, offline capabilities have traditionally been very expensive to add onto apps. Typically, adding offline capability has to be done manually, which can triple development time and costs. We recently addressed this issue by adding built-in offline capability to our Alpha Anywhere 3.0 application development and deployment environment.
Another major challenge is the ability to quickly create and deploy mobile business apps – this challenge is addressed by our integration with Apperian. Additionally, many solutions address just the front-end or the back-end, but Alpha provides a unified front-end to back-end solution that speeds up app development. One app, athleticloud, was originally developed using other technologies and after 10 months of development was only 75% complete. With Alpha, it was completed in just two months.
The cross platform development market is getting increasingly crowded, how’s Alpha Software differentiating itself?
Alpha provides a complete front-end to back-end, prototype-to-production environment, and is the only solution with built-in offline capability. Alpha also takes a low code approach, which means minimal coding is required, providing a shorter learning curve and increased productivity. Alpha takes advantage of responsive design, allowing businesses to build one app and run anywhere, whether on mobile or on the Web. And, Alpha’s pricing is affordable and transparent, allowing companies to scale to meet the challenges of serving thousands if not millions of mobile app users, through a server-based pricing model which only charges customers for actual usage of the system.
Why did Alpha Software partner with Apperian? What benefit is this deal bringing to users?
We recognized that businesses are challenged with easily deploying the mobile apps that they need, and we saw a perfect partner in Apperian to integrate a cloud-based solution for securing, distributing and managing mobile apps into our environment. The integration allows organizations to more quickly and easily provide constituents with feature-rich, secure and branded business apps.
What kind of trends do you see happening over the next year when it comes to the enterprise app development sector?
In 2015, companies are going to focus more and more on mobilizing their business processes, and they will need to build thousands of B2B apps to become truly mobile. In order to do so effectively, they need to find a way to scale – to drive down the cost of mobile apps, and to enable more people to build mobile apps quickly versus having to hire hard-to-find mobile developers. Companies will turn to low-code solutions, which are particularly cost-effective products that will allow them to scale to serve their users’ needs affordably. This in turn allows the company to use the application developers, web developers and business analysts they already have in-house to build mobile apps.