According to Gartner, mobile apps will have been downloaded more than 268 billion times, and will have generated more than $77 billion of revenue, by 2017. So, if apps are now one of the most popular computing tools around, can enterprise app development keep up?
The truth is, application development is becoming increasingly tricky, because enterprises are working across numerous platforms, with different APIs. Add to the mix the need for multiple mobile front ends and middleware to talk to various backend enterprise systems, and the scale of the challenge emerges. It’s rather like holding multiple conversations, in multiple languages, and trying to bring them all together.
In order to bring app development up to speed with the mobile revolution—to enable seamless and simplified app development at the speed the market demands, with the connectivity between systems that business demands—a new approach is clearly needed. To address this demand, there are several cloud based Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings with prebuilt Mobile Backend as a Service (mBaaS) capabilities emerging, which provide everything that the enterprises need for mobile application development on one single, nimble platform.
With app development moving onto the cloud, mobile friendly APIs can be connected easily to the backends of different products and services. The benefits are immediate:
·         Faster development cycles enable quicker time to market.
·         PaaS and mBaaS are  hosted on the cloud, meaning minimal CAPEX and lower TCO, as well as ‘always on’ availability.
·         A single, robust, cloud-based platform offers enhanced performance, reliability and scalability.
And it’s proven. At the upcoming IBM InterConnect 2015, we’ll be showcasing a Proof of Concept developed by Capgemini for the automotive industry, built on IBM Bluemix—one of the PaaS with mBaaS solutions—and IoT Cloud. As cars become increasingly connected, the automotive industry is positioned right at the sharp end of the app development challenge. But with the availability of cloud platforms, automotive players can quickly build and leverage apps that collect and connect data from multiple sources (customer data, GPS, vehicle data and service records, say). Better still, the Bluemix API allows them to apply analytics that draw on data collected from car sensors. This is not just app development at scale—it’s a practical application of the Internet of Things, too.
We believe mBaaS has the potential to transform the way enterprises develop those all-important applications, because it allows developers to focus on building great apps that delight end customers, enable better business performance and leverage data to drive business value, rather than the dealing with the distraction and time drain of building several front ends and integrate with backends from scratch.
With solutions like IBM Bluemix and IoT Cloud now available, we are excited to help organizations speed up and transform the way they develop and gain value from mobile applications.