Over half of small businesses owned by millennials – born in the early 1980s – have developed a mobile app, but only 13 per cent of small businesses owned by baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have, according to a recent survey from research by ratings and review firm Clutch.
The report also finds that nearly half (42 per cent) of small businesses currently have a mobile app and 30 per cent plan to build one in the future. However, it also suggests that small business app growth is slowing down as the figures haven’t grown significantly since 2017.
Malcolm Carroll is a director at Bluefinity International, the company behind the recently-launched business app development platform Evoke, which is aimed at companies of all sizes, from start-ups to the largest multinational. He is not surprised the younger generation is leading the way in developing mobile apps.
He says, ‘Millennials have grown up with technology and their whole experience of the world is through the internet and mobile technology. Developing a mobile business app will be a key priority for those that start a business. Companies owned by baby boomers or those that started before the digital age often find they are playing catch up when it comes to developing business apps, but there are now low code development tools that can provide a solution and help create apps quickly and cost effectively.’
For smaller companies and start-ups yet to harness digital technology the barriers to developing mobile business apps can be the lack of skilled developers, knowledge and resources, as well as the cost.
Carroll says, ‘The process of developing and delivering apps in a traditional way can be complex, expensive to create, implement and maintain, plus they take a long time to develop and update. Many smaller organisations lack the IT skills and can’t justify employing a team of developers. Using low code development tools will enable companies to use their existing staff to create sophisticated, secure and high functioning apps that can automate business processes and launch digital services.
‘We are working with companies globally who are using low code tools to transform their businesses. We can support all development strategies from low code development through to hybrid and native development so companies can develop apps in line with their business needs, plus being able to use people in-house when the app needs to be upgraded is a huge advantage.’
There are several benefits of using low code platforms.
Low code app development tools are designed to be used by internal teams. Companies won’t incur the cost of recruiting an external app development team. Updates can also be carried out by the internal team.
Overcoming the IT skills shortage
They help companies plug the skills gap by enabling existing IT staff and non-developers to build mobile apps quickly and easily.
Development time is reduced
It can take up to a year to develop a custom application or a mobile app. The development cycle is dramatically shortened using a low code development platform as internal staff can develop the app in parallel with business requirements.
The amount of traditional coding needed is also reduced, enabling existing staff to develop sophisticated, full function web, hybrid and even native business apps, in a fraction of the time of other methods and, often, with simply the skills they already have.
There are ‘no code’ and ‘low code’ options that allow for development by selection (point and click app development). There are also options to enable companies to incorporate pre-existing software or develop new customisation. The tools are designed to be simple to use by internal teams, therefore saving time and money on additional training.
Easy integration, updates and changes
Developers should only need to develop code once for every device and the app will run on mobiles, tablets and desktops. The apps also fully integrate with back-end systems, including the immediate synchronisation of data between user devices and back-end databases and systems. Changes and updates can also be easily made and any updates will be in place across multiple devices.
Low code platforms allow companies to start small with perhaps just a web app, progressing to hybrid or even fully native apps as and when the business need is there.
Carroll concludes, ‘In today’s digital world creating business apps should be an essential part of the business strategy – supporting growth, future proofing it and ensuring it is competitive. Low code development platforms enable companies to create apps quickly, efficiently and cost effectively with the skills they already have inhouse.’