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Infographic: Your users might not be using sanctioned apps


By Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

The good news is that lots of companies are trying to build apps as alternatives to commercial ones your employees may be using on their smartphones. The bad news is they often don't like them. In fact, a new study by Mobiquity found that almost two-thirds of your users find your home-grown alternatives lacking.

How bad is it exactly? Well it's very bad. Sixty percent of users abandon your carefully designed apps, while 64 percent just provision their own alternatives, thereby bypassing any security you might have built into yours.

And that could be part of the problem. In your effort to build an IT-friendly app, you might have sacrificed usability at the alter of security. If you want your users to use the apps you design, you have to build apps that are as good as or even better than what they get off the shelf, and forcing users to enter 28 character verification codes is probably not going to make them feel warm and fuzzy about using your sanctioned company apps.

Some companies have answered by trying harder. Some have tried to shut off access altogether (good luck with that, especially in BYOD companies). The study found that almost 70 perecent of users are using their own devices. You can huff and puff all you want, but your users are going to use the tools they want on their own devices unless you provide a reasonable alternative.

This infographic is just one world view of the state of enterprise apps, but it's one that rings true and one that you should be paying attention to. It means you have to find ways to understand your user's needs better or they're going to find ways to deal with their needs themselves.

 mobiquity employee app satisfaction FINAL

Courtesy of Mobiquity Inc.

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The enterprise needs to embrace the App Store



By Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

Five years ago, Apple introduced the App Store. Today, every phone OS has to have one and they are even finding their way into the enterprise setting too. 

The consumer app store concept had a profound impact on the enterprise that has continued to this day. Today, enterprises have to be thinking about mobile and they need to be thinking about sanctioning certain apps and developing others.

That would require a place to hold all of these apps and hence the idea of an enterprise app store is taking shape. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2017, 25 percent of enterprises will have an app store in place. My question is what's taking everyone so long. 

Ian Finley, research vice president at Gartner said in a statement related to this research that organizations face problems when users not only bring their own devices, but also their own apps and the enterprise app store has the potential to fix those problems.

"Bring your own application (BYOA) has become as important as bring your own device (BYOD) in the development of a comprehensive mobile strategy, and the trend toward BYOA has begun to affect desktop and Web applications as well. Enterprise app stores promise at least a partial solution but only if IT security, application, procurement and sourcing professionals can work together to successfully apply the app store concept to their enterprises," he said.

By now, we have seen the power of mobile apps to increase productivity and simplify what was once complex. Today, instead of large, monolithic applications that do lots of things, users want small apps that do a couple of things well. 

Against this backdrop, perhaps not coincidentally, we also have seen the rise of the consumerization and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends. These changes have rocked the enterprise as the power balance between IT and business users has shifted dramatically. 

That's because if as an IT pro, you put up a roadblock to stop user from doing something, even with the best of intentions, they very likely can find a way to blow past you. Apps are just too easy to install and use.

Rather than fighting this trend, which is just about impossible to do anyway, a better approach would be to find a way to provide useful mobile tools that are sanctioned by the organization. Once these are in place, some companies may try to block unauthorized ones, but others simply try to encourage the use of the authorized ones.

When you combine the list of sanctioned tools with the ones that you've created in-house, you need a place to house them so that your enterprise users can go and find those tools. It needs to be as easy to use as the Apple App Store or Google Play --and that's where the Enterprise App Store concept comes in.

Mobile Device Management vendors (MDM) often offer a service for building your app store.

It definitely won't be as big as its private counterparts, but it provides a place where your employees can go to look first. Just be sure that you build good apps and that you sanction ones that people want to use. 

If you end up with a collection of badly designed internal apps and poor choices for external ones, you will be defeating the purpose of having set up the App Store in the first place. The idea is to get people to use the apps you want instead of the ones that could be less secure. 

The enterprise app store makes so much sense in the context of today's IT trends, it's something every company should be working to build.

 Photo Credit:  (c) Can Stock Photo

Android versus iOS Argument Persists, but Developers Should Follow Money


describe the image By Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

I don't know about you, but I don't care very much about phone operating systems. They all have their charms and operate in a similar fashion. Each platform has first class phones available, but there is the whole market share thing and it's hard to ignore.

When it comes to market share regardless of whose numbers you look at, Android wins hands down. It's not even a contest. Let's look at a couple of examples: According to comScore's Mobile Lens published earlier this month, Google has 52 percent of US market share compared with 39 percent for Apple. 

If you look at IDC's worldwide numbers for the first quarter published last month, the comparison is much starker with 75 percent for Android and 17.3 percent or iOS. 

So looking at it from pure market share, it's pretty clear Android is the easy winner any way you choose to slice or dice the numbers.

Developers clearly can't ignore Android, not with those kinds of numbers, and they would be foolish to, but does that mean the developers are making more money developing on the Android platform? Not necessarily.

As a small example, Mashable published some numbers from Black Friday compiled by IBM last November and found that when it came to tablets, in spite of these numbers, iPad users accounted for 88 percent of all money spent via tablets on Black Friday.

If you would prefer to compare iOS devices to Android devices, it was 18.5 percent for iOS and 5.5 percent for Android.

But it's not quite that simple. Distimo did a study recently and found that while the Apple App Store generates far more revenue for developers today than Google Play, it found that Google Play is growing steadily, while the App Store remains somewhat flat for Apple.

That could be attributed to the shear number of phones out there. If Android controls the market to the extent the numbers suggest, it makes sense that just from volume it is going to start to generate additional revenue, even while Apple continues to hold a substantial lead over Android in this area.

So what does this mean for developers? There are no easy answers. For today, it seems, you are probably going to make more money in the App Store, at least for the short term. Over the long term, it's much more difficult to call because if you want to move to where the market is most likely to be, it makes sense from a numbers standpoint, all things being equal that eventually Android would catch up and pass Apple in terms of App Store revenue.

But we are very far from that point today. A reasonable strategy would seem to be to develop for iOS first today, then follow up with Android and continue to do that untll Google Play approaches a tipping point for developers.

All the while, keeping mind that statistics can be manipulated to some extent to prove whatever bias you might have, leaving developers in a precarious postion with no clear answer on how to proceed. 

What's your methodology? Do you develop for both iOS and Android? Which do you develop for first?

Photo Credit: CanStockPhoto
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Reducing Complexity: The Next Software Development Imperative


by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

361143108 05144f25f5 zFor a long time software development was about complexity, making applications that did a big job, but as we enter the age of tablets, smartphones and apps, we are moving away from these complex applications, and your job is increasingly about reducing complexity.

Earlier this month, at the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit, Gartner analyst Whit Andrews talked about complexity as it related to search tools (but which really applies to any software development project). He referred to the Conservation of Complexity, which he likened to conservation of matter --it doesn't go away. "We always face complexity in a given system, but we might push complexity like toothpaste in a tube," he explained.

From a software development perspective, you might introduce complexity to your user as a way of reducing the complexity you face as a developer, or you might sacrifice your time in order that the user not face that complexity.

In a truly great post this week with a terrible title, Tail Wagging the Dog, Matt Gemmell talks about simplicity from a design context, but he could be talking about software development too when he wrote, "For [Apple's Jony Ive], simplicity is about immersion: becoming so engaged with the task or experience that the device disappears. The iPad becomes a stack of photos, or a novel, or a calendar. A noble and sensible goal," Gemmell wrote. (I encourage you to click through and read the whole article.)

And that should be the goal of all developers to make an app so elegant, so well designed; you forget you're using it --or even the device on which it's installed. The reason people gravitate toward apps at work is because mobile devices often offer the most elegant solutions to long-standing problems. Instead of fighting with clunky enterprise software, users find software that does what they need it to do and nothing more --and more importantly that just works.

As 451 Research anyalyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe said in his talk at AIIM 2013 in New Orleans in March, we don't want a website with 57 options. Instead, we want to little apps that do little jobs and we want them to do those discrete jobs very well.

Mobile has clearly changed the mindset and expectations of users and it's up to developers to deal with that new expectation, even in the enterprise where traditionally you have been more concerned with function than with form. Now you have to worry about both, and you have to look for ways to simplify and distill every process and take advantage of the fact you're using a touch device. Sometimes that will take imagination and a change in mindset to get past the models and ways of doing things you've done in the past. 

But if you want to reach your users you need to make reducing complexity your biggest priority. Like it or not, your users and customers have been spoiled by their smartphones and tablets they use in and out of work, and they expect nothing less from their enterprise applications. It's up to you to deliver it.

Photo Credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 Share Alike/Attribution License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 3-8-13


by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

5 3 8 13It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Suddenly Everybody Wants to Follow Apple's Integrated Hardware-Software Model, please check it out. What do Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon all have in common? They are trying to emulate Apple's successful software-hardware integration strategy -- but do these competitors have the chops to pull it off?

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Cloud haters: You too will be assimilated | ZDNet

In this amusing post, you'll learn no matter how much you hate the cloud and all it stands for, resistance if futile and you will be assimilated.

Apps Reorder the Job Landscape |

Companies are finding an interesting outcome from building apps. Sure, it costs money to hire developers to design and maintain them, but in some instances, it's giving users power to do things themselves that used to require the help of employees -- and that means fewer customer service jobs.

The Missing Docs: For When You're Not There | Mendix Blog

It's bound to happen. You're going to get called away for a family emergency or you're going to finally take that long-planned vacation and you need to document how to keep the department going while you're gone. This piece offers some sound advice on how to create a document for your staff to keep things going in your absence.

This is Not Your Father’s Software Industry |

The software industry is in the midst of a radical shift and companies like Uber and Airbnb are leading the way. This author believes we will begin to see more apps that resemble these companies and less that resemble traditional enterprise software over the next decade.

Five reasons why Windows 8 has failed | ZDNet

Windows 8 desktop sales are dismal so far and there are many reasons including developers don't like it and neither do end users. That's a pretty deadly combination right there and there are three other reasons too.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

Users Give Poorly Performing Mobile Apps Short Shrift (infographic)


iStock 000021602783XSmallA survey of mobile app users released today found users have little patience for under performing mobile apps. In fact, 98 percent said performance matters and a full 46 percent of respondents said they would delete the app immediately if it didn't perform as expected.

That doesn't give you a lot of time to make a good impression. Your only saving grace here is that 27 percent said they would give an app more time if they paid for it (although it's not clear just how much leeway that would be). Even if users don't eighty-six your app, chances are they'll give it a bad review or bad mouth it on social media. None of these are happy outcomes.

It's worth noting that it's not all hopeless. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said the top thing developers can do is fix the problem. If you can't fix the problem, 65 percent said you should provide a way to get easy refunds, which is not always the case with mobile apps. 

The survey, which was conducted by Usamp and sponsored by Apigee, which makes API technology for developers, involved 500 US Americans and asked them their opinions on app usage on smartphones and tablets. The survey did not break down the results by operating system or manufacturer.

As always with a sponsored survey, it's important to note that the survey is usually designed to put the sponsor's product and services in the best possible light, but the results are telling nonetheless.

The following infographic summarizes the survey results and illustrates how impatient users tend to be if mobile apps don't perform as expected. Developers beware.


As App Market Matures, Retention Becomes Key Metric


5324223435 08184240d8Back in the day, developers counted downloads to measure success, but it turns out, that's so 2009 now and the new way to measure success is not just pure numbers, but by looking at how many people keep and use the app.

A recent article on Localytics looked at this changing metric. Localytics began measuring not just how many times an app was downloaded, but how many times it was used. When they first started studying this data in March, 2011, they found that 26 percent of downloads were used just once. In other words, folks downloaded these apps, but for whatever reason, never used it again. (For the record, I have a bunch of apps that fall into that category on my phone.)

At the same time, they found that another 26 percent used an app more than 10 times, which is usage nirvana for app developers because it showed that users liked the app enough to keep coming back (and I have a fair number of those too; the ones that are my favorites).

And Pew found it gets even better for news site apps because as you would expect, if you are a loyal reader, you end up opening that news site app more than 10 times per month. I have several news and sports apps, which I open every day. My ESPN Score Center app is open all the time. It's one of my go-to apps along with social apps: Facebook, Twitter and Google +.

The key take-aways from this study are that measuring retention makes more sense than measuring downloads and iOS retention is way ahead of Android. As Localytics puts it, the numbers show that iOS "is crushing Android" when it comes to retention with a a 52 percent higher retention rate than Android.

Glenn Gruber, AVP of mobile solutions at Ness says this move toward measuring retention shows that the industry is maturing and likens it to web properties looking beyond pure page views.

"I agree that retention is  being a better metric, much in the same way that we used to only track hits to the website. Now we are more inclined to look at other factors such as time on site, conversion, and a host of more meaningful metrics," Gruber explained.

He added, "It's a sign that mobile is growing up and we're being more mature about measuring what matters to the business."

And developers need to be paying attention to these changing metrics because if the trend holds that iOS provides significantly greater retention, you may have to consider this in terms of how you distribute your development dollars.

For now, it's a trend that's worth watching and seeing if it holds. Google Play has only been in play for a short time and it will be interesting to see what impact the transition from a pure app store to a more general content store has on Google's numbers.

But it's clear that looking for ways to measure beyond pure download figures makes a lot of sense and you have to be looking for data that can help you direct development resources at the platforms that will generate the most value.

Photo by Sean MacEntee on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

There's Big Money in Them Thar Games (infographic)


You always sensed that there was money in gaming apps, but this infographic illustrates that game apps might even be be bigger than you thought.

People use game apps more than any other type of app including checking the weather, which is fairly remarkable if you think about it.

And where's the most popular place to play games? You would think it would be on the move, but it's not. By far the most popular place is in bed. 

iPhone owners spend by far the most time playing games, followed by Android owners. While this makes sense because they are the two best selling phones, it's not necessarily a given that just because the phones are popular that folks play more games, but that's what's happening in this case.

If that's not enough to get your attention, there's plenty more, but let's conclude with this data point: the smart phone gaming market as popular as it is, is expected to double by 2016. If you're a developer, that has to get your attention.


Little Games Big Business
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Ads May Not Be the Best Way to Monetize Mobile


5098488460 7267416475All Things Digital reported that Mary Meeker delivered an Internet Trends report this week at the D10 conference. She indicated, as you would expect, that mobile is growing fast, but for the short term at least, it won't be monetized in traditional web fashion via advertising. In my view, advertising will never be the best way to monetize mobile.

For starters, if you're talking cell phones, the screen is just too small to start taking up precious real estate with ads. On a screen that small, in fact, people just tend to get annoyed by ads. And some recent research by British firm, Upstream found that people really weren't interested in seeing mobile advertising.

Twenty seven percent of Brits and 20 percent of Americans responding to a survey said they would stop using a product or service if they were subjected to ads on a mobile a device. That's a strong reaction to ads and Marco Veremis, president of Upstream says mobile might require a subtler approach.

"To get consumers to respond over mobile, a brand needs to speak less and employ the right technologies and formats that achieve true relevance and impact. Very few companies truly possess these tools and as such monetization so far has been disappointing despite the smartphone boom," Veremis said.

And Meeker's numbers bear this out. On one chart (shown in the All Things Digital article referenced at the beginning of this post), she pointed out that mobile ads can't hold a candle to the Internet variety just yet. In 2011, there was $30 billion in Internet ad revenue compared with just $1.6 billion in mobile ads.

Part of the reason for that is that despite the ubiquity of cell phones, smart phones only account for a small percentage today. That will change over the next several years, and she believes advertising will begin to catch up, but there are other ways to make money on mobile says Glenn Gruber, AVP of mobile solutions at Ness.

Gruber says ads on mobile devices tend to be intrusive and annoying. "On mobile you are trying to complete an activity that has an immediacy to it (in most cases). You want to complete that as quickly as possible and get back to what you're doing. Ads don't fit in that equation," he said.

He suggests that upselling is a much better approach on mobile because it works in the flow of the user's activity. "It's better if you can use mobile to drive transactions that help move your business forward (e.g. if you're an airline, get people to buy tickets, upgrades or day passes to the airport lounge)."

In other words, use mobile as a way to change business process or reduce operational costs. Or he says, if you have an app or game people value, ask them to pay for it.

Another way that has proved successful is in-app selling. In games, you pay to get to the next level or in other services, you pay to get more advanced features.

Meeker believes ads will eventually catch up with all these eyeballs, but it might be smarter to try and be more creative in your monetization approaches and try to limit advertising as a primary means of making money on mobile devices.

Photo by cote on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 4-20-12

5 4 20 12It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our other post this week, Ellison Testimony Could Leave Java Developers Confused, please check it out now. When the Oracle CEO testified this week he wasn't sure if Java was free, he might have unknowingly released a hornet's nest of angst among Java developers, who were left to wonder what plans Oracle has for Java in the future.

Please consider subscribing if you like what you see here, and if you have something to say, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

But, Boss! I Have to Work at Home! The President Said So" | Input Output.

The US government has mandated telework. It relieves traffic congestion, reduces pollution and lowers the cost of doing business. If it works for the federal government, it might work for your business too. You have to click through for the accompanying infographic alone.

Report Says IT Worker Confidence is at the Highest Level on Record | TechTarget.

A new report oozes with optimism regarding IT workers. Why are you all feeling so good? It turns out it's because there's a high demand for your unique talents around the world. You can even learn what one employment expert considers to be the best countries for IT workers. It's all good news!

Ubuntu wants to be your cloud and data-center Linux | ZDNet.

Sure Ubuntu wants to be your Linux desktop of choice, but it also wants to run your cloud and data center. In fact, it has an interesting strategy to straddle both both Amazon EC2 and Open Stack with an awesome service that uses the acronym AWESOME. What's it mean? You'll have to read the article to find out.

Amazon Low Prices Disguise a High Cost |

The New York Times wants to know how the Justice Department could have missed Amazon in its ebook anti-trust law suit. Instead it goes for Apple, which has just a tiny piece of the eBook market. My favorite line: "That’s the modern equivalent of taking on Standard Oil but breaking up Ed’s Gas ’N’ Groceries on Route 19 instead."

Little Games, Big Business (infographic) | BusinessDegree.Net.

For games developers, the programs may be small, but there's a ton of income out there to be made beyond Zynga and Rovio. This infographic explores the mobile gaming industry and what's at stake economically.

And a bonus for you this week:

If Microsoft Made Google Glasses (video-humor) |

Imagine if Microsoft made Google's augmented reality glasses. This is a bit brutal, but still humorous parody of the Google Glasses video that came out a couple of weeks ago.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.
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