The worldwide enterprise mobility market is growing by 24% GAGR, and its value will likely touch $140 billion by 2020. A key contributor to the growth is Android. However, enterprise seeking to leverage the gains of Android-powered mobility, however, needs to roll out intuitive Android apps, through which they can channel the ecosystem to the desired effect.
Here are the benefits enterprises stand to leverage by investing in Android apps
1. Android Cut Costs
Android is open-source. Its Software Development Kit (SDK) is available free of cost. Enterprises rolling out Android apps to power their systems and processes need to spend only on the development costs. They can minimize the software licensing costs, and get their software free of any royalties. The saving is considerable, considering CFOs in today’s highly competitive age are penny-pinchers, and reluctant to invest in anything not directly contributing to the bottom-line.
2. Android facilitates Easy Integration
Most enterprises have multiple entities, departments, and processes. Having separate and distinct systems or processes for each entity needlessly duplicates the efforts and costs needed to maintain such systems, and also creates disjoints and data silos. Many enterprises strive to run company processes through a single integrated system. Android is the perfect platform for such an approach, as is is resilient, and able to run on any device or form factor. An enterprise can easily develop a CRM on Android and seamlessly link it with an Android developed a marketing automation suite, a Human Resource Information System, and more, creating an integrated whole. Such an approach ends the menace of data silos and facilitates the smooth and seamless flow of information across the enterprise.
A comprehensive Android-based platform is a convenient way to manage all functions of enterprises. The enterprise can roll out several functional apps, each linking to the integrated system. Such apps, which sits over the traditional enterprise systems, and which updates the systems in real-time, may be tailored to suit the workflow and process of the employee or the department. It gives an unprecedented level of flexibility to the employees and makes the enterprise adapt to respond to changes faster. For instance, if a particular situation requires a new workflow or a new level of coordination, all the enterprise needs to do is roll out a new app and disseminate it to the concerned employees or stakeholders.
3. Android Delivers Flexibility
Many-a-times, enterprises are forced to adjust their business operations to cater to the demands of an inflexible system. The ease and low costs to develop Android apps, and the flexibility of the Android platform mean enterprises need not make such sacrifices and can pursue their objectives in the most efficient way possible. Android makes it very easy and viable to develop tailor-made, and even innovative apps to suit any processes or any requirement. Custom apps may also be localized to maximize productivity.
4. Ease of Installation and Use
Developers have it easy with Android, thanks to the availability of Android tools which offer easy ways to improve, fix, and update apps thanks to the facilities that Android tools provide them.
Android applications are flexible and resilient to be published and pushed in multiple ways. It may be hosted in an app store, or even distributed through APKs. Enterprises can easily ensure their employees, customers or other targeted stakeholders can access and download the app in a very simple way, without any hassle. Unlike other stacks, which require a lot of learning curve and even set-up assistance, Android’s simple and easy nature makes it a DIY proposition.
Android brings very few complications or compatibility issues. Custom built Android apps, designed with end-user requirements in mind offer very little complication and syncs seamlessly with any business software, including legacy systems. The open source nature also means the availability of several connectors to link enterprise applications with popular packages such as Salesforce, MailChimp, and more.
Bizness Apps – “Mobile Apps For Businesses Made Easy” [Source : Flikli]
5. A Fillip for BYOD
The Bring your own Device (BYOD) concept is a rage in enterprises. A big reason for its popularity is the win-win proposition it offers to both the enterprises and the employees alike. Enterprises save on hardware and training costs, whereas employees get the convenience of working in their own familiar devices, with the associated productivity benefits. However, the success of BYOD depends on the availability of highly functional apps, through which employees can access their work. Logging in to the corporate intranet through a mobile browser every time is highly cumbersome and in any case, an inefficient way to work, frittering away much of the gains of mobility.
Android apps allow the employee to work seamlessly. It allows the enterprise to set policies to ensure BYOD does not compromise the integrity of enterprise data and processes.
With BYOD, employees, especially those on the move, can access enterprise applications securely through the API, and from their usual device. This expedites the decision-making process, makes work seamless, and saves the executives’ effort.
6. Valuing the Stakeholders
Forward-looking enterprises of today share some common traits, and being responsive is one such trait. Enterprises which are responsive to its stakeholders, promote an open culture, and encourage feedback, gain a positive image, and reap rich indirect benefits out of it. A collaborative software development approach, with end users and other stakeholders having a major say syncs with such a culture and environment.
Android is the perfect medium for such a culture and approach. The large and vibrant Android community makes it the perfect option to receive customer feedback. Users of an Android app can easily share their feedback and even rate the app in the Play Store. Several freely available tools make collaboration easy.
7. Improved Customer Engagement
While mobile apps revolutionize the internal workings of an enterprise, its potential to boost customer engagement stands underrated.
Mobility is clearly the future, with more people already accessing the Internet through their smartphones than through traditional computing devices such as PCs and tablets. Among the various mobile platforms, Android is the dominant player, with 84% of the total mobile market share. Android’s dominance is unlikely to end anytime soon either. Enterprises investing in customer-facing Android apps, and promoting customers to download it to their smartphones, stand the chance of establishing a secured and reliable engagement channel with the maximum number of customers.
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Android, the most popular OS for mobile devices, is still on a growth trajectory. Developing Android apps have now become indispensable for anyone who requires a strong presence in the vital mobility space. Here are some Android app development tips that make such app development easy, without getting bogged down with self-defeating complicated and extensive projects.
1. Get the Basics Right
The basic Android development tip, to which there is no workaround, is gaining skill in the underlying languages. Android is technically an operating system and a platform, or a collection of language by itself. Apart from Java which offers the programming language and XML that offers UI components, the mix includes HTTP for data storage and connectivity, SQLite for data storage, XML-RPC for connectivity, and Gradle and ANT for compiling, among other languages.
Learning how to install Eclipse, the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Java and the Java Development Kit (JDK) also helps. While it is possible to develop apps even without IDE’s, IDEs make things much easier, allowing compilation and running the code with just a touch of a button, sparing the need to painstakingly write additional code.
2. Gain Familiarity with Intuitive Tools
Tools such as Hierarchy Viewer, LayOutOpt, and others make Android development simpler and easier than it otherwise would while making the code more robust at the same time. The Android Debugging Bridge (ADB), the Dalkvik Debug Monitor Server (DDMS), advanced features of Traceview and dmtracedump are all effective debugging tools.
Using Hierarchy Viewer <sdk>/tools/hierarchy viewer, while creating views, makes it easy to visualize complicated layouts, sparing developers the hassles of developing advanced styling under erroneous assumptions. The feature is available only on devices flashed with a developer version of the Android Platform, limiting people who can access it, and thereby improving security. An associated tool is Pixel Perfect, to zero in on the fine placement details of images, and ensure it renders appropriately on all densities.
Running layoutopt <sdk>/tools/ layoutopt, against an XML generates a short description of the issue, along with the line number where the issue exists and suggested resolutions. The tool suggests areas where the developer can use more effective platform attributes, to have fewer views rendered to the UI at run time. Developers can eliminate redundant views and save valuable time, besides making the code more optimal.
While there are several third-party solutions for each issue, using Android-specific solution is often simpler and yields better performance. As a good practice, explore other tools only when the Android tool is inadequate for the purpose.
Building a modular structure, with components fits for reuse between different layouts reduces the quantum of XML required, and prevents the code from becoming too unwieldy.
3. Make Extensive use of Themes
Another handy Android development tip is to make extensive use of themes, to manage the style across the app. Rather than take the code heavy route of declaring the height and width of every single layout items in views, wrapping the layout around a theme is much more effective and easier. Co-opting a rich styling early in the development process makes it very easy to deal with device idiosyncrasies at a later stage, something very handy in today’s age of device fragmentation.
4. Make Good Use of Forums and Resources
The extent of skills required for any project depends on the nature of the project and the range of functionality proposed for the app. For instance, learning how an API works is essential for apps that integrate Google Maps. Here, what matters is not whether the developer knows everything required, rather knowing where to find the information required.
Google is your friend. Among the specific forums, Stack Overflow, and the Android Subreddit are the most helpful Android communities in the cyberspace. Other forums such as CodeProject, DevShed, and CodeCall all have vibrant Android-specific discussions as well. For newbie developers, completing the “Building Your First App” lesson on the Android developer’s website is a good first step. The Android Developers channel on YouTube offers excellent video tutorials. A wealth of demos and tools for IDEs will ease an otherwise steep learning curve.
Each forum has its specific niche. For instance, StackOverflow is a good place for understanding what an error means, and for troubleshooting. The Android Developer Office Hours hangouts make it possible to ask the team directly
Being sociable is the key to success in such social forums. An active presence, sharing tips, frustrations, and links, is a great way to remain updated, and make development that much easier.
5. Approach Rapid App Development with Caution
The timeframes to develop an app depends on the features and functionalities required in the app. As a rule of thumb, about two months is the optimal time for a new developer to conjure up a standard run of the mill app. However, today’s fast-paced business environment demands fast-paced developments. Catering to such demands are several rapid application tools and development frameworks. Such rapid application tools facilitate rapid iterations, often offering an easy drag and drop interface, doing away with the coding requirements.
The efficacy of many such tools is limited to developing apps with basic functionality. Also, developers need to be wary of several dud products that pretend to ease development but is actually junk. It is a good idea to test a new or unknown tool them by developing a simple yet significant app with it.
6. Listen to the Customers
Last but not the least, the customer is always the king. Developers need to listen to their users. Rather than trying to implement what they know, they need to understand the features and functionality users want, ascertain the technologies which will enable them to realize such functionality and work towards acquiring the relevant skills to realizing it.
Also, while innovation is a rockstar in the open source Android world, “to break the rules you first must know the rules”. An understanding of established best practices is essential before trying to break out and develop your own unique niche.
It pays to tie up with a sound partner, who has a wealth of experience to understand what will click and what won’t, backed up by the resources to identify and incorporate the latest technology, the talent to blend industry best practices with innovation, and more. We are your perfect partners for the purpose, having developed hundreds of cutting-edge Android apps, cutting across industries.