Mobile Apps: Customer reach and differentiation
Mobile application development is expected to exceed other platforms by 2015 , and today, there are now more than 6.8 million developers worldwide developing wireless applications .
Financial Services organizations are finding that these mobile technologies represent an opportunity to extend their customer reach and enhance differentiation. Mobile banking is now used for checking, account transactions, payments, credit applications and other transactions.
According to a new research report by Berg Insight, the worldwide number of users of mobile banking and related services is forecasted to grow from 55 million users in 2009 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 59.2 percent to reach 894 million users in 2015 .
The real challenges of mobile application development
In order to quickly meet customer demands and develop competitive advantage, Financial Services organizations are looking to reduce the cost and time of developing innovative mobile solutions.
But mobile application development brings many challenges including:
- Supporting the same application on multiple and different mobile device platforms and form factors
- Keeping consistent development environments between the various team members (for instance, emulator configurations)
- Ensuring that the mobile application and its data are secure and safe
- Managing the cost of application testing for diverse devices, network carriers, device models and more
- Capturing and tracking details of test-case failures on the actual devices
- Tracking requirements throughout the development lifecycle and including testing results
And the spectrum of ‘mobile’ application is very wide! From simple web applications that are accessible via desktop and mobile devices using open web programming models all the way to native mobile applications that are available through mobile devices only, using native languages, appearance, and device capabilities. The later uses the SDK of the device to develop the application. It’s the highest in application richness, but the most expense to develop and maintain as each device has its own programming model. The packaging, making the app available (via an appstore), and updating as the OSes morph, is all part of the cost of the application.
So, effectively managing the full mobile application development lifecycle for multiple platforms becomes a huge challenge. To address the specific needs and challenges of mobile application development, IBM Rational offers solutions to help our clients with:
- Real-time planning
- Lifecycle traceability
- In-context collaboration
- Development intelligence
- Continuous process improvement
All the available data is pointing to a surge in mobile banking over the next few years. As consumers continue to grow more accustomed to banking on their mobile device, so will the demands for newer, faster and easier access to services such as person-to-person payments, payments and transfers, context-aware capability such as locating the nearest ATM, mobile remote check deposit, access to balances/account activity, and even payment due reminders. Banks today are using these new capabilities to extend their client reach and enhance their business differentiation.
About the author
Valerie Hamilton is the World Wide Rational Marketing Manager for Financial Services (Banking, Financial Markets, and Insurance). Valerie is a Certified Senior IT Specialist and Level 2 Board Member for Americas IT Specialist Profession Certification. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science (specializing in Systems Engineering) as well as 23 years of experience in the software industry
 2010 IBM Tech Trend Survey
 Evans Data Corporation: Global Developer Population and Demographics Report, July 2010