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Enterprise Mobility Blog, Mobile App Development

Investing in Mobile Leads to Positive ROI

ROI of Mobile App TestingWondering if your organization should invest in a mobile strategy? A recent survey from Red Hat, Inc. says you should. The survey revealed that 74 percent of respondents whose organizations use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure mobile application success are receiving positive return on investment.

As demand for enterprise mobility increases, organizations have had to prove and track mobile effectiveness. According to the survey, 85 percent of respondents are using KPIs to measure performance. And it’s paying off. By implementing KPIs, organizations are able to see how much return mobile is generating.

A staggering 79 percent of U.S. and 68 percent of Western Europe organizations are seeing positive return on mobile investment. Only four percent of respondents reported a negative return. With increased ROI comes increased investment. Not surprisingly, 90 percent of these organizations plan to increase mobile investment in 2016.

So, who’s responsible for tracking mobile performance? 72 of respondents believe senior IT leaders and their managers are responsible for keeping up with the success of mobile development. However, in 2016 respondents see this shifting with 42 percent of respondents placing responsibility on line of business (LOB) leaders.

Mobile Investment Stats:

  • 52 percent of respondents have fully implemented a mobile app strategy
  • 90 percent plan to increase mobile app development funding in 2016
  • 96 percent of respondents who have fully implemented a mobile app strategy use KPIs to measure mobile app success
  • Telecom, manufacturing and construction industries saw the most positive ROI

The ROI of Automated App Testing

Back in the day when CICS and DB2 were the dominant enterprise app platforms, and later even into the client-server platforms with desktop or web user interfaces, it was unlikely one could find a compelling case for doing automated application testing.

IT still ruled over updates, upgrades, the platforms that apps ran on, and so on. Thus, there wasn’t always a pressing need to automate functional (and regression) testing of applications in order to cope with platform changes.  IT could strategically update platforms on its own terms.

Today, it’s a totally different ball game.

In the Experiences of Test Automation, authors Dorothy Graham and Mark Fewster argue that software test automation is no longer a luxury with a questionable return on investment (ROI).

Instead, automated functional testing and automated regression testing have crossed over to a definite necessity, as mobile apps have grown ever more important and complex.

In short, manual approaches simply cannot keep up with the growing complexity and demands of mobile application testing.

3 New Challenges of Mobile App Development

Mobile app testing today comes with several new challenges that weren’t in play when testing desktop and Web apps.

First, when you deliver an app, it’s expected that it will run on more than one mobile platform right out of the gate. In a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) world, your employees and customers have the freedom to choose the device they want to carry and use, so your enterprise mobile apps must run on multiple platforms.

Second, IT no longer has control over which mobile platform version or operating system (OS) employees and customers use.

IT has lost its strategic control of platform versions.  IT has no control over when mobile device manufacturers will push out new devices and OS’s. That means an organization’s mobile app development plans are largely at the mercy of the device manufacturers’ schedules.

So, whenever a new OS update or phone drops, you must react quickly to support the upgrade. This fall, when Apple® releases its newest iOS, your mobile apps must work on that OS as soon as it becomes available or you risk app performance issues, low adoption rates and unhappy employees or customers. And since IT lacks control of when or if mobile users will upgrade to the latest OS, continued support for previous OS’s remains critical.

Ensuring Everything Is Still OK

In their test automation book, Graham and Fewster assert that the biggest ROI for automated regression testing is not in discovering defects. Instead, it is the rapid gaining of confidence that things are still OK, despite a platform upgrade or functional change to the app.

That’s important to note because, in my experience, Murphy’s Law virtually guarantees that the change you make to one line of code in a 10,000 line module, a change you thought could never cause a problem can leave you with one working line of code and, say, 9,999 broken ones.

That’s where automated mobile app testing tools such as Mobile Labs Trust™ can help accelerate deployments and reduce regression testing time by quickly detecting such regression problems.

More Test Cases to Run More Frequently

As mobile matures, mobile apps themselves are evolving. What might have been one large application system in the client/server days is now built as a suite of mobile applications.  Add these factors together and you now have to use more test cases and run them more frequently than ever before. This strengthens the ROI case for automated functional and regression testing.

It may be too soon to be able to quantify with exact certainty the payback of automated mobile application testing.  However, these trends are combining to help create a solid ROI argument. And that can only mean more IT operations getting on the bandwagon of automated functional and regression testing.

For more in depth information on the future of mobile investment, read Red Hat’s complete survey findings.

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