The low-code mobile app development market soared to over $10 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $15 billion by 2025.
While 99% of IT leaders believe that mobile development is key to future success, only 29% of IT departments have staff with advanced mobile development skills. Traditionally, this gap has forced companies to outsource development for mobile applications, or “apps,” which is both time- and cost-intensive.
With low-code platforms, however, even the smallest IT departments can gain the ability to quickly develop and modify mobile apps for the supply chain without specialized knowledge. Teams can even take control to develop apps in-house to save additional time and money.
“Low code” refers to the modern evolution for building digital applications using drag-and-drop logic blocks instead of coding everything from scratch. Though some coding experience is needed (differentiating it from “no code”), even beginning programmers can create, maintain and deploy the strategic apps they need in-house using a simple, easy-to-learn UI.
Low code can also pave the way for developing cross-platform mobile apps. These apps are designed once and deployed across multiple device types and operating systems without having to rebuild the app or UI for each.
As it applies to mobile applications, low-code mobile app development platforms (MADP) have exploded in popularity because of their proven ability to save significant money, time and effort and scalable design that supports future growth and expansion.
The supply chain is no different – but requires special considerations due to its complexity.
Most low-code products are largely generalized solutions made to fit common business functions. For the supply chain, however, they tend to be blunt tools not up to the task, still requiring considerable effort to build mobile apps.
While it’s a better approach than building each supply chain app from scratch, the ideal path is to use a powerful low-code solution purpose-built for supply chain processes and mobility.
Non-specialized mobile app development platforms, “low code” or not, fall short in many areas, especially when it comes to speed. A development platform architected for throughput while handling complex processes with multiple data validations is essential to avoid frustrating end-users or hindering workflows.
The best low code mobile app development platforms for the supply chain provide three major benefits:
A major advantage to using a low-code platform for mobile supply chain app development is that it essentially acts as a “bolt-on” mobile app development skillset for your developers. They don’t need specialized knowledge of mobile app development processes, scripting or coding languages or mobile UI/UX methodologies.
Our senior SAP consultants frequently encounter developers using ABAP (an SAP programming language), HTML5 and generalized mobile app dev tools to create supply chain transactions in the SAP ERP system. We’ve heard from these developers that from creation to deployment, building a single transaction can take as long as four months.
Using RFgen Mobile Development Studio, the premier low code development platform for the supply chain, the time required to create the same transaction is reduced to about four days. If it’s a commonly used transaction, say for receiving inventory, the RFgen Mobile Unity Platform™ includes pre-built, pre-validated mobile apps that can be easily tailored into unique workflows, potentially reducing development time to under an hour.
Assuming a modest 10 hours per week dedicated to coding mobile apps, their IT department saves 150 hours of productivity over four months that can be re-allocated to more useful tasks. If they had hired an outside developer at $225 an hour, developing that one mobile app might have cost the company an extra $33,750 – plus project management hours.
Instead, the company relied on an easy to use, low-code platform to develop the mobile supply chain app quickly and efficiently, before moving onto bigger and better things.
Big companies have big IT teams, right?
Unfortunately, not always.
Even in this age of ever-increasing technology systems in the enterprise stack, organizations are trending toward an overall reduction in IT staff. By 2025, it’s predicted that IT departments will shrink to about a quarter of their current size. Some businesses may also be supplementing high-paid, senior IT employees with more junior staff, who lack experience and advanced knowledge in areas of technical specialization.
So how does a smaller, less experienced IT department tackle an increased workload? By leveraging labor-saving tools like low-code mobile app development.
By using pre-built functions for tasks like code generation, input and table validations, low-code platforms save IT departments invaluable time and money. Users can also update, support and maintain mobile devices remotely for further time savings.
Equipping IT with this mobile app building foundation significantly reduces the overall IT burden, leading to downstream effects such as increased efficiency, better job satisfaction and enhanced productivity.
Purpose-built, low-code mobile app development platforms for the supply chain drastically improve developer productivity, reduce IT staff workload, and decrease development costs and time-to-market.
By embracing low-code solutions now, you’ll be poised to increase self-sufficiency and leverage the significant benefits of modern supply chain mobility.
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