The rise and rise of application development

Applications, and those that develop them, continue to grow in importance. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this, as businesses have sought to continue operating during lockdown.

Johannesburg, 08 Jun 2020
Khaya Solundwana, Senior IT technician at TechnoChange.
Khaya Solundwana, Senior IT technician at TechnoChange.

In a digitally transforming world, applications are becoming increasingly important, as they become the tools to improve user engagement, empower brand awareness and enhance revenue growth. Is it any wonder then that apps have become a cornerstone of modern business, or that organisations are focusing on leveraging apps for their benefit more than ever?

A good example, explains Khaya Solundwana, Senior IT technician at TechnoChange, is how apps have enabled far greater levels of agility for companies that would otherwise have been unable to operate at all during the COVID-19 lockdown.

By shifting business-critical applications to the cloud, he suggest that companies have been able to ensure the consistent operation of key areas of business, such as customer relationship management (CRM), document management and project life cycle management. In this way, they have enabled employees, customers and partners to access these applications from home, over the Internet.

“To this end, businesses have looked to remote access and virtual private networks (VPNs) to enable access into the corporates in order to be able to perform daily tasks, and to ensure customers are kept happy. In fact, the core driver of such applications lies in providing value to the end-users and in connecting the organisation with the customer,” he says.

“Of course, this has also led to the realisation that to be successful, a business will have to invest in researchers and content that work hand-in-hand with the developer to continuously improve such a system, and to understand whether it offers what the client needs. After all, we need apps to be end-user friendly as well – so they cannot be complex, and need to be capable of working with various types of software.”

The latter is vital, he adds, since with end-users using multiple types of both software and hardware, the app needs to be able to function in conjunction with all of these. Application developers therefore have a tough job, in that they need to consider all of this from the outset, as well as ensuring they have access to tools that enable them to perform cross-platform coding. This means they can code once, and the application will be capable of operating across multiple platforms.

“The key to developing applications – particularly those that need to serve effectively in a time of crisis like now – is to keep the focus on the client and deliver an app that is simple and enables easy end-user access.

“We are being tested as IT professionals at the moment, because the nature of this pandemic is such that it is forcing developers to become more innovative, something that will have much longer term benefits for the organisation and its end customers.”

After all, continues Solundwana, in the current crisis, developers are being pushed to learn on the fly, and experience of this nature only helps to forge them into even better, more experienced, IT professionals.

“There can be little doubt that while the COVID-19 crisis is a serious and global concern, one of the silver linings to come out of it is the fact that it has ensured that developers have learned how to be much more agile and how to truly undertake development at the IT coalface and under incredible pressure.

“Moreover, the technology future is bright as well, with rapid advances and solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud making huge impacts. At the end of the day, the developer’s focus should be on creating solutions for the betterment of the business, the world and the customer experience. As we come out the other side of this crisis, it must also be remembered that the world is going to be crying out for opportunities to enable job creation. Therefore, the exponential growth of applications today should mean there are massive opportunities for new developers in the post-COVID-19 world, and that software development as a whole can offer a way to help stimulate the economy and create additional jobs,” he concludes.