Discover Performance

HP Software's community for IT leaders // October 2012

5 factors for building better mobile apps

Why—and how—to ensure performance, security and a positive user experience.

Enterprises are increasingly driven to create mobile applications that facilitate internal productivity or improve customer experience. Yet the many networks, devices and user expectations evolve rapidly, making it hard to deliver a consistent, top-notch mobile app experience.

A key aspect of app development is QA testing, which in a mobile era needs to evolve—and get faster. There are a lot of questions to be answered as you lead that evolution. Start by considering these key issues:

  • Performance: The variability of bandwidth on mobile networks can have unforeseen impacts on performance of mobile and legacy applications. If a system is not architected to account for mobile device access, you may end up with serious performance degradation.
  • Security: Mobile devices present unique security challenges. If your CEO tells you, “I lost my smart phone,” are your applications and data still secure?
  • End-to-end user experience: Understanding your end-users’ experience is essential if you want to address problems before they become major issues. As the pace of change in the mobile device industry grows, development teams must be closely aligned with the testing and operations teams supporting mobile applications.

Your mobile apps strategy should include ways to address five primary challenges: Functional validation, performance validation, security, monitoring production and operations alignment.

Functional validation

QA teams can’t just validate their mobile apps’ functionality. They also need to adapt their testing methods to make sure they’re really addressing the needs of mobile users and their various devices. Manual testing is too inefficient, especially given the range of carriers, operating systems and regions. You’ll need automated testing processes that cover a wider range of variables than your slower manual processes could handle.

A key question with automation is whether to use emulator-based tests (less costly) or real-device testing (better results).

Keep in mind, too, that many mobile apps are access points to larger systems. Teams looking to reduce risk and increase test-case coverage must be able to test not only the mobile app functionality, but also the functionality of a transaction as it moves through the various components of the entire system.

Performance validation

You must ensure that your mobile apps can perform as they should despite flaky data connections. This is a design issue, but one that must be addressed in the testing phase, as well.

A less obvious performance challenge is the effect that the shared mobile network can have on the performance of a mobile app. Adding mobile access can dramatically slow—or even crash—the system. Mobile devices tend to take longer to complete transactions, monopolizing server resources that are normally used and released quickly.


Even with a secure app design, what if a senior executive’s mobile device is lost or stolen? Could you guarantee the security of the apps and data on that device? Establish an approach to test and validate the app’s authentication, encryption and wireless security.

Monitoring production

To continue to offer the highest quality of service for mobile apps, you need an approach to monitoring the end-to-end health of mobile business services, from the application through the device, carriers and back-end infrastructure.

It’s better to take care of these concerns up front than to hear about end-user problems on Facebook, Twitter or other social media.

Operations alignment

It’s impractical—scratch that, impossible—to test for all mobile combinations and situations, which guarantees that patches and updates will be needed for any given app. That’s a style and pace of work that requires you to eliminate the traditional silos between the development and operations teams. With mobile device applications, development and operations must partner and work together closely to monitor applications and consistently drive future enhancements and bug fixes.

For a deeper look at these issues and HP’s comprehensive approach to mobile testing, read the full white paper, “Five mobile application challenges for IT.”


IT leader assessment

This tool evaluates the correlation between IT attributes and business success and, based on how your answers compare with average scores, will advise you where to invest in IT.

It is based on data HP collected from 650 global companies about a range of IT characteristics (server capacities, approach to information management, security, BYOD, etc.) and how they correlate to revenue gain. This assessment will compare your answers to the average scores in that study.

There are 12 questions that will require an estimated 10 minutes of your time. You'll receive a summary of your rating upon completion.

Let's get started

Please select an answer.


Your answer:
Your score:
Average score:
Revenue leaders' score:


Please select an answer.



Your score:
Average score:
Revenue leaders' score:

Get detailed results:


Popular tags


Discover Performance Weekly

HP Software’s Paul Muller hosts a weekly video digging into the hottest IT issues. Check out the latest episodes.

Faster dev, better apps

The authors of the Capgemini-Sogeti World Quality Report discuss emerging trends in testing, including shifting roles and techniques.

Enterprise 20/20

Dev Center 20/20

How will we organize development centers for the apps that will power our enterprises?

Introduction to Enterprise 20/20

What will a successful enterprise look like in the future?

CIO 20/20

Challenges and opportunities for the CIO of the future.

Marketing 20/20

Welcome to a new reality of split-second decisions and marketing by the numbers.

IT Operations 20/20

How can you achieve the data center of the future?

Employee 20/20

What the workforce of 2020 can expect from IT, and what IT can expect from the workforce.

Security 20/20

Preparing today for tomorrow’s threats.

Mobility 20/20

Looking toward the era when everyone — and everything — is connected.

Data Center 20/20

The innovation and revenue engine of the enterprise.

Read more

HP Software related

Most read articles

Discover Performance


Tweets @ HPITperformance