With more and more users using smartphone apps to perform a variety of transactions from purchasing movie tickets to online banking, many companies are now finding that they have to produce a mobile app or risk getting left behind.
“It’s been a mad rush for the mobile space,” said Koh Eng Kiong, Compuware Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s regional director for Asean.
This is where Compuware comes in — previously focused on mainframe optimisation, Compuware is, according to a recent Gartner report, now the leader of application performance management solutions which deal with optimising mobile apps.
According to Koh, while many companies tend to focus on the aesthetics and functionality when creating a mobile app, very few companies actually spend time to ensure that these apps are fast and stable.
Indeed, in a crowded mobile app space, the end-user experience can give a company the competitive advantage. For example, a slow-loading mobile banking app can drive customers to go for a faster loading one from a rival.
Also, getting a bad rating on the App Store or Google Play can impact the branding of a company.
“Mobility is where speed and performance matters and even now we’re still seeing companies simply throwing money to upgrade infrastructure to speed up apps without addressing the root cause,” said Koh.
Compuware has a different approach to this — instead of simply providing more bandwidth to address the issue, the company’s solution is to track the application’s flow, from user interactions with the app to the completion of the transaction.
By tracking user interactions, Compuware’s solutions aim to identify crashes or slowdowns that cause a bottleneck and then have the developers fix the app right where it matters most.
“I’d like to think of it like buying a new car — as a car comes out of the showroom, it’s nice and smooth. During the year, the buyer may modify the car to make it perform better, but over time, without proper servicing, problems will eventually arise,” said Koh.
“Similarly, when a company creates an app, upgrading the infrastructure is like simply souping up the car, but without proper ‘servicing’, the app will eventually cause problems again.”
Prevention better than cure
Compuware’s solutions can be used during the pre-production phase when the app is still being tested before it’s released.
However, Koh said that about 80% of Malaysian customers approach the company only after their apps go live and develop problems that cannot be fixed by upgrading bandwidth and servers.
For apps coded in Java, PHP or .NET, Compuware’s solutions can automatically discover and add the appropriate tags in the already coded and compiled app without having to work directly with the developers.
Local customers for Compu-ware’s solutions include six Malaysian banks (including Maybank) and two local telcos.
For customers like banks who are concerned about security, Koh stresses that Compuware’s app tracking captures no actual content. It just monitors the customer interactions with the app, such as sequence of taps, code that was executed before the crash or even strength of the mobile signal.
The company’s pricing model is varied — it offers on-premise or Cloud-based licences, as well as continuous or one-off service charges.
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