ATandT Tops in Mobile App Dev, Testing Services: IDC

AT&T was ranked No. 1 in a survey on who provides the best mobile application development and testing services. Verizon and IBM ranked second and third, respectively.

AT&T took the top spot in a recent survey asking which vendors deliver the best mobile application development and testing services, according to IDC.

In the survey involving 350 U.S. respondents, International Data Corp. asked enterprise users about their perceptions of vendors who offer services in mobile application development (AD) and mobile testing services for applications and devices. While AT&T took top honors, Verizon and IBM ranked second and third, respectively. Overall strength of brand had a significant influence on vendor selection, IDC said.

"Success as a provider of discrete or bundled mobile-application development and/or testing services will require players to highlight a combination of their technical and business competencies and experience in highly iterative mobile prototyping and validation, as well as availability of end-to-end mobile lifecycle services,€ said Rona Shuchat, director of application development, testing and management services at IDC, in a statement. €œEnterprise customers are challenged by the rapid pace of and investment required in mobile technology platforms, and many plan to leverage a range of professional project or fully outsourced mobile application services."

IDC delivered two reports, one on mobile application development and another on mobile application testing. In the mobile application development arena, survey respondents identified four key findings, including that reusable frameworks are needed to lower development costs. The survey showed that enterprises are looking for providers who can lower the cost of development with code reusability and cross-platform portability frameworks. Demand for skill sets to use the latest development techniques across multiple mobile OS platforms is high with 35 percent of respondents seeing this as a primary challenge.

The IDC survey also indicated that there is a need for mobile user interface skills. Attention to up-front prototyping and rapid generation of user interface (UI) mock-ups is key to understanding and validating customer mobile use cases. Of the 350 respondents, 35 percent cited this as the leading capability they are seeking from providers.

Moreover, they said innovation and speed to market are critical. Pressure to innovate and keep up with the rapid pace of mobile technology change will strongly influence U.S. enterprises' plans to leverage third-party mobile lifecycle services, IDC said. This is particularly significant for those who are planning to use providers for mobile application development over the next 12 to 24 months.

In addition, IDC said monetization of the mobile channel continues to grow in enterprise priority. Immediate needs call for integration of mobile applications with business email and calendaring, location-based services, sales force automation, billing and payment functionality, and ERP among other critical functions.

Findings regarding mobile application testing include that there is increasing demand for testers with strong communication skills. Testers will play a pivotal role in mobile testing and the broader software development lifecycle (SDLC), with leadership that requires bridging business needs with technical architectures, being responsive and effective in steering toward high-value risk mitigating test planning and execution strategies.

Meanwhile, the survey showed that nearly 40 percent of enterprises are seeking bundled combinations of mobile application development integration and testing services. Additionally, 33 percent of respondents said leveraging third-party expertise and platform assets to validate mobile application functionality, performance and security requirements is important for them. Also, automated approaches to validating multi-touch, gesture-based applications with precision, along with voice recognition and incoming, 3D navigation is complex and expected to tax even the more advanced enterprise organizations, IDC said.

IDC€™s findings also indicate that provider brand positioning will influence enterprise adoption behavior across mobile lifecycle services. Other vendors who placed within the top 10 by company size or select industry categories across both reports included Accenture, Appirio, Aricent, Atos Origin (Siemens), Capgemini/Sogeti, CGI, Cognizant, Compuware (Gomez), CSC, Dell, Deloitte, Fujitsu, Globant, HP Enterprise Services, iGate Patni, Infosys, ITC Infotech, Keynote Device Anywhere, Lockheed Martin, Logica, Mahindra IT and Business Services, Motorola, MindTree, Neoris, Northrop Grumman, Polaris, SOASTA, Sprint, Symphony, Tata Consultancy Services, Unisys, and Wipro.

Top-ranking AT&T held its sixth annual AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas last month. It began one day before the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show there.

At the event, AT&T made a series of moves aimed at helping developers build better mobile applications to run on its wireless platform, including a new API environment, new support for HTML5 applications and a developer-centric cloud platform, among other things.

AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher announced the new AT&T API Platform for easy access to APIs. The new API Platform provides support for the development of HTML5 mobile applications with €œadd-that-to-my-bill€ technology that will make it easy for developers to monetize their applications through the AT&T bill, the company said. The new API platform also features new tools to help developers create multi-screen applications, including for AT&T€™s U-verse TV service.