S07E03 - What does it take to build a 'big' app?

This week the team consider the challenges of building some of the 'biggest' apps out there for banks, retailers and beyond. There's some technical talk but discussion quickly moves on to decisions and processes, which we quickly agree are the real 'hard' part.

SPECIAL GUEST

This week we talk to Ed Hodges. Ed's been a guest at previous 361 Live events, but this week he brings his expertise of producing 'big apps' - initially for Touchnote, then Tesco and most recently Royal Bank of Scotland - to the show. Ed quickly dismisses the technology as being the challenging element and describes the 'behind the scenes' story of the challenges of making and maintain an apps where big money or big brands are at stake.

THE CHAT

Ewan says it's not good enough. All of it. He calls' Rafe and 'apologist' and bangs the table. Businesses use the complexity of producing apps (and the legacy of older systems and ways of working) as an excuse not to innovate on mobile. Big business, he says, isn't trying. He does, however, concede that he's equally unhappy when things don't work (such as his recent issues with Sky's mobile apps).

Rafe says Ewan's wrong. Very wrong. He say's that it's consistency and reliability that matter... 'Real' consumers don't lust anxiously over the latest feature and widget. And legacy systems do matter... they may be frustratingly slow, but they're also needed to make sure customers get a joined-up experience between a shop or bank branch and online / mobile. He also reminds us that regulators (especially in banking) are having trouble keeping up with the pace of change.

Ben says not a lot. He's referee this week. However, when he can get a word in he marvels at Ed's focus on the process and mechanics for designing and releasing apps. Developers may be important but with modern smartphones enabling such rich applications it's the co-ordination that really matters.

THE SURVEY

Tell us what you think - we'll report the results in a future episode. If you want to say more, drop us a comment!

I like apps to update often and always have cutting-edge features, even at the expense of reliability:
I like apps to update often and always have cutting-edge features, even at the expense of reliability:
The shopping / banking apps I use do a good job:
The shopping / banking apps I use do a good job: