Mobile Backend-as-a-Service, or MBaaS for short, is transforming the way mobile apps are being developed. According to Gartner, 40% of mobile app development projects will involve these cloud backend services by 2016. MBaaS providers out there at the moment include Parse, Kinvey and Stackmob, to name a few.

These platforms are helping developers speed up the mobile app development process. Instead of having to individually write these complex backend services for things like social integration, push notification services and data storage, developers are now using MBaaS to do this instead. MBaaS neatly packages these services up so developers can quickly and easily integrate them into their mobile apps through SDKs and APIs.
Some of these MBaaS providers, like Parse for example, are also offering hosting services so that developers can write and run their own code in the cloud. This means that quick changes can be made to code without having to touch the app itself, therefore avoiding the sometimes lengthy update approval process in app stores. In addition to this, storing code in the cloud means that it can easily be shared across all platforms, instead of developers having to rewrite from scratch for each type of platform.
With Mubaloo’s average app development project taking 3-4 months, it makes sense for developers to use these services where appropriate to speed up their app development process and as a result, reducing costs for clients.
According to a recent Forrester report, only around 5% of Backend-as-a-Service users are enterprise customers. At Mubaloo, where the majority of our clients are large corporations with very strict IT policies in place, we have to carefully assess whether these services are the right approach. One particular IT policy that is most relevant here, is around data storage. With the large majority of MBaaS providers based in the US, we cannot even consider these services for certain clients due to data being stored outside of the UK and the different data protection acts.
Moving forwards however, some of the most popular MBaaS providers, including Parse, Kinvey and Cloudmine, are now working on secure features to meet the needs and requirements of larger businesses; mainly working on secure ways to feed legacy data into enterprise mobile apps. While these features are still relatively new and may require developers to work on bespoke elements for them, they are still saving developers a huge amount of time compared to writing these services from scratch. We think it’s great to see that these MBaaS providers are considering how to integrate their services into the enterprise and it will be interesting to see how we can fit these services into the apps we offer to our corporate clients.
MBaaS is having a huge impact across app development. The fact that developers can now use MBaaS and save themselves time on developing backend services, means that they now have more time to focus on the app from a user’s perspective. It also means that some apps can be developed quicker and in a more cost-effective way.
It’s important for us to clearly assess how and where these services can be useful for our clients and this will wholly depend on the type of the app they are wanting developed and their individual circumstances. At the moment, we are using MBaaS for one our clients who is a mobile app startup, and for some of our corporate clients where their apps aren’t mission-critical. We are really excited by the developments of MBaaS in the enterprise space and we are looking forward to using these services in a lot more of our projects as the technology moves forward.
By Clair O’Neill, Marketing assistant

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