Time and time again, human civilization has contracted and expanded its presence on the landscape. It has evolved from developing city-kingdoms to empires, then contracting back into smaller countries and unions. The forms of government have changed from tribal democracies and singular rulers to parliamentary governments and tyrannical republics.

We as humans are a tribal social species and we follow trends. Our behavior mirrors a lot of our technological development. And software development is not an exception. In fact, in software, we can see all of our historical behavior, only the time scale is faster. With the development of native mobile apps, we are starting to understand that the mobile device: cellphone, watch, or some type of smart device plays unequivocally one of the most important roles in the lives of urban humans. And the more we use these smart devices the more we want to get everything at the same time, at the same place, now, and at no cost or lower cost. This is when we begin to observe a new emerging trend: the rise of super apps. At Acenji, we have our definition of what constitutes a super app, and we describe it as:

A super app enables users or machines to interface with an unlimited number of apps on a single device from a unified entry point. These integrated apps function harmoniously, allowing for real-time information exchange among themselves.

Let’s explore the ingredients that are used to build a super app.

The Digital Gateway: Navigating the Super App’s Point of Entry

At the inception of any super app initiative, determining its primary access point is crucial. Presently, these portals, often referred to as digital distribution centers, are already in place. Consider giants like the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. They serve a dual role; while their primary role revolves around the digital distribution of applications, they also function as marketplaces. Here, the distributor earns a commission every time users purchase an application.

Today, there’s a plethora of these digital hubs, each boasting its unique user base. Their commission structures vary, with some opting for a zero-commission strategy and others taking a significant 20-30% cut from the total app purchase price. Such a structure suggests that these distribution platforms might not be overly enthusiastic about the emergence of super apps. Why? Simply because embracing super apps could disrupt their existing revenue model unless they recalibrate their strategic approach.

Now, let’s venture into a hypothetical scenario: imagine a world where a handful of super apps dominate, capturing the attention of 80% of the global customer base. Such a scenario would compel traditional app distribution platforms to pivot. They’d either need to introduce innovative pricing models, forge partnerships with these super apps, or undergo downsizing. As of now, super apps are somewhat compelled to align with platforms deeply integrated with native device functionalities, such as the App Store.

An alternative strategy might involve the inception of a super app certification process. This would not only validate an app’s ‘super’ status but also facilitate its categorization within various digital marketplaces. This tactical shift could herald the dawn of a new digital era, with major corporations playing a pivotal role in shaping these novel access portals.

Understanding Super App Users

As we navigate the intricacies of super app distribution, another pertinent query surfaces: who exactly are the intended users? At a cursory glance, the answer might seem straightforward: everyone. However, diving deeper into user demographics and functionalities reveals a more intricate landscape. To streamline our understanding, let’s broadly categorize these users:

  • System Administrators (Admins): Foremost, we encounter system administrators. These individuals are entrusted with the task of creating, configuring, and implementing global settings and functionalities. Given that many super apps today are crafted from the ground up by specialized development teams, this approach often restricts administrators to a supervisory role, devoid of transformative capabilities. However, if a super app springs to life using a NoCode platform like ACENji, the dynamic changes. Here, administrators wear the dual hat of creators and overseers, possessing the flexibility to mold the super app as they see fit.
  • Power Users: A notch below the system admins are the power users. While they may not wield the overarching authority of administrators, they are by no means passive players. Entrusted with the ability to configure specific settings, integrate new connection points, and maintain the super app’s myriad components (often termed ‘mini apps’), these users operate within a nuanced hierarchy. Their actions and capabilities are governed by a sophisticated matrix of roles and permissions.
  • End Users: At the far end of the spectrum lie the end users. Largely oblivious to the super app’s underlying complexities, their primary concern is straightforward functionality. Uninterested in the app’s construction or maintenance intricacies, their engagement is transient. They access the app, accomplish their immediate tasks, and then redirect their attention elsewhere.

Categorizing Super Apps: Consumer-Based vs. Corporate-Based

Super apps can be broadly distinguished into two categories, based on their primary users and functionalities. These categories help us understand the vast possibilities and expansive reach of such apps:

  • Consumer-Based Super Apps: These are tailor-made for individual consumers. A quintessential consumer-based super app is one where every single end-user independently chooses to download and utilize the app, either availing its paid features or accessing its offerings free of charge. Such super apps primarily emerge to bridge gaps in current systems.
    Consider developing nations, many of which are in the throes of infrastructure enhancement. Here, the populace might not always enjoy comprehensive access to the amenities and luxuries synonymous with developed countries. This dichotomy paves the way for super apps, amalgamating diverse functions like communication, streamlined payment options, and integrated online marketplaces. The upshot? Users can effortlessly transition from gaming to chatting, from paying bills to transferring funds, all within a unified digital space. It’s an ecosystem that spells mutual benefit for both the app developers and the users.
  • Corporate-Based Super Apps: Envision a scenario where an enterprise harnesses the power of a super app to streamline its workforce’s tasks, simplify internal inventory checks, or bolster external client interactions. In today’s corporate landscape, it’s commonplace for companies to lease or acquire multiple apps, mandating their workforce to download, update, and often switch devices for compatibility and security reasons. Juggling multiple apps to accomplish a single task not only hampers productivity but can also lead to workforce frustration.
    Enter the corporate super app. A singular platform, housing an array of ‘mini apps’ that abide by the overarching app’s protocols. Such a cohesive setup simplifies IT support and offers a centralized solution. Intra-company communication becomes smoother, and many company operations, which previously lacked real-time capabilities due to outdated infrastructures, can be expedited. The super app serves as a beacon of innovation, addressing and rectifying these bottlenecks.

Understanding Super App Data Models

Diving into the realm of super apps, the underlying architecture involves intricate data models. Broadly speaking, these models can be categorized into corporate, consumer, and hybrid. While the potential of super apps might seem boundless, the reality is that challenges, like outdated legacy systems, pose integration hurdles. Taking a phased approach – starting with simpler solutions and progressively addressing more intricate challenges – is advisable. This methodology holds across the three data model types mentioned.

  • Read-Only Data Models

Considering CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations, the most straightforward functionality involves the read-only model. This ensures unidirectional data flow without end-user intervention. Within the super app, mini-apps utilize this immutable data. ‘Immutability’ here refers to data that can neither be altered nor deleted. By stipulating that data remains undeleted, the immutability aspect focuses solely on prohibiting modifications.

  • Data Creation in Models

Data creation complicates the scene. This involves extending predefined models or integrating new APIs to cater to the super app. If data generation occurs outside the super app, it integrates seamlessly across the overarching data model, making it accessible to all mini-apps. Conversely, when data originates within the super app, it necessitates updating the primary backend, ensuring new entries, and availing a confirmation of their accessibility.

To streamline this process, a proposed model suggests one app functioning as the primary data source. While this may not be the most frequently used app by end users, it ensures unified data entry, subsequently disseminating this data to all associated mini-apps and a potential external CRM system.

  • Data Deletion in Models

Deletion within a super app should adhere to legal stipulations and best engineering protocols. Ideally, data shouldn’t be erased, only concealed from end users. Should deletion occur, all mini-apps within the super app need to be updated in real time. Moreover, a central synchronization mechanism, bridging the super app and potential external CRMs, should constantly monitor and update records based on any deletions.

  • Data Update in Models

Updates pose a complex challenge. The risk arises when multiple mini-apps attempt to modify the same data almost simultaneously, leading to potential conflicts. While theoretically, a single user-initiated update should dominate, machine-triggered updates across different mini-apps can disrupt this sequence. In such scenarios, a basic algorithm, whether favoring the first or the last update, or based on mini-app priority, should determine the final record.

Understanding how to minimize Cyber Security for Super app

Today’s digital age sees cybersecurity transition from the domain of specialists to a topic of common parlance. Expressions of concern like “Where’s my money? Someone hacked my account, and now they want a ransom!” have become all too familiar. At an organizational scale, the stakes rise exponentially — corporations face breaches, confidential data gets pilfered, governments intervene, and waves of lawsuits ensue.

Given the real-time data-sharing capabilities across their mini-apps, super apps are particularly susceptible to cyber threats. The interconnectedness means that a breach in one mini-app potentially jeopardizes the entire suite. To mitigate such risks, we advocate for the adoption of NoCode super app development platforms. Their unique proposition lies in the ability to both measure and certify test coverages via blockchain transactions, offering an added layer of trust.

Employing consistent building blocks for each mini-app, combined with rigorous testing and coverage, drastically curtails technical debt. This, in turn, yields a product that’s intrinsically more secure than conventionally built “super app” platforms. The essence of a NoCode platform is the prescribed set of page elements and plugins, effectively standardizing the development process. This simplification becomes a numbers game. By reducing the variables that can go awry and consistently refining and testing these elements over time, the system matures. This evolution not only strengthens the super app’s defenses but also diminishes its susceptibility to cybersecurity challenges.

Navigating Regulatory Intricacies in the Super App Domain

The regulatory compliance landscape is vast and intricate, directly fueling employment in its domain. In 2022, the global market for regulatory compliance stood at an impressive $17 billion, with projections suggesting an annual growth of about 6 % (source). This uptick largely stems from the software development and services sectors. As jurisdictions intensify their oversight of software and financial operations, the regulatory web thickens. One driving factor behind this increased scrutiny is the desire of these jurisdictions to recoup funds via taxes, licenses, and tariffs.

Notably, lobbyists representing major software conglomerates have historically swayed regulatory bodies, either stalling or entirely circumventing the implementation of newer regulations due to associated costs. This regulatory environment, particularly stringent in regions like North America and Europe, likely plays a role in the limited proliferation of super apps. Companies, wary of investigations and regulatory repercussions, often hesitate to foray into this territory.

However, a paradox emerges when examining the current technological landscape. Despite the stringent regulations, smaller software enterprises are now swiftly conceptualizing and crafting innovative super app solutions. Leveraging NoCode platforms, these companies can rapidly prototype and deploy their products in mere days or weeks – a stark contrast to the prolonged timelines larger enterprises might face. And if we add an addition to NoCode, blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence we could move to automation deployment software cycles.

Historically, the narrative suggested that size and compliance went hand in hand; larger software vendors were perceived as more reliable when it came to regulatory adherence. This perception allowed them to dominate global markets for extended periods. However, the current technological shift towards speed, agility, and rapid market entry has left many of these giants grappling to keep pace. The message for these titans is clear: adapt by integrating NoCode super app development platforms or risk obsolescence.

The Promise of Super Apps

Super apps stand poised to revolutionize our digital interactions. Their primary allure lies in offering users a streamlined, efficient platform that eradicates digital clutter, enabling focused, productive engagements with just a few taps. At ACENji, our aspiration is not just to introduce users to the myriad benefits of super apps, but to empower them to craft their own. The ultimate vision is a digital ecosystem where super apps facilitate seamless experiences with the least disruption or distraction. Users should be the custodians of their data, confident in the integrity of their digital tools, and free from intrusive third-party ads interrupting their workflow. We believe that the path to achieving this ideal lies in the potential of NoCode super app builder platforms.

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