Rex Fong
4 min readOct 21, 2020

Technology transformation is all about solving a real-life problem.

erp, e-commerce, blockchain, peer-to-peer streaming, ai, image recognition, search, big data.

The mobile app is becoming the difference-maker in business productivity and customer satisfaction. It does not matter how tech-savvy you think you are or not, there is something very intuitive about a well designed mobile app. It just works and people get it.

We use apps every day to accomplish tasks and goals, be it ordering a meal from skipthedishes, depositing your bank by using your mobile banking app, or staying connected with friends and coworkers.

We read about all these technological advancements recently and how artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, automation, and many more cool and shiny methodologies.

But yet in your work environment, have you ever thought about how you can also leverage mobile apps and make your life and your client’s life easier?

Have you noticed any inefficiency in your work that in your heart you know there must be a way to make it simpler? Perhaps if these two systems can talk to each other, or perhaps technology can just repeat a certain more low-level task for you, you can free up valuable time to reach out to your client, to think about how to do your work better.

You might ask, if mobile apps are so awesome, why don’t we build them to help improve our workflow. The question is never whether we should build mobile apps to improve our productivities. The truth is, you probably have heard from your uncle at the family barbeque also wanting to build his own mobile app. But the most important question is how do you go about building one.

In this presentation, we will demonstrate how you can get involved in building apps that can benefit you and your workflow.

Common barriers

Mobile software development can often be tricky, as you not only have to build the backend server and databases, you will also have to build for both Android and iOS platform and go through the process of app store approval.

Excluding the time of app approval, a simple mobile app can often cost about $10,000 (2–4 weeks), with an app that requires more database operations and integration of third-party APIs costs about $10,000 to $50,000 (2–3 months). And to develop a multi-featured enterprise app can cost over $50,000 to 150,000 (3–6 months)

This is precisely why many tech giants and startups have tried to seize this opportunity by creating no-code app makers such as Microsoft PowerApps, Wavemakers, Adalo, and other similar technology.

The problem with these No code App builders is their steep learning curve, as creating an app not only requires programming skills but also knowledge around database structure, security and privacy, and user experience design, and app store management. Lastly, the existing solution in the market.

To conclude, mobile app technology is very important, but the development cost is often high and long. What we are presenting here is how we can solve that problem in the house at Crowe MacKay to provide the most cost-effective way to achieve that, and how we can leverage our technology to spark more customer referrals for different practices in the firm.

We call this technology the Micro App Container.

This is why our conference app which normally requires at least 2 months to build, we were able to deliver in about 3 weeks' time.

What is a micro app container?

Essentially, what we have done is by creating a generalized, reusable app container where the most essential components are pre-built to reduce the overhead of redundant development. We can then focus our time and resource to develop any specific features either as a web app or via the native components controlled by API and metadata.

Our micro app container platform consists of reusable backend serverless modules and a cross-platform frontend user interface. By pre-building all the application and system logic (such as push notification, performant user interface, machine learning, AR, and other powerful technology), we can put our time and effort to help our clients create business logic (data relationship, user experience design) that solves real-world problems.

Our mobile app container consists of 5 essential elements:

  • Activity Feed (RSS, Email Feed, API Digestion)
  • Inbox (Actions), push-notification
  • Micro Apps
  • Team & Chat
  • Profile

Micro Apps is like our [Crowe MacKay] app store where our development team can push any changes without having the users update their apps or download another new app because it allows the app’s admin user to organize and publish new apps in the dashboard.

Example of the conference app dashboard.

This drastically reduces the amount of work, time, and resources spent in having the app being approved. We can also patch a bug immediately without any delay.

Examples of Micro apps Ideas:

  • KPI dashboard
  • API data Aggregation
  • data entry and processing
  • review and approval process
  • form submission (ticket submission)
  • any third-party web-based integration
  • searchable inventory/database
  • project management and task tracker
  • email processing and data extraction for key insight


Now take a moment to imagine your typical day. Is there any process that can be automated and how many hours do you spend on those tasks? Now imagine those hours being spent doing something more valuable to you and your clients.