We were witness to a change in mindset during the last decade, a shift from ‘something cool to have’ to ‘essential for business survival’? The wide-and-deep proliferation of smartphones in the society has outpaced previous technology transition and adoption, e.g. migration to the web application from the client-server or desktop apps.
I remember a few years back, most of my customers asked for the initial release of their line of business (LOB) web applications for the web, i.e., make it available to the business user over the internet via a web browser; and subsequently, provide some lite versioned feature release for the mobile phones. In most cases, the mobile version did not really have any significant features. The point I am driving home is, during that time having something released on the mobile was just something ‘cool to have’.
Fast forward several years, now mobile and cloud-first has become the mainstream mantra. In a few more years we will enter a mainstream AI and Data first world. It is now an essential strategy for a business to offer an enterprise application on mobile devices. It’s essential to provide a mobile-first user experience to the consumer and users of the app. With this experience, they can have more control over their when and how they use these apps. In short, now our customers are asking us to release their LOB application on the web and mobile simultaneously to meet this expectation and support business continuity regardless where, how and when their employees use their apps.
Enterprise Mobility, for us, is the ability to combine the user experience on the web and mobile seamlessly. It also means that if the company-wide application is available to the limited resources in the company on the trusted network and on pre-assigned devices, they now have to migrate to be available on different networks, multiple operating systems, and devices, still adhering to the security policies of the company.
The omnipresence of mobile and rise in the tendency of employees to use personal mobile devices for corporate applications and to access data has paved the way for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) proliferation throughout the enterprise.
Most of the requirements for these apps are centered around the following features
- Unified Payments across apps and services
- Integration with CRM and other internal systems
- Group messaging
- Business Intelligence
BYOD has given an unprecedented level of flexibility and opportunity to improve employee productivity. In the digital economy, enterprises can link mobility with cloud computing for speedier and flexible business processes.
While gaining experience in enterprise mobility, we did face challenges, primarily around the choice of the platform and frameworks. Some of the key pitfalls are around:
- Selecting the wrong mobile development tool and platform
- Developing features which can provide enough value to users
- Apps not aligned with strategic goals
- Data security
Today there are several mobile development platforms and frameworks available to address the above challenges. As the proliferation of mobile devices continues, selecting the right platform can deliver a multi-channel solution with maximum code reuse. It’s critical to select the correct development platform and to have a clear mobile app strategy aligned with the business strategy to provide a great user experience for your users. We have helped several of our clients achieve this.