Mobility has changed business forever. It has increased the types of devices (phones, tablets, wearables) and the volume of devices that connect to a company’s enterprise resources. There are over 6 billion mobile phone subscribers globally and the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) market promises to connect tens of billions of devices to the Internet within several years. These mobile and IoT devices have new operating systems that change how we build software and services. These technology shifts also provide a tremendous opportunity to change how every company will engage and transact business with its customers, employees and partners.
To benefit from these new technologies, corporate data and services must be accessible across smartphones to wearables. Businesses are taking action. More than half of the companies Lopez Research surveyed plan to build 20 or more enterprise mobile apps this year. Many are also using cloud infrastructure and platform as a service solutions to support mobile initiatives. Leading companies in the mobile cloud era will create business and technical strategies where:
• Flexible platforms enable scalable mobile application development. Once a company moves beyond building five to ten apps, it looks for software tools to scale its development efforts. Platforms provide modules to support critical management elements such as testing, app version control, application catalogs, performance analytics, security and lifecycle management. Unlike the rigid platforms of yesteryear, today’s mobile development platforms are modular, offer standards-based interfaces and work with multiple front-end design methods.
• Data should be secured across devices, networks and clouds. Mobile and cloud computing have changed how data is accessed and where it lives. In a mobile world, the concept of a data perimeter where data can be secured has vanished. Data must flow seamlessly and securely between a corporation’s data center, the cloud and mobile devices. With over 67 percent of companies supporting BYOD, companies must be able to separate and control business data across personal and corporate-owned devices.
• Mobile applications move from pretty to transactional. Applications need must connect to data from numerous back end systems. An application is useless if it can’t access the data a person needs. IT should create mobile optimized access to a variety of enterprise systems such as SAP, Oracle, legacy databases and custom applications. Companies can look to mobile platforms for middleware services to securely connect this data into applications and cloud services.
• Mobile apps become a collection of data that represents an entire workflow. In the PC world, a person used multiple apps to complete a workflow such as ordering supplies. In the mobile world, data must be collected from multiple systems and presented in a format where a person can take action. This action could be as simple as an approval or as complex as finding and purchasing a product. To do this, companies will use enterprise integration and sync software (mobile middleware) to link data from systems such as enterprise resource planning, databases and financial systems into mobile applications
• The focus shifts from app downloads to continuous improvement and engagement. The first step in mobility requires designing an application and achieving downloads, but an app isn’t successful unless it drives engagement. IT must work with the end customers at the design phase to understand what tasks and features are most beneficial. App developers must build analytics into the app that will help the company understand the mobile app user experience across the entire application lifecycle. For example, IT should test software to improve performance and use analytics tools to measure adoption and engagement. Analytics and testing at both the design phase and initial deployment phase will help companies identify data related problems and usability issues before they result in poor reviews and impact a company’s reputation. Common measurements for application analytics include crash reporting, flow visualization, session length, frequency of use, device type, location and retention.
• IT leverages the cloud for rich functionality and scale. In the past, IT had to purchase and deploy all of the technology to maintain mobile devices and to deliver applications. Today, a company can use cloud solutions for application testing, mobile application development platforms, and enterprise app integration. The latest enterprise mobile management solutions allow a company to secure, deploy and update applications for its employees. IT also has access to highly available infrastructure and distributed data stores to scale the collection and processing of mobile and IoT data. These modular platforms allow IT to purchase exactly what is needed and scale deployments as needed. Mobility has the opportunity to transform our businesses, but only if a company evolves to mobile business processes.
The good news is that all of the technology a company needs to mobile-enable a business are available as a set of modular platform capabilities that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. In fact, a company can use a combination of cloud and on-premise software to mobile-enable apps and services. With technology solutions readily available, companies can focus on the critical process of defining the workflows that need to be mobile-enabled.
This article was written by Maribel Lopez from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.