Mobile Apps – It’s difficult, do I care?
Just Accessible Mobile Apps
Today, enterprise developers build web apps or mobile apps. Gone are the days of building client/server apps. The world now revolves around browsers and mobile devices. But, it won’t be long before developers are just building apps. Not web or mobile apps… just apps. Why? Because soon enough ALL apps will HAVE to be accessible from whatever device type a user chooses. In the same way web has become the default for nearly every enterprise app, mobile-ready will soon be mandatory for any new enterprise application.
Mobile Apps – Growing Pains
Today, enterprise mobile application development is in its infancy, and it is suffering from the same growing pains that were experienced with client/server applications in the ‘80s and the web in the ’90s. Companies are struggling with standards, strategies, architecture, device priorities, and a quickly expanding and shifting landscape of devices and user expectations.
Navigating your way through Mobile Apps
The Outsystems paper (available to download below) chronicles the adventures and misadventures of the enterprise mobile app journey based on Outsystems observations working with industry leaders who have weathered three years of pain to arrive at the same conclusions. The enterprise mobile app journey can be classified into three stages:
- Stage 1 – Denial – Not really caring, not really understanding the need.
- Stage 2 – Grief – Making apps available across different operating systems, building expertise
- Stage 3 – Acceptance – It’s difficult, native apps are a problem, we need a different approach
Mobile Apps – Why am I in denial?
Business units are demanding mobile apps to win, serve and retain customers, because users expect to find what they are looking for in their current context and moment of need. One million apps are already in the Apple and Google app stores and 900 million public web sites now need to become mobile-ready. Mobile devices are the go-to tool for the basic things in life – it’s a fundamental privilege. While the most obvious instances of enterprise mobile apps are B2C, the real opportunity is actually in the potential mobilization of your partners and employees. Life has become a collection of mobile moments and life in the enterprise is following suit. Read More.
Mobile apps are so much grief!
Hands down this is the most common state of the union for most businesses. Of course the first app had to support iOS. (Did you pick iPhone or iPad?) And of course, it had to be native. So you hired, contracted or found the native device programming skills and the back-end programmers that could make the integration work If you give preference to iOS and Android, there are two other platforms to consider. The most obvious is Windows Phone, which has experienced an uptake but can still be discarded for most applications. Not to be ignored is the web browser. This requirement has been driving enterprise architects to adopt a one code base, multiple deployment platforms approach that includes the mobile web browser as a first-class target platform. Read More.
Mobile apps are actually quite difficult, what can I do?
Mobile is not about cell phones or about employees outside your corporate network. It is about making any business application – for employees, partners or customers – accessible from any device, anywhere, and rendering it in a manner that makes sense for the device and the interaction. In many cases, the device type the user will use to access your all-important mobile app is unknown. This means addressing an expanding landscape of device types, form factors, and operating systems (including versions of operating systems). Most organizations quickly realize that maintaining multiple code bases targeting specific device types is insanity. The costs, required skills, and time-to-market considerations make it impractical. Accepting this reality is driving most IT organizations to consider an approach or platform that will enable them to address the vast majority of their users and use cases with a single app design and code base
The need for a new approach to mobile apps
- People & Process – It’s about the user experience
- Foster Collaboration – We need everybody’s input to build winning apps
- Engage with users – Understanding and quickly reacting is paramount to success
- Tools & Technology – Limit different code base, in turn different skills required, which is a cost
- User Experience – Focus on understanding, involvement and know-how
- Think Integration – Think about different data sources to one app
The need to build compelling and highly usable customer and partner facing mobile apps is driving a new breed of rapid application delivery platform. Platforms specifically designed to meet the needs of multichannel apps that run perfectly on any device and can be changed at the speed of business. Forrester has termed this new breed of apps low-code platforms, and states that: “Hand-coding is too slow to develop and deliver many of the applications that companies use to win, serve, and retain customers. Firms are turning to new, low-code application platforms that accelerate app delivery by dramatically reducing the amount of hand-coding required.” New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications By Clay Richardson and John R. Rymer Forrester Research.
Conclusion & further reading
Mobile apps are more than just pretty user interfaces – they need to be properly and powerfully connected to your enterprise. To optimize for speed of delivery, the entire application and its lifecycle must be managed effectively.
ISB Global’s set of mobile (and web) applications, SmartWorld, allows you to get data to your mobile in real time. Truly “Taking Waste Mobile” We’re convinced – it’s the Outsystems platform that allows you to do this on any operating system and any device and is so compelling, we’re offering a free trial, or a complimentary pilot.