Mobile computing has become so ubiquitous, it’s hard to believe the first truly mainstream smart phone capable of accessing the Internet was created less than 20 years ago.
Now people surf the web on their phones, with tablets, on their watches and with other devices. What’s more, all sorts of formally inanimate objects – everything from your car to your refrigerator – is capable of communication.
This explosive growth shows no signs of slowing down, which presents several challenges to companies as they develop mobile applications. Although companies may share the following challenges, the solutions will be as unique as each company.
Incidentally, we help our clients overcome these challenges on a daily basis when mobilizing the enterprise:
Security remains a primary and ongoing concern for many enterprises. Where mobile phone use is required on the job, BYOD policies are the norm. However, that can present mobile device management headaches for companies that need to monitor and regulate how users are authenticated, what information is released and how to remotely wipe company data (but not personal data) from a phone that is lost or stolen or when someone leaves the company.
A corollary to security is the protection of intellectual property. Mobile users can inadvertently leak data, but hackers also remain a threat. Even companies that aren’t in the technology industry face this issue of protecting their trade secrets against any and all threats.
The popularity of mobile computing means that enterprise apps must be designed with the user experience firmly in mind and not as an afterthought. As consumers, we have become accustomed to apps that just work. An effective mobile app loads quickly and lets us accomplish the task (or diversion) we wanted to perform. So an enterprise app must accomplish your business objectives while being easy and intuitive to use for your employees, partners and vendors.
And trying to get legacy software to work on cutting-edge mobile devices brings us to the next challenges, architecture and integration with back-end systems. Integration issues can make or break an app, so those data calls must be planned carefully.
But many companies have reached the point where they can’t scale their existing mobile architecture to load software any faster or do any more to protect it from security risks. These companies face two choices: fix the old software or go in a new direction. Fixing old software can be done gradually, to lessen the burden.
The sheer number of mobile devices, coupled with the Internet of Things, is putting strain on servers and the speed at which they can transmit data. So software itself is the final bottleneck companies face. Bad software provides a poor foundation upon which to build a succession of mobile applications. It also slows the delivery of information to users and can be more costly to store in cloud environments or to maintain.
As mobile matures, more companies are recognizing the need to develop a strategy around their mobile architecture, to get a handle on its development and guide that development in a meaningful way.
That’s a great idea. If you are looking to engage a partner to examine your mobile strategy, I would suggest finding a firm that not only understands your industry but also can handle implementation.
At Pyramid Consulting, we often see strategic roadmaps that don’t fully leverage a company’s mobile applications or are too costly to implement effectively. The roadmap is just one piece of the puzzle and should be considered in conjunction with a company’s current application development and testing tools.
We’ve been working with two clients in the same industry, one of which is using proprietary tools and one that has fully embraced open source tools. Which one is doing the right thing? Both are because of the different business strategies and roadmaps.
There is no one solution for the mobile application bottleneck that companies are facing. Anyone who suggests a cookie-cutter solution to your unique challenges should be shown the door – and quickly.