Monday’s Musings: What Organizations Want From Mobile

Published on April 28, 2014 by R "Ray" Wang

Mobile Is The Entry Point To Digital Business

Mobile is a key entry point into digital transformation and digital business initiatives.  Along with cloud, social, big data/analytics, and video, mobile is one of the five pillars of digital.  Mobile is more than the first screen of interaction for many users.  Mobile describes how users expect to access and engage.  While modern smartphones have more computing power than what was used to send a man to the moon, mobile often works with cloud as cloud provides the storage and computational power when connected.   Constellation estimates that by 2018, 2 billion mobile phones will be shipped and that there will be more phones than people in the world.  Today’s use patterns reflect mobility as the first touch point into the digital world.  Further, the average person is no further than 3 feet or 1 meter away from a phone at any point during the day.

Requirements For Mobile App Development Reflect New Patterns Of Use

Conversations with market leaders and fast followers indicate seven key requirements from mobile app dev platforms that reflect these new patterns of use (see Figure 1):

Figure 1. What Organizations Want From Mobile

  1. Write once and really deploy everywhere. Users expect responsive design, yet they also expect access to native device features.  The inefficiency of supporting multiple platforms, channels, and interfaces inhibits rapid design and deployment.  Expect mobile development and cloud computing to go hand in hand.
  2. Centralize security management. Developers prefer to embed security policies and device management at design instead of deploying security policies for every operating system, device, and application combination.
  3. Support BYOD policies without customization. The bring your own device (BYOD) movement comes with a cost as organizations often deploy various policies at a granular level.  Organizations need to support mass personalization at scale without incurring mass overhead.
  4. Manage upgrades with ease. The upgrade process today is fraught with inefficiencies.  Many manual steps are required to design, test, and deploy.
  5. Deliver context in right time not just real time. Users expect context drivers such as roles, relationship, time, location, sentiment, and intent to carry seamlessly across all business processes and journey maps.  Delivering context at scale requires a process point of view.
  6. Enable wearables and support for Internet of Things (IOT). Requirements must support new data and sensor capture requirements.  Online and offline support for access to information power future big data business models.
  7. Allow for agile development methodologies.  Developers expect support for a variety of development methodologies to enable rapid iteration and scale.  Today’s approaches often limit developers to a handful of approaches.

The Bottom Line: Start With Mobile First For Digital Business

Mobile initiatives provide an entry point into digital.  Mobile first is more than a mantra.  Why?  By applying design thinking to solving specific and purposeful tasks and processes, organizations can rethink the digital journey with mobile projects.  More importantly, mobile enables organizations to break the silos of existing systems from mainframes to on-premises systems and bring new life to legacy applications usage.  Many market leaders and fast followers have mobilized their mainframe and enabled users to access data and information with minimal additional cost with a transformed user experience.  Others have used mobile as an opportunity to break down functional fiefdoms and process silos in their digital transformation efforts. 

Your POV.

Are you still seeing the world through the lens of Social, Mobile, Cloud, Analytics, and UC/Video?  Does this help you take the bigger perspective? Ready for digital disruption by starting with mobile?  Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationR (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org.

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  • Ray, a little late to commenting, but the post caught my interest. There were certainly areas that I agree with, but others that don’t quite ring true (at least based on the depth of commentary presented so far).

    For one, I think that companies like the “idea” of write once, run everywhere, but they often don’t like the implications, outcomes and compromises required by the idea. Some MADPs do a better job than others in creating a more native experience than others, but whether those tradeoffs make sense within the context of a specific app need to take precedence or you just deliver mediocre experiences efficiently. I’m curious to know how well you think the clients you talk to understand the implications of their development choices.

    Secondly, on security, can you clarify what you mean by securing at “design”? At first I thought you may mean approaches like containerization, but I’m not sure.

    Lastly, I thought your comment about Agile was intriguing. I’ve seen a lot of resistance in larger companies adopting Agile v. smaller ones. On several of the engagements I’ve had with F500 companies, some CIOs/VP, Development understood that Agile is a preferred method of mobile development (to align with the faster delivery cadence of mobile), but yet there was a lot of resistance by them or their organization who are used to Waterfall or at the least have dependancies with teams who manage large enterprise systems (e.g. SAP) whose teams are entrenched in the Waterfall/Change Control ways of doing things. Are you seeing different things?

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