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The Pursuit of APPiness

Gunjan Trivedi, Executive Editor at IDG Media | Feb. 18, 2013
As mobile devices are flooding organizations, CIOs should craft and deploy and exhaustive mobile app strategy to continuously deliver more effective apps to mobile end-users.

Enterprise IT in India has evidently come a long way from dealing with mammoth Unix-based platforms to Wintel (a portmanteau of Windows and Intel) architecture and now to various flavors of cloud computing. All of this has been significantly impacting the back-end architecture, but the front-end compute devices have remained largely unaffected-in fact they got more powerful along the way.

However, in the last decade and a half, it is perhaps the first time when end-user interface is witnessing a phenomenal shift. This change is actually contrarian to the quest for fat, fatter, and fattest desktops or laptops. Today, data access and consumption devices are increasingly getting smaller, and perhaps not as powerful as their counterparts sitting on your desks-but smarter nonetheless.

CIOs are increasingly acknowledging the fact that however watertight one may keep the enterprise ecosystem, mobile devices of various flavors and form factors are flooding organizations. There is no way to stop the advent of devices in one's system.

But I believe that's just the first level of a long and hard game. The game, in fact, has just begun. The harder part is to design an enterprise strategy and build the required infrastructure for developing and managing mobile apps for the long run.

It is pertinent for CIOs to now craft and deploy an exhaustive mobile app strategy to continuously deliver more effective-and sexier-apps to extremely mobile end-users, executives, and customers.

Several IT leaders choose to deploy an app or two to see how the wind blows. After which, they go about designing and deploying enterprise infrastructure and strategy before going all out on creating mobile apps.

"It is pertinent for CIOs to now craft and deploy an exhaustive mobile app strategy to continuously deliver more effective-and sexier-apps to extremely mobile end-users, executives, and customers. "

For these mobile apps to be truly useful, they need to be developed from scratch and not ported as limited versions of existing desktop apps. Developers can maintain a razor-sharp focus on end-user requirements and activities as they work with resource and real estate constraints on devices and can't afford to unnecessarily clutter the screen. Developing mobile apps from scratch improves efficiency and effectiveness of the apps, and significantly reduces the time to market as now one needs to develop a lot less.

Going mobile first, and perhaps then porting it to desktops, however requires CIOs to re-look the talent and expertise within their organizations. Developing a customer-centric app with the right mix of business functionality, user-friendliness, intuitiveness, and design is crucial for its successful adoption.

A variety of mobile platforms and OS versions require constant adjustments and tweaks to the code of an app.  This, in turn, impacts its back-end integration with existing application servers and systems. For instance, a highly successful consumer app for India's premier general insurance company developed severe memory leaks when the Android platform upgraded itself to the latest version of Jelly Bean. Significant recoding was required to solve the problem. The need to secure and encapsulate the app at each level of code to ensure corporate data security further adds to an organization's woes.

 

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