In a previous post
I discussed how the adoption of mobile devices by customers, employees
and partners, as well as the desire of these constituencies for a
mobile-like experience even in their desktop devices, is leading to the
emergence of mobile as the next enterprise software platform and causing
enterprises to accelerate their mobile application strategies. As a
result, CEOs and even corporate board are making mobile applications a
priority. For the most part thus far these strategies involve
mobilizing existing applications and embracing a mobile-first approach
for the new applications they are licensing or developing internally.
But internally developed enterprise applications, legacy and new,
present corporations with an interesting and complex challenge during
this period when IT investments remain constrained causing corporations
to ask whether they should adopt a mobile-first or a mobile-only
Customers, employees and partners are expecting mobile
enterprise applications that match their mobile consumer experiences.
Moreover, as the portion of the enterprise workforce that is becoming mobile is increasing,
the applications used must match the employee work norms. As IT
departments are quickly finding out, adopting a mobile-first strategy,
particularly for their internally developed applications, can be
particularly tricky and expensive because in the process they need to:
whether and how to divide the application’s functionality between the
mobile and desktop versions. For new applications this is an easier
task than for legacy applications that will need to be mobilized.
their legacy desktop and server-side applications along with their
application management infrastructure. Before developing and deploying a
mobile application that tightly integrates and interacts with one or
more legacy applications, the enterprise may need to first upgrade these
legacy applications. Such upgrades can be particularly costly as they
may also involve upgrading underlying third-party infrastructure
software and hardware.
Provide a user experience that matches
expectations that are being driven by the consumer internet. This means
that the developer must determine whether to re-create a mobile version
of a multi-function enterprise application, or to break the original
application into several single-function ones. In addition, the user
interface of the resulting application(s) must match the user
expectations, which are now very high. With older applications it may
simply not be possible to create an acceptable, modern mobile user
Develop and manage APIs that allow a legacy
application to interact with mobile front-ends and other mobile
applications. In many instances one may only be able to mobile
front-end to a legacy application, typically using HTML5. In other
cases, it may be possible to develop a full-blown mobile application
that incorporates a portion of the legacy application’s functionality.
These alternatives mean that it may be necessary to expose and manage
different sets of APIs for each application.
multitude of security issues associated with mobile devices and the
operating systems they use. In many instances, IT organizations don’t
yet trust the security provided by third-party mobile applications.
Forrester Research reports that more than half of the enterprises in
North America and Europe are implementing mobile application strategies
so that they don’t find themselves with hundreds of security leaks
because employees bring their own devices.
Deploy a mobile application management
infrastructure. In most cases, the existing application management
infrastructures are inadequate for managing mobile applications as well.
For these reasons, IT organizations are considering
mobile-only versions of applications as a means to better respond to
customer, employee and partner needs for mobile applications while
better capitalizing on their application development budgets.