Why are enterprise application development teams struggling? According to Gartner, “demand for enterprise mobile apps is expected to grow at least five times faster than internal IT organizations’ capacity to deliver them.” So how do you keep up?
Organizations need to fundamentally rethink apps for mobile workers. It is no longer acceptable to simply “mobilize” a desktop or web app and try to shrink it onto a smaller screen. Mobile workers need apps that make them more productive by providing relevant, timely, and accessible (read consumable on a smartphone) information across all of their systems while also notifying them of actions they need to take. Workers should then be able to complete these actions directly from the apps, rather than having to link through to legacy systems on a mobile browser.
Five capabilities to look for in a MADP solution
To keep up with the sheer volume of apps needed, combined with the new requirements for mobile apps, here are five things you should look for when selecting a mobile application development platform (MADP):
- Enables rapid app creation and deployment. You have a lot of apps to create and not a lot of time. You need a solution that uses a simple drag and drop app builder to quickly prototype and create apps in minutes. If an app doesn’t fit the business need, iterate or try again – it only took a few minutes anyway! When you do create that killer app that gives employees the mobile access they need, publish it. It should be that easy. Solutions that require a mobile app deployment tool to be in place to push your app out will only slow you down.
- Deliver pre-built connectors for business systems. To create useful apps, apps must connect to existing systems. Unfortunately, Gartner believes that “integration is an often-underestimated aspect of mobile application development projects. A notable portion of an overall mobile app project cost — as much as 70% in some cases — can be attributed to integrating the mobile app with established enterprise applications, services and data sources, whether on-premises or in the cloud.” Don’t do this alone – make sure that your solution includes pre-built and proven connectors to your business software, homegrown internal software, SaaS apps, web services, databases, and data warehouses. You will thank me later.
- Surfaces relevant information before employees know they need it. Employees want mobile apps because they are convenient. Apps give employees access to their information from anywhere. However, as technology has advanced, we have come to expect more – we want information before we look for it. Recently, Amazon did this for me when it recommended a memory card for my new GoPro, which was great as I didn’t know it needed one! Enterprise mobile apps should do the same thing. They should notify employees of relevant information before they know they need it. Imagine a sales rep getting an automated notification from Jira when a new feature her prospect has been asking for is released. And, this should be done across all of their systems and delivered through a single app interface.
- Supports custom workflows that optimize your business. Mobile computing requires a new way of doing things. Employees using a smartphone don’t have the same screen real estate to view large files as employees sitting at a laptop; employees moving through an airport don’t have the luxury of time to sit down and complete tasks. Mobility forces organizations to rethink workflows to account for these variations in devices, time, and location. For example, instead of system emails from Workday, SAP, and Oracle when an employee needs to approve a new hire, approve an expense report, and approve a purchase order, leverage micro apps that monitor these pending actions, notify employees of their pending tasks, and give them a single place to take action. This way, instead of employees logging into three different systems, they can complete their tasks in three clicks. (Note: Much more advanced workflows can be created, but this is a topic onto its own and I will dedicate a blog to it soon.)
- Runs on existing infrastructure. Large organizations have significant existing investment in datacenter technologies. Identity management systems, like Active Directory; enterprise software, like SAP or Oracle; databases; and more are all sitting behind the corporate firewall. So, why run your MADP in the cloud and convince your security team to poke a hole in the firewall to connect to your systems? Or worse yet, why let it remove your data from your datacenter and replicate it in the cloud. Make sure your solution takes this security risk into account, deploys into your current infrastructure, and uses your existing security infrastructure so that security is maintained.
MADPs that support these key capabilities will enable you to keep up with the demands from the business while also creating killer enterprise apps that help your business run faster.
Here at Sapho, we are helping our customers create these killer apps every day. Our rapid micro application development and integration platform enables organizations to create secure apps, built on existing business systems, that deliver employees actionable information and one-click task completion. In essence, we transform your existing systems into accessible, mobile-friendly micro apps that enable better and faster business outcomes.
Want to see it in action? We have three ways for you to get your hands on Sapho for free. Try it now!