The call for organizations to be “mobile first” in application development has been so heavily embraced by enterprises that today mobile first has become table stakes. Being mobile first is no longer cutting edge but merely keeping pace with the enterprise pack. And a big pack it has become: According to ABI Research, revenues generated by the enterprise mobile market are growing at twice the rate as consumer apps and will reach $340 billion by 2017.
With that size of a market in place, and nearly every employee having as many as three mobile devices, and every enterprise cranking out mobile apps as quickly as they can, how are organizations supposed to leverage that mobile infrastructure?
Here are a few ideas how:
Capture the continuous, mobile data inputs that matter
As readers of DevOps.com are quite aware, the enterprise has evolved into a continuously integrated, continuous developed and continuously deployed software and data factory. If you’re reading this site, you are aware of the tremendous benefits of DevOps, as well as the the changes containerization and microservices are bringing to IT.
But the continuous nature of the modern enterprise isn’t just about applications, especially in today’s mobile environment. It’s also about continuous data being captured by users and devices. To successfully innovate and compete today, IT leaders must take advantage of all of the real-time, continuous data inputs that are rolling in from their users’ mobile devices and, increasingly, IoT-connected enterprise devices. This data is critical when it comes to understanding customer trends, supply chain health, regional differences in demand, emergencies as they arise, and many other factors regarding business and IT health.
This means IT leaders must look for ways to capture, store and analyze these continuous mobile data inputs—and they better start now while the task is still manageable. According to IDC, there are already 200 billion computerized things connected to the Internet, and in four years there will be more than 50 billion networked sensors. The amount of data—and the importance of this data—is astounding.
Leverage citizen developers to meet mobile app demand
Enterprise mobile app backlogs continue to be the bane of enterprise mobile efforts. As covered in Clearing through the app backlog clutter, 85 percent of enterprises have an app backlog, and about half of those that do lag behind 10 to 20 apps in their pipelines. These app backlogs are costing enterprises in lost productivity and revenue.
Where should CIOs and IT leaders turn to clear these backlogs? To their citizen developers, of course. Citizen developers are not without their own risks, such as with cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. But through proper awareness training and monitoring, these risks can be mitigated.
And the benefits of working with citizen developers are too great to ignore.
For one, citizen developers can help free the mobile app backlog as well as free the core development team for more mission-critical apps. If the business needs apps that won’t be connected to sensitive systems, or managing sensitive or regulated data, let these business developers build apps on their own, if they are so inclined.
And the data indicates that more and more are, in fact, so inclined: According to an Intuit QuickBase study, “State of Citizen Development Report,” of the 148 professionals surveyed who identified either as citizen developers or as IT pros who support a citizen developer, 62 percent reported being able to develop apps in less than two weeks.
Citizen developers can also be encouraged through training to program with code-free development platforms or some of the high programming and scripting languages. This way, when business users find themselves not as effective as they want because of the lack of an app, they can build the app on their own and not have to worry about IT bottlenecks.
Deep dive into mobile micromoments
Another way to drive innovation through mobile is to ensure development teams are developing an optimized mobile experience. That means taking advantage of micromoments. Today, workers don’t sit and focus on work as much as they used to. Nope. These days, they are updating data on their phones while scurrying between meetings, standing in line or doing whatever it is that they happen to be doing in-between primary tasks.
According to an article on The VAR Guy titled, “Survey: Poor User Experience Leading Cause of Enterprise App Failure,” a survey of more than 340 respondents reported that 50 percent said their projects didn’t move forward in the enterprise because of user interface problems. Such UI problems were also cited as one of the greatest reasons for app delays.
Mobile applications have to be designed with this use in mind. Not only do apps have to be designed with the smaller form factor in mind, but they also must be designed with contexts of the moments in mind. That means taking into account features of the phone such as location, voice and ability to insert photos or video. Developers need to develop specifically for both the form factor and the context in which users engage these devices. Only then will more benefits of mobile be reaped.
Embrace an IoT platform
Most of the data generated by IoT will be managed by IoT platforms, or IoT brokers. In 2015, the industry witnessed a lot of action in both the independent IoT players as well as large cloud providers.
According to ReportLinker, IoT platforms, hardware, services and software will become a multitrillion market. “Revenue generated in 2015 [by IoT] was approximately $330 billion and is projected to reach $453 billion by 2020 with a CAGR of 6.2%,” the firm stated in this release.
The large enterprise software players didn’t stand still when it came to IoT, either. Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and Salesforce all jumped into the IoT fray with their platform offerings. And while 2015 was the year for technology platforms to come to market, 2016 will be the year IT leaders prepare their organizations to take advantage of the data, insights and control that IoT will provide their organizations in the years ahead.
Provide continuous mobile insights to users wherever
When it comes to mobile data and big data analytics, it’s easy to forget that mobile devices are more than mobile data inputs—workers need them to provide valuable, contextual insight as well. To make the most of all of the data being captured from mobile apps and IoT platforms, it’s crucial that data be accessible anywhere and be displayed in ways that make sense to your employees and users.
To succeed here, it’s important that big data insights don’t languish in big, isolated databases. Enterprise data needs to be accessible on every type of device, including mobile.