Each year the world becomes more mobile. According to the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), there are more active mobile phone subscriptions than people on the planet. In the consumer world, the mobile customer is the new norm, but the picture is notably different in the enterprise.
The typical large business uses thousands of applications, including complex legacy systems that run their core business processes. With estimates measured in months to years to mobilize each application, it’s no surprise that the standard enterprise is still desktop-centric. Nonetheless, demand for enterprise mobile apps is on the rise. According to the 2017 Gartner CIO Agenda Report, spending on mobility and mobile apps is among the top five priorities for most CIOs.
Unfortunately, enterprises in which mobilization is either a consideration or a core objective are often deterred, sometimes even dissuaded, from pursuing mobile app development because of falsehoods and embellishments that have proliferated for nearly a decade.
There are five common myths associated with creating and deploying enterprise mobile apps. As a result, enterprise’s frequently encounter obstacles to achieving their mobility priorities. The five most common myths include:
Myth #1: It’s ok to force fit existing desktop applications on mobile devices
Many enterprises believe that “going mobile” is as simple as replacing their current desktop screens with a smaller device screen. Companies that follow this approach tend to use simple solutions like rendering desktop web apps in the mobile browser or using desktop virtualization to push these apps to mobile devices.
Reality #1: Many organizations that have tried either or both approaches have found that their users spend more time “pinching and zooming” to choose the right menu or button, or simply scroll around the application. Mobile users expect an intuitive user experience that leverages the capabilities and functionality of the native device. Force fitting a customized business application with upwards of 50+ tabs and fields onto a smaller device will not aid in productivity. Ultimately, users want to complete workflows and tasks quickly through workflows that drive productivity, not hinder it.
Myth #2: We can get by with mobilizing just a few simple processes
Many organizations think that just mobilizing simple workflows such as expense reports, approval processes and timesheets will drive enterprise-wide productivity and transformation.
Reality #2: One-to-two function micro-apps are critical to a business’ success and are a great place to start on your organizaton’s mobile journey, however, there are several other business processes that your users need mobilized to improve overall efficiency. Consider a sales representative who is constantly meeting with prospects and clients away from the office. They can update their calendar and contact information from their smartphone or tablet, but then have to go back to their office desktop to close deals, craft proposals, and send invoices. When users are held back by limited technology, efficiency decreases, important information is forgotten and productivity fails.
Myth #3: Software vendors will provide mobilized versions of our apps
Some enterprises believe that the software vendors will offer packaged mobile apps to support their existing applications.
Reality #3: This belief raises more questions than answers, in particularly, whether or not the vendor can support customized applications without the need for costly upgrades or re-platforming. Not to mention, can they support various mobile form factors and operating systems? What many enterprises don’t know is that their software vendors struggle with the same problems they do: which devices to support and how much original coding to do. Utilizing mobile solutions from software providers are not only expensive, but are often unable to meet the businesses needs due to the complex customizations of their applications.
Myth #4: We can build our own mobile apps more efficiently internally
Currently, enterprise IT departments build anywhere from 2-3 apps per year on average, while there are potentially hundreds more in the queue awaiting mobilization.
Reality #4: On a percentage basis, mobile apps are the most time consuming, complex and expensive to create, maintain and support in all of IT. Compared to other technologies in which ongoing support and maintenance equates to roughly 20 percent annually of the original invested amount, mobile apps require more than 50 percent, largely due to the accelerated technology churn and diversity of mobile device platforms. Build solutions like Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADPs), Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) or building native have their benefits, but each have inherent complexities and exotic requirements, the need for exotic and highly specialized resources that only complicate and elongate development.
Myth #5: Mobility isn’t really critical to our business
Nearly every business can present reasons as to why going mobile simply isn’t practical or important for its success.
Reality # 5: What these enterprises fail to remember is that the mobile revolution is not going away. The BYOD, CORP and now, the BYOW (Bring Your Own Wearable) movement is growing each day, and enterprises realize that this is not a matter of user preference, but of bottom-line productivity. New business processes rely on mobile devices that are portable, allowing users to engage with their customers away from the office. The lack of a mobile option puts not only the existing application investment in peril but, also limits competitive advantage and employee growth and retention.
Break through the mobilization myths to pursue digital transformation with RMADs
Many enterprises have set digital transformation goals that they hope to achieve by the early 2020s. But the mobilization of important legacy business apps is a key catalyst to any digital transformation initiative.
Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) solutions, which are designed to address the time, complexity and cost challenges of mobile app development, can help enterprise mobility evangelists debunk the lingering misconceptions. As no-code and low-code platforms allow business analysts to construct mobile apps without an army of developers. At the same time, IT leaders can use these rapid development tools to address the global shortage of skilled mobile software engineers by increasing the pool of people who can deliver enterprise mobile apps with basic web skills.
As organizations begin to work towards their digital transformation goals, they must begin to accept that much of what has dissuaded enterprise app development to date is no longer relevant; and RMAD solutions are to thank for it.