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November 25, 2013
5 Min Read
Mobile technology is revolutionizing the way businesses interact with end-users, whether the end-user is a customer, employee, business partner, or even a service or smart device like an IP-enabled refrigerator, thermostat, or car.
In order to rapidly innovate and remain competitive in a mobile society, an organization must have a comprehensive mobile app development platform. Here are four reasons:
1. The Internet of Things and big data can present new business opportunities. Fueled by a flood of data traffic from mobile communications and other Internet-enabled devices, the scale of the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing exponentially and organizations face a proliferation of data to store and analyze.
The collection and use of these large data flows has the potential to completely transform business models and services. To tap into this opportunity, many organizations are leveraging data analytics in operations that range from optimizing the value chain and manufacturing production to improving customer relationships.
Additionally, the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol, an open messaging protocol designed for small sensors and mobile devices, is enabling organizations to quickly and affordably gather, integrate, and make use of sensor data.
With MQTT and a mobile app platform, developers have the tools they need to quickly develop and test apps that bring in more data, ranging from users' locations and energy readings to their blood pressure.
2. Engaging directly with customers can revolutionize your business. With the growth of mobile technology comes a large increase in transaction volume -- from status updates to content downloads and collaboration. As a result, an app that starts small can wind up swamping an organization's network, database, and budget. However, organizations that manage this increase in activity and data with a mobile-first approach can use the information to better serve their customers.
For instance, a bank that uses a good mobile enterprise app platform with extended design patterns and support features like push notifications will have more control over how customers engage with their system. Simultaneously, customers will benefit from a much more convenient and efficient mobile banking experience.
[Always-on mobile customers present a whole new challenge for forward-thinking companies. Here's how to win the race: 6 Ways CIOs Can Stay Ahead Of Customers.]
For example, mobile banking apps let customers check their balance, and customers use this feature liberally and frequently -- especially on payday. A proper mobile-first design would remove the "check balance" button from the mobile app and replace it with an always-up-to-date bank balance that is refreshed from the bank via push notification anytime the customer's balance changes. No need to check; it's already there. This design is not only more efficient for the bank, but it also provides the customer with live up-to-the-minute data.
Truly good mobile-centric design can enable organizations to collect more data from end-users, draw more insights, and ultimately interact with end-users in a way that allows better, more personalized services.
3. Enabling collaborative app development opens your business to new opportunities. Organizations are increasingly seeking agile platforms that will allow them to interact with a wide range of end-users and provide tools for collaborative application development. Whatever platform is used, it should enable developers to build powerful, differentiated mobile apps that will be compatible with a variety of different devices and operating systems -- from iOS to BlackBerry and Android.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) complement mobile app development platforms by enabling organizations to consume third-party services efficiently and to become more agile as they free up time and resources that would otherwise be spent writing code.
Businesses from car manufacturers to insurance, telecom, banking, and energy companies are utilizing APIs to create new economy around services. Yet there are still challenges that must be faced.
For one, if an organization's app is utilizing 12 APIs, the app is only as strong as the weakest API in that chain. This challenge is what's expanding interest in API management and marketplaces, which will give enterprises a way to determine the credibility of certain APIs.
API marketplaces enable developers and their supporting IT departments to better manage and govern the use of third-party APIs. They do this by creating a consistent view for all APIs in the marketplace around legal agreements, cost and usage models, and overall dependability -- derived by metering and monitoring the API over time. By analyzing activities from many API consumers, such cloud brokers can also suggest good "pairings" of APIs that are often used in conjunction.
4. Designing for flexibility is critical to embrace the rapidly evolving mobile landscape. As customers continue to demand new mobile services and apps, and as pressure grows for frequent releases and updates to keep up with market demands, enterprises must have a mobile development platform that is flexible enough to change with the business as needed. With a highly fragmented set of mobile devices and platforms, a flexible development platform that includes full support for web, native, and hybrid development is critical. It is important to have coverage of the entire hybrid spectrum, which enables use of HTML5 and native ecosystems while not requiring the full skill set to develop strictly native apps.
In order to be competitive in today's market, organizations must embrace these opportunities and challenges by taking a mobile-first approach to business. Having a comprehensive app development platform will help companies do this is in a way that is flexible, manageable, and secure, thus creating a better mobile experience.
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About the Author(s)
IBM Fellow; VP WebSphere Strategy; CTO, Websphere
Jerry Cuomo is an IBM Fellow, VP WebSphere Strategy, and Chief Technology Officer for WebSphere. He provides technical direction and strategy for the WebSphere portfolio and leads the technical executive leaders and development teams to cultivate the future of WebSphere. He is engaged in a number of advanced technology studies for the next generation of innovation and value and is focused on several areas including cloud, mobile, virtualization, and workload optimization and advanced analytics.
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