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The great advances in mobile technology, the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have made mobile apps a central element and powerful tool in how enterprises operate. A new report from Info-Tech Research Group offers advice for developing mobile enterprise apps.

App development can be a challenge to organizations that grew up in a very different world. Application features such as offline access, desktop-like interfaces and automation capabilities must be built in from the ground up, not bolted on later. This is especially important when considering security.

“To be successful, you need to instill a collaborative business-IT partnership,” Andrew Kum-Seun, a senior analyst for Application Delivery and Application Management for the Info-Tech Research Group wrote in the report about developing enterprise apps. “Only through this partnership will you be able to select the right mobile platform and tools to balance desired outcomes with enterprise security, performance, integration, quality, and other delivery capacity concerns.”

The mobile app world is rife with challenges and obstacles. Challenges include overcoming the reality that organizations “often lack the critical foundational knowledge and skills” to consistently provide quality and value in the mobile apps they develop. Indeed, the quick evolution of the technology and the difficulty in predicting what trends will develop make it difficult to harness current mobile investments most efficiently.

These challenges must be met despite significant obstacles. Done incorrectly, mobile apps can stress the stability and reliability of an organization’s systems and services. They can increase security risks by exposure to unsecured networks and devices.

Another obstacle is cost, which may reduce the native features users can implement – and workarounds may not be sufficient.

A third potential problem is cultural: Operating models, Info-Tech says, may not “enable or encourage” collaboration necessary to understand what is needed in an app or to evaluate mobile opportunities and the underlying operational systems from multiple perspectives.

There are three key elements to effective enterprise app development. First, it is critical to establish reasonable expectations and then to choose the right mobile platform. That should be followed by short listing the  mobile delivery solutions. The third key element is to create a roadmap that relies on minimal valuable products (MVPs).

Info-Tech recommends a two-phase approach to app development.

Phase One is to set the mobile context, which involves:

  • Building applications that users need and desire;
  • Maximizing return on technology investments;
  • Prioritizing mobile security, performance and integration requirements.

Phase Two is to define your mobile approach, which involves:

  • Starting with a mobile web platform;
  • Focusing the mobile solution decision on vendor support and functional complexity;
  • Anticipating changes, defects and failures in the roadmap.

Providers including Verizon have begun to appreciate the importance of mobile apps for enterprises.

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