Building The Most Cost Effective Mobile Application – Internally focused Mobility

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Continuing the discussion from my previous blog on internally focused enterprise mobility: –
While it is easy to measure the return on investment on consumer facing mobile application, it’s much harder to justify the “initial investment” for internally focused mobile apps for the enterprise that focus on streamlining business. The success of mobile application for external consumer or customers forces many executives to invest in mobile projects for internal use. Unless we understand the mechanics of how a mobile app is built, it is extremely likely to spend millions on projects that require continuous maintenance.

There are three main popular types of mobile applications –  Native, Web and Hybrid. The table below provides some color around these main categories.

 

Attribute’s Native Apps Web Apps (Mobile) Hybrid Apps
Defined

Built specifically for a single operating platform like ios, android, windows etc.

Uses the same set of technology as websites and serve up html5 pages from server side application.

Uses the web apps inside a native container

Hardware Access
(Mobile Hardware Access) 

Full access to GPS, camera, compass, gestures and other devices or features specific to the mobile device and operating system

 

Limited to html5 support or any custom code written to access mobile hardware

Ability to access full hardware

App Look and Feel Look and feel specific to  native mobile platform Uniform look and feel across the various mobile platforms Best of both worlds based on how the app is designed
 Compatibility 

Works only in the native browser of the mobile software

Works on popular latest browsers that have HTML5 support

Works on popular latest browsers that have HTML5 support

Maintenance Cost Highest Low Comparable to native apps
Performance Fast Slow Slow 

Hybrid apps may seem to be the best choice in the comparison to the other two but the entire equation changes when you think about internally focused applications because: –

  1. Firms should not  apply the same thought process for developing customer facing apps and internally focused enterprise apps
  2. Firms can choose one single platform for internally focused mobile application rather than be invested on all platforms or in other words a firm can decide whether they want to be an iPad based enterprise or Windows 8 based mobile enterprise.
  3. Choosing a mobile platform is like choosing a PC provider for the enterprise
  4. Choosing HTML5 will provide you independence from proprietary stack and reducing your total cost of development and maintenance
  5. Ask yourself a question – Do you really need access to full mobile hardware features for your internally focused mobility or limited HTML5 access can suffice?
  6. HTML5 will be the future standard for web browsing

What do you think works for your internal enterprise mobility needs?  Please share your experiences

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Internally Focused Enterprise Mobility

Filed in HTML5 | Mobile Leave a comment

The popularity of tablets and smartphones in the consumer space has led to the emergence of mobility channel for businesses. Mobility is an essential sales or service channel in retail industry, but other industries are making concerted effort to implement mobility internally. Recently airlines industry made the news when Delta airlines purchased thousands of tablets and smartphones for use within their business following American Airlines similar purchase of tablets. These corporate purchases are no surprises given the ease of use and quick access of information that tablets provide. But let’s not put all our money on tablets being extremely successful internally in business, they can be a real drag on business return on investments and business operations.

Failure of tablets for business:  Why/Where?

    • The design of current tablets, smartphone and phablets is not well suited for intensive data capture by typing or comparison of information on multiple screens.
    • Creating parts and product design from scratch is also been a time consuming and erroneous activity on tablets.

Business Mobility Platform Choice
Personal experience from consumer market is influencing which platform businesses choose for their enterprise mobility. Major players such as Apple, Windows and Andriod are all trying to capture the business enterprise space. Serving external consumers or a firm’s customers requires that all mobile platforms be supported, but internal mobility platform choice can be entirely different animal. This leaves us with many questions: –

    • Does business have to support all mobile platforms?
    • Is Microsoft the default choice for enterprise mobility for a business using Microsoft products as most businesses already use MS Office products?
    • Does a business have to support all mobile platforms for internal as well external customer uses?
    • Is HTML 5 the answer for all platforms?
    • Are hybrid mobile applications just hype?
      • What’s the best platform for CAD/PLM apps?

I will try to answer all these and more questions in my upcoming blogs. Your suggestions/questions are welcome.

 

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