Are you ready for the Mobile App boom in your Enterprise?

My Enterprise App StoreI just saw this article by Larry Dignan on ZDNet titled Mobile app boom will tax enterprise IT. Larry quotes another paper by John McCarthy of Forrester Research called Mobile App Internet: Making Sense Of The 2011 Mobile Hysteria. This caught my eye and got me thinking of how we here at JackBe look at this area and how we try to address some of the issues pointed out by John McCarthy,  which I quote below. In addition to quoting them, I will try to address how we at JackBe address this need with our Presto Enterprise App Store and Apps offering as part of our Real-Time Intelligence solution:

  • Issue #1: The innovation cycle. Mobile apps typically require three to four releases a year. Multiply those releases by platform and you see a serious problem for enterprises, which are used to upgrades every two or three years. IT departments just aren’t ready to move that quick.
    How Presto addresses this: Nice one…but, we think differently. You see, when you build Apps using Presto, you are getting a platform on which you build, deploy and deliver mobile apps. Any apps deployed on Presto in your own private Enterprise App Store is easily managed as two distinct copies. One that is gone production in the App Store and on that remains in the Presto App Hub to enable App developers to continue iterating over it and to test those iterations independent of the App in the App Store. You have to use new ways of delivering features and functionality to your users rapidly. You can’t keep to the old ways of building and delivering applications like you used to in your IT department. Presto enables you to achieve this goal with the right set of tools and controls to manage your App development, deployment and post-deployment process.
  • Issue #2: Security. Security related issues for mobile app development can drive costs up three to four times.
    How Presto addresses this: This is an extremely important issue for Enterprises and a core architectural principle on which Presto is designed and built to leverage. Enterprises have already invested lot of time and resources to achieve the level of security they need. There is no need to start fresh. With Presto, we work with existing security frameworks and infrastructure and also provide a high-level policy engine that allows your IT department to control who gets to use what Apps and what data can be delivered to that user based on their entitlements and permissions.
  • Issue #3: User interfaces are hard. “The diversity of the platforms and the need to develop for the native device coupled with the purpose-built design of the apps will be very different from the browser-based development. This means a much greater focus on the overall user experience, not just the layout on the screen and the interactions but how you actually choose and design the narrow functions of the app,” said Forrester.
    How Presto addresses this: There is no question about this. UI is very subjective and getting an overall consistent user experience across your Apps is important. Presto comes with a tool called App Maker that helps you to generate consistent Apps utilizing many out-of-the-box (OOTB) visualizations that look great. In addition, since all Presto mobile apps are based on HTML, JavaScript and CSS, if you are not happy with the look and feel or the user experience of these ready Apps, you can customize them to your needs with minimal effort. Honestly, we are not totally there yet in Mobile visualizations yet, and this is what our team is working very hard right now. But, give it a try. With a little HTML/CSS/JS skills, you can get far with Presto than without it in your enterprise. Even without those skills, you can get OOTB Apps that provide good value for the minimal time and effort put into getting them out of Presto.
  • Issue #4: Back end systems need to deliver data more quickly. Mobile apps mean server-side issues. Mobile apps need data, say account balances and transactions, in 5 to 10 seconds. Enterprise databases may not be ready for big scale.
    How Presto addresses this: I see two problems in this area. First is about latency and scale; access to data in real-time with least latency for the user/device. It is indeed true that Enterprise databases may not be ready for this. However, not all Mobile apps need real-time transactional access. How real-time is real-time enough for your users? Do you want to know the balance as of this second? Or are you satisfied knowing your balance as of say 30 minutes ago? It depends. Presto has different approaches to solve it including real-time access to data sources and ability to cache data for specified time period to reduce latency and server load for data that doesn’t change every instant. The second issue is about how to obtain and deliver that data to the Apps. Presto makes it real simple and easy for you to plug your data sources securely and make them available for mobile Apps to interact with. Security is always guaranteed as the data access is bound by the prevailing security policies and systems in your Enterprise.
  • Issue #5: Where’s the budget? Support for these mobile applications is likely to be more difficult than generic email.
    How Presto addresses this: Probably true if you are talking about older ways of doing this. But with Presto, you can get real value really quickly. And supporting these mobile applications is of course going to be different than supporting generic email, but it does not have to be difficult. If you don’t believe me, give Presto a try. You can even get a free version of Presto that you can deploy in production for up to 5 users and see what I am talking about.

In conclusion, I would like to note an important point made in the Forrester report that our friends in the IT Services industry am sure will pay attention to:

Helping enterprises ride out the perfect storm of innovation is a $17B services opportunity. Firms will need help building mobile apps for employees and customers. Corporations will also need third-party services firms to manage the devices and apps as well as to set up and to administer their own private label enterprise app stores. And finally, the CIO and business executives will hire consultants to help their reengineer their business processes to take full advantage of the mobile and tablet apps and innovation.

But I also want to tell these CIOs and business executives that there is a new way to get your own private label enterprise app store and that you can get your own tablet/mobile apps to solve your business needs with innovation. Getting started does not have to break your bank. So, give Presto a try, and let me know if there is any way we can help. We are already helping several customers take advantage of our innovative platform to meet their business needs. I am sure we can help you too. We would be happy to do so!

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