Enterprise Investments in 2015: The New Frontier in Mobile App Development

Monday, January 5, 2015.

We asked Tony Rizzo, Entrepreneur in Residence, Mobile, IoT & Wearable Enterprise Research for Blue Hill Research to assess his views on how mobile investment priorities have changed for enterprises over the past 12 - 18 months, what drives these investments, what can hinder them, and how they should be adapted moving forward into 2015.

In this exclusive interview, Tony identifies Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) as the new frontier in mobile app development. Aligned with advanced content management platforms for mobile deployments, investments in MBaaS will help enterprises meet their crucial mobile requirements.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange: What Enterprise Mobility solutions have you seen the practitioner market investing in over the last 12 ã?? 18 months?

Tony Rizzo: 2014 proved to be the mobile tipping point for businesses. No business can afford any longer to operate without a mobile presence. Truly living in the mobile moment is the hallmark of the 'new mobile enterprise.' Most enterprises certainly now understand this, and their natural response is to move ahead and invest in creating mobile applications - whether for internal workforce use, for customer and partner interactions or to reach out to potentially millions of consumers.

The real issue for all organisations, however, isn't whether to build mobile apps - this has been the case since at least 2010. The real question enterprises, especially those that have lagged or may be unprepared for a mobile world must ask themselves today, is not whether to invest in building mobile apps but rather what technologies a business needs to invest in, to most effectively get mobile apps out the door.

In addition, as part of the mobile tipping point, most enterprises now find themselves in need of providing greatly increased access to internal and often highly sensitive corporate documents, which end users typically need to share and collaborate on from the 'living in the moment' mobile perspective.

Heading into 2015 Blue Hill Research's mobile analyst team has identified the emergence of MBaaS capabilities as the new frontier in mobile app development. Mobile content management has also become a key technology investment requirement, as part of already existing mobile device and application management services most enterprises already have in place.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange: In your experience, what are the main reasons behind these investments?

Tony Rizzo: Improving workforce productivity has been a mobile investment staple for a decade. Mobile pioneers have already moved well beyond workforce productivity as the overarching reason for deploying mobile applications, and the mobile tools necessary to effectively operate in a 'live in the moment' mobile world. Enterprises that are today looking to deploy Enterprise Mobility solutions to improve productivity have likely been mobile enterprise laggards.

My advice is to look beyond productivity to utilising mobility in strategic ways that will drive top line revenue and create true competitive differentiators. Today's mobile investments need to be made from this perspective.

MBaaS investments by forward-thinking enterprises are proving critical to the ability of organisations to quickly develop mobile apps that are driven primarily from line of business stakeholder requirements. IT must be able to function in highly agile ways to ensure today's mobile apps can be quickly built, can be easily connected to all back end app and data services, and that ensure that developers are able to use their own choice of development tools to build the applications. MBaaS creates the necessary infrastructure to meet these crucial mobile goals.

Investments in mobile content management will be critical to ensuring that internal enterprise content remains highly secure. Many enterprises - especially those that have been behind, rather than ahead of the mobile curve - fail to fully understand the potential security implications, and possible fallouts, of allowing content to flow out to their mobile ecosystems without taking the full precautions that only mobile content management can deliver on.

Together these form the core of advanced 2015 Enterprise Mobility; living in the mobile moment requires both, and enterprises need to make such investments today, not tomorrow.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange: And what are the biggest challenges companies generally face when implementing these solutions?

Tony Rizzo: The greatest challenges most enterprises face is a lack of fully understanding what mobility can provide for them, especially in terms of competitive differentiators and strategic revenue growth. This leads to a failure to invest in the right mobile approaches.

Pioneers already understand that such things as legacy system integration are non-issues. MBaaS-based solutions, and in truth most older mobile application development platforms already do an outstanding job of connecting to any back end enterprise system, including truly old and possibly now unique legacy back ends.

Those companies that have lagged in mobile investments to date need to expand their perspectives to focus on delivering 2015 solutions. One perspective here is that for laggards, there are actually few mobile legacy issues to deal with.

Going forward mobile enterprise investments and deployments need to be, first and foremost, driven from the line of business perspective and to building strategic rationales. This is the single greatest challenge companies that have not previously fully embraced Enterprise Mobility will face heading into 2015.

- Read more from Tony regarding his analyst perspectives on Enterprise Mobility.