How to succeed in enterprise mobility without really trying

OK - the title might be a little misleading. You do have to put in an honest effort to take your enterprise mobility app development process to the next level. But you don't have to try as hard as you think. Mobile is all the rage in enterprise software, with ad hoc reporting tools, document editing and data visualization for smartphones and tablets redefining the way that companies approach data analysis. It creates challenges for software development and deployment that demand effective and swift response if the company wants to ensure that it can operate at a high level of data discovery.

The average person carries 2.9 devices around with them, according to a recent survey by Sophos. Smartphones are the most popular portable electronic device, of course, with 85 percent usage rate. Sixty-five percent of people tote laptops, while 48 percent use tablets. Android and iPhone are running neck and neck in smartphone usage, with 40.9 percent and 40.5 percent usage rates, respectively. Workers are bringing their devices to work and continuing to use them at home. Companies are risking their productivity and profitability by not catering to these multi-device users, especially in organizations that plan to employ a significant number of "digital native" millennials in the coming years.

Business intelligence, custom app development on the rise
The rise in mobile devices means that enterprises will increasingly see a correlation between their ability to adapt and their long-term potential. Enterprise apps are on the rise in a big way, matched only in growth rate by the pace at which apps that serve new functions arrive on the scene. Total enterprise app activations rose 54 percent from the third to the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Good Technology's Mobility Index report. It's a marked increase from an already speedy growth rate of 43 percent from Q2 to Q3 2013.

Business intelligence apps are appearing with more frequency, displacing cloud storage software in Good Technology's top five mobility apps. Custom app development is also seeing a sharp spike in popularity, experiencing a quarter-over-quarter growth rate of 55 percent. As more organizations get comfortable with using enterprise apps, they're increasingly interested in developing tools tailored to their individual needs. Custom apps may also provide better support for an organization's mobility plan, ensuring interoperability and document editing potential that an off-the-shelf option might lack.

Combining business intelligence and custom demand into thriving enterprise apps
In light of the need to develop highly intuitive, customized apps that provide immediate business intelligence reporting capabilities, it's understandable that many developers would be concerned about the level of difficulty involved. However, embracing these challenges in the context of the state-of-the-art development tools available today can help quell those fears.

Today's .NET enterprise tools offer an incredible breadth of features, reporting tools and data visualization capabilities. This allows developers to start from a better vantage point and focus on the objective the app will serve rather than the painstaking details involved in its back-end programming.

Another way to simplify the enterprise app development process is to spread the work around. Enterprise apps aren't created in a vacuum - they have to respond to an organization's data analytics and reporting needs, with a user experience that reflects the skill sets and challenges of regular end users. Developers can use these employees as resources to help fashion a successful enterprise app experience. They can also work with leaders in other departments - particularly those reporting to chief security and information officers - to assess the company's IT, mobility and security challenges. By pooling all of these resources together, a developer can create a relatively future-proof, customized enterprise app.


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