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Conducting business over the mobile channel to meet internal and external user needs, not to mention evolving business demands, is a top priority for IT, but it is not without its perils. In this podcast, J Schwan, founder and president of Chicago-based mobility strategy and application development firm Solstice Mobile, talks about chief mobile app dev challenges and how to overcome them.
Are companies dedicating more resources to developing applications for mobile devices?
J Schwan: The demand has never been higher. There's a concept floating around out there called "mobile first." The idea being that people are going to their smartphones and tablets first to get answers to their questions, and if they can't get the answers, then they're retreating to legacy laptop, PC, Internet-based systems. The idea of mobile first is, as we start coming across different business problems, we should start thinking about solving them with the mobile channel first to gain efficiencies and fluidity within the business and various business processes. So, we've seen investment increase significantly in the [mobile] channel.
What challenges are businesses running into in terms of mobile application development?
Schwan: The one that is the most paramount and usually at the forefront of folks' minds is security. How can we ensure that the data that we're presenting on these devices is secure? That's a big part of a mobile strategy that needs to get answered before businesses go too far down the roadmap. The good news is most of the security concerns surrounding mobile in terms of how data and the data center can be securely accessed by mobile devices; how data can be secured while it's in transit to the mobile devices; and how data can be secured while it's at rest on the mobile devices; most of those problems have been solved. There's comprehensive and point solutions out there that address all the major hurdles as it relates to security.
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What are some of the wrong turns companies are making with their mobile application development strategy? Are they not accounting for network capacity need or are they not involving users in the process enough?
Schwan: The biggest wrong turn is what we call random acts of mobility. In the cases where IT doesn't really get control of, or isn't at least looped into the different mobile initiatives, what often happens is the various lines of business interact with their own agencies or consulting firms to build different point mobility solutions. That often is difficult to unwind [for IT] and becomes confusing to the end user or the employee.
Even if IT isn't ready to take ownership of all the development happening in the mobile channel, they want to have a seat at the table so they at least are aware of what initiatives are going on so they can at least set some level of standards for the different business drivers behind different mobile application projects. Ideally [IT] wants to have a hand in setting standards around how those applications are developed, or, at a minimum, how they are secured.
Listen to the full podcast to learn more about mobile app dev mistakes, why Schwan "preaches" user involvement in mobile application development strategies, and when it's time to consider outsourcing mobile application development.