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CIO Minute: Two types of mobile apps, two development approaches

Editor's note: In this CIO Minute video segment, O.C. Tanner Co. CTO Niel Nickolaisen divides mobile apps into two categories: apps developed exclusively for mobile devices and enterprise apps that need to be accessed from mobile devices. One of these two types of mobile apps will require some heavy -- highly necessary -- lifting from CIOs. Watch the video or read the transcript below for this CTO's expert advice.

Niel Nickolaisen: From my perspective, there are a couple of types of Mobile apps. There are the ones that are mobile-only, meaning the company developed it just to run on a mobile phone or a smartphone. Then there are the enterprise apps that run on a mobile phone.

Now, the enterprise apps are different because they usually have some heavy transactional volumes, or some transactional processes they are running. It's difficult to replicate all of those transactional processes on a mobile phone because it's just not big enough, it's not beefy enough and it's not fast enough.

Ultimately, we have to connect those enterprise applications to the backend services, the web applications and transactional systems we've already built. [With these types of mobile apps], the smartphone becomes an access device.

The way we architect those solutions is by developing some APIs between our transactional systems and the mobile phones. And, that is why it makes perfect sense for IT to be the ones developing those mobile apps. We know what those enterprise apps are like and we know how to write, create and manage the APIs between the phones and those enterprise apps. It also puts us in the right position as IT leaders to control our destiny.

What I mean by that is we should be re-architecting our enterprise applications anyway -- those transactional systems -- so that they are more microservice-enabled and refactored into common services. We can use enterprise mobile app development as a reason and a wedge for us to go back and start to refactor and break up those large enterprise applications. So, for us, it's a win-win.

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