Your mobile app strategy should play a part in selecting the right integration platform to support your digital transformation. It’s about aligning your platform requirements — and in turn digital transformation — with your current and future mobile workforce. Here’s how to evaluate your current and forthcoming needs and the steps to take for a more seamless platform integration.
Evaluating a platform
According to TechTarget, you should keep elasticity at the top of your integration requirements. This allows you to shrink or expand your development platform to fit your organization’s requirements. Whether it’s starting small and building out as part of a digital transformation or accommodating seasonal surges, elasticity means paying only for the capacity you use.
Evaluating an integration platform to support your mobile app strategy needs to be a team activity — you don’t want the IT department to handle it alone. Here are some examples of how to bring in teams to support an evaluation:
- Business users such as analysts and other knowledge workers can evaluate no-code or low-code solutions in the platform. Better yet, get them live on an evaluation to put together some mobile apps that link back to their team’s data.
- Developers can evaluate the API and other development tools available as part of the platform.
- Cybersecurity experts from your security team can evaluate the security features of the platform.
- System administrators can evaluate the monitoring and management tools of the platform.
Mobility at its core is fluid, so supporting a mobile app strategy means having an agile platform. If your organization is moving from more traditional platforms, having elasticity and a holistic evaluation from a cross-functional team is necessary to give you the best feedback.
Introducing integration platforms into back-end processes
Going mobile-first or introducing bring your own device (BYOD) into your enterprise represents a fundamental shift in how your business users and knowledge workers perform their daily jobs. Part of that shift is migrating some or all of your legacy applications to the cloud in a secure manner so that your back-end processes won’t skip a beat.
Some of these back-end processes might be well-documented with employee training backing them up. However, you might also find back-end processes that are part of a department’s oral history where the steps are passed down from employee to employee. Then again, you might uncover back-end processes that employees keep to themselves for reasons of job security or because their managers and coworkers never bothered asking about them.
Once you get a grasp as to what back-end processes you are enabling for mobile, choose a small departmental-level process — especially one that gets you an enthused participant in your integration. The last part is important because you want to foster a champion for your integration as part of a next-generation business process.
Work with the department stakeholders to redesign their back-end process for mobile. For example, if you select a form-driven process, your redesign will need to capture the steps of the process and how to redesign it for cloud and mobile.
While you redesign your first legacy app, you should also examine the back-end technologies that power it. The integration platform will offer new front-end development tools and user experience (UX) that will enable your developers to build next-generation mobile apps that tie into your back-end data.
Fitting an integration platform into your mobile strategy
The best way to fit in a new platform is when you are first authoring your organization’s mobile strategy. However, because you often don’t or won’t have that luxury, you’ll instead be updating your strategy.
Integration can be key to your time to market and ability to innovate, according to SIIA. Time to market isn’t just for external mobile apps anymore. Those same principles still apply to releasing internal apps to your own business users. When you are introducing an integration platform to mobilize one of your back-end processes, you have a powerful tool to wrangle business users’ attention — if you can rapidly iterate on mobile apps to meet their requirements, integrate feedback from internal pilot projects and bring along your internal users.
Mobile app strategy and platform synergy
Your mobile strategy isn’t meant to be an extension of your new or existing online strategy. That translates into building mobile apps with your platform of choice to provide a more intimate experience for users than just another website, according to Business 2 Community.
Today’s integration solutions — in particular, rapid mobile app development (RMAD) and low- or no-code solutions — enable developers and sometimes even empower users to create mobile apps with low-code tools. This means it’s even more important for your strategy to map out guidelines for mobile app development so these new citizen developers make full use of the platform.
Selecting the integration platform that fits best with your mobile strategy means a selection process and perhaps pilots and proofs of concepts. It ends with updating your mobile strategy to ensure your new platform is best positioned to serve your enterprise.
This post originally appeared on Mobile Business Insights on June 5, 2018. The site is no longer in publication.
My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content strategist based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve written for corporations and technology publications about such topics as cloud computing, DevOps, and enterprise mobility. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly