The launch of Blackberry 10 and BlackBerry Z10 has brought the spotlight on enterprise mobility. Whether this crucial step re-thrones the ex-king of mobile enterprise devices or not, remains to be seen, but speculations on some impact in the enterprise mobile app development cannot be ignored. According to the analysts, the battle could be for third place in the OS ecosystem. In spite of iOS not being very enterprise friendly, it still reigns supreme in the users’ choice of mobile devices, both in enterprise and consumer space. Android devices fall in second place, even though they offer more flexibility to tweak to enterprise requirements.
Mobile enterprise app development is very different compared to consumer app development. Consumer app development is an outlet for a coders’ fantasy, without great expectations of ROI. It can be considered as a free form work of art utilizing all features the device OS has to offer through native APIs, without rigid standards or framework. The most popular method of consumer app development is developing them as native mobile apps for each mobile operating system. To gain the advantage of the multi-platform capability, without having to port the source code from one mobile OS to other, developers resort to multi-platform development tools like PhoneGap, Titanium, Sencha.
For enterprise apps in BYOD organizations, besides the necessary condition of the ability to run on multiple mobile OS, enterprise app development aims to minimize employee downtime, improve real time processing and deliver a rapid return on investment. Enterprise apps are required to run on optimized enterprise wide middleware, a variety of security mechanisms, with integrated management and analytics capabilities. They are designed to run on cross platform devices and plug in seamlessly into the enterprise wide system architecture, specifically connecting to the enterprise data sources.
Prominent mobile enterprise app platforms which I have evaluated and worked with include IBM Worklight, Antenna, Kony, Pyxis-Verivo and SAP Sybase SUP.
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MEAPs will always be a step or more behind the rapidly evolving mobile devices and their operating systems. It will be faster for a hobbyist solo programmer to utilize the latest mobile operating system feature in the newest app than for an enterprise to propagate the upgrade through the entire line of mobile apps. But the priorities are different; the enterprise need is not a race to be the first in line to utilize the newest feature, but to ramp up the development efforts to produce a solid mobile solution that fits seamlessly in the enterprise architecture and works flawlessly on multi-platform mobile devices.
So if you have not considered MEAP’s yet I would say its time to REFINE your Enterprise Mobile Strategy