The Mobile App Evolution: Practice Makes Perfect


MDM_Security_AppThe least controversial stand you can take these days is to predict that mobile application development will have a significant impact in shaping the future direction of the modern enterprise. So, if you’re looking to be labeled an enterprise mobility contrarian, declaring that further mobilization of business workflow will bring advances in profitability and productivity is no way to go about it.

But as much of a sure thing as the beneficial impact of mobile app development might be, it’s also highly likely that your first wave of mobile app projects will not be all that transformative.

Moving Media

The reality is that the transition from desktop to mobile is essentially a medium shift for app developers. And it doesn’t take Marshall McLuhan to recognize that the first products introduced into a major new medium are almost always repurposed imitations from the previous one. Most of the first television series were visual reproductions of popular radio shows. The same was true of early motion picture offerings, which tended to be new expressions of popular stage productions.

There are, of course, exceptions, but it’s reasonable to expect a similar lag cycle to occur in the enterprise mobile app space. While the consumer app space is now a well-established source of innovation and profundity, enterprise app development is still in a novice stage. Accordingly, many enterprise-focused developers may be so consumed with navigating the intricacies and vagaries of the new medium that a logical starting point will be to bring forward existing apps or processes from the desktop environment.

Check out this recent state of enterprise app development slide show.

Hi-Ho Mobile Apps

A deliberate transition also makes sense from an audience standpoint. Early television production crews, after all, recognized that the best way to increase the odds of commercial success for their new enterprises was to stick to content – The Lone Ranger or Flash Gordon, for example – with proven appeal among a sizeable user base.

Another point of consensus in the enterprise app movement is that organizations will be missing an opportunity if they simply replicate existing business processes, which may have originally run on a mainframe, in a mobile medium. Not until developers are able to exploit the unique attributes of mobility, the conventional wisdom goes, will enterprises reap real and meaningful benefits from the mobilization of their businesses.

A similar sentiment was shared in this March 2014 blog from TECHLI: “People won’t use a mobile app if it merely duplicates the desktop experience. They want an app that offers something new.”

Sooner than later

Given that history dictates that it’s likely to take most organizations a pass or two of practical design and implementation before they begin to master this new medium, the more aggressive your business’s mobile app development initiative, the quicker it will work its way through this inevitable transitional process.

More Information

The Transformative Power of Multi-Platform Mobile App Development takes a comprehensive look at the state of mobile enterprise apps. Designed as a guideline to assist CIOs and other business leaders through the planning of a mobile app development strategy, the white paper provides useful advice on overcoming the unique challenges of mobile development to unlock the business-transforming benefits of the next stage of enterprise mobility.


About Joe McGarvey

An Enterprise Mobility Strategist at BlackBerry, McGarvey has covered the enterprise and telecommunications industries for more than 20 years as both a journalist and analyst. He is best-known as a long-time principal analyst at leading market research firm Current Analysis. McGarvey has also been an analyst for Heavy Reading and an editor at several leading technology magazines.

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