As mobile app projects evolve in the enterprise, many organisations are developing employee apps that integrate with back-end systems, enabling access to corporate information.
In developing mobile apps for the enterprise, one of the big challenges facing CIOs is how best to achieve secure integration with existing back-end systems that were never designed to interface with mobile devices.
At the same time, enterprises are under competitive pressure to innovate and develop an increasing number of apps for employees, partners, and customers.
The need to accelerate mobile app production has led to a focus on agile development approaches. However, maintaining existing legacy systems and managing IT activities around security, infrastructure and policy remains critical.
Industry analysts recommend that to manage the demand for mobile apps while maintaining existing applications and systems, enterprise IT needs to adopt a two track or “bimodal” approach that not only sustains stability in core IT, but also supports agile IT.
According to Gartner, businesses should adopt a bimodal approach to unite IT teams and combine agility with stability to address digital opportunities.
Mobile application platforms act as a conduit that can connect massive enterprise datasets directly to users, improving employee productivity and enriching the customer experience. However, most enterprise back-end systems were never designed to connect to mobile devices in this way.
To address this, some enterprises have looked to mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) platforms. MBaaS enables organisations to mobilise in a more lightweight, component-based and agile way. It drives a development approach that encourages the creation of microservices: loosely coupled components and systems defined by the APIs between those services. All of this enables rapid development with major re-use of code and extensibility across projects, applications and teams.
As more organisations look for a secure connection between mobile users and enterprise back-end systems, MarketsandMarkets has predicted that the global BaaS market will increase from $216.5 million in 2012 to $7.7 billion in 2017.
Gigaom predicts that five key factors will affect the enterprise MBaaS market over the next 24 months: mobile-first development; devops and agile development methodologies; the enterprise requirement to unlock back-end data repositories; the pressure on IT teams to control access to sensitive enterprise data assets; and convergence of features offered by platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers and MBaaS vendors.
The company advises that MBaaS providers will need to support enterprise mobile-first strategies by offering add-ons and plug-ins to connect mobile apps with legacy corporate applications. It also advises that back-end services must be delivered through a range of hybrid, private, and public cloud options to support the requirements of individual enterprises.
Collaborating to speed app delivery
As they adopt a mobile-first approach, many enterprises are being forced to evolve from the old siloed approach of creating a specific app for a specific project and are instead engaging in a continuous cycle of app development and app management.
As a result, multiple apps, at various stages of the development lifecycle, are being managed by different teams that are distributed across the organisation. I see CIOs looking to improve their agility and responsiveness on mobility projects while at the same time retaining centralised policy management over distributed teams collaborating on mobile apps.
Commenting on this new way of developing enterprise apps, Chris Marsh, principal analyst at 451 Research, observed: “With 40% of large enterprises planning to increase their development outsourcing, collaboration across enterprise IT, lines of business and any external partners that may be involved is crucial.”
Mobility and cloud are transforming business processes. We are now in a period of significant innovation underpinned by agile development that is enabled by collaboration.
CIOs need to be able to identify where cloud, mobile, and collaborative technologies can be applied to make individual business processes more efficient and competitive.
The challenge of integrating mobile apps with traditional core IT provides an opportunity for forward-looking IT leaders to secure the interface between apps and their back-end enterprise data repositories.
To be successful here will allow them to maximise the advantage of speed and agility brought about by embracing mobile development in their organisations, delivering on the business performance of the future.
Sourced from Cathal McGloin, Red Hat