DellWorld 2011 kicks off today – and one thing on every IT professional’s mind today is mobility. With 50% of Americans owning a smartphone today, the shift toward always-connected, mobile employees has already arrived. Smartphones and tablets have invaded the enterprise and IT departments are besieged with new questions.
- Which applications and platforms do we “mobilize” first?
- How do I build a mobile-ready interface to legacy systems?
- Do I build mobile apps in house or work with a development partner?
- How do I deal with potential security threats?
Forward-thinking companies are facing these challenges head-on, because they know they can’t wait to adopt mobile. One leading medical device company noticed a trend of tablet ownership among doctors, and wanting to take full advantage of the mobility of that platform, contacted my team at RED Method to find a way to use the tablet to transform the doctor-patient experience. Now, doctors have ample live information about their patients, rounds, and workflow right at their fingertips. With the system RED designed, doctors are always connected to their hospital systems, without being tethered to a desk.
For those companies that have only taken baby steps into the mobile enterprise, there is hope – because implementing robust mobile apps across the enterprise can be done quickly and painlessly, if you have the right partners.
At RED Method, we help large companies like Dell, CNN, Hasbro, GE, and Petco address these issues every day. From building scalable, intuitive mobile apps that link seamlessly to back-end systems, to delivering real-time analytics that show how many people are using an app, how they are using it, and which features are most popular, RED Method has become the industry’s go-to partner for enterprise mobile innovation. We’ve learned some things along the way – often we’ve learned the hard way! – and have come to understand a fewkey truths about mobilizing the enterprise.
Smartphones aren’t laptops. If you set out to build mobile apps that mimic the laptop experience – heavy lifting for collaboration, document sharing, email, and other daily work functions – the apps will fall flat. Smartphones have a unique (read: tiny and limited) form factor, so any mobile app you create has to take this into account. With less screen real-estate and a fraction of the network speed, mobile devices are not ideal vehicles for content delivery. A great mobile application offers streamlined information, a touch-friendly interface, and lightning-quick performance, while fully utilizing the sensors and inputs that set it apart.
Mobile apps don’t have to integrate. Some companies get hung up on creating mobile apps that are deeply integrated with legacy systems, and spend millions trying to upgrade these systems so they can “talk” to mobile apps. There is a much easier way to integrate mobile into the enterprise that won’t take five years and cost millions of dollars – create nimble apps that sit on top of systems. Apps that are “just apps” will always have a difficult time fitting into your company's structure and data. However, mobile apps built with a rich framework and a deep understanding of server and dynamic delivery can easily connect to any legacy platform – without you having to revamp entire backend systems.
IT professionals today are unsung heroes – racing to keep up with the most rapidly-changing technology infrastructure in history. Mobile, cloud, and social are coming together to turn the workplace into a hub accessed by dozens of different devices at all hours and from all corners of the globe. Getting mobile right isn’t just imperative for productivity and operations, but for the future of your company.