The Pursuit of APPiness

Crafting the apt mobile application strategy and deploying it correctly will ensure maximum returns on mobility implementations in your organization. 


Feb 13th 2013 A-A+
Gunjan Trivedi is executive editor at IDG Media. He is an award-winning writer with over a decade of experience in Indian IT. Before becoming a journalist, he had been a hands-on IT specialist, with expertise in setting up WANs. Reach him at

It is pertinent for CIOs to now craft and deploy an exhaustive mobile app strategy to continuously deliver more effective—and sexier—apps to extremely mobile end-users, executives, and customers.

Enterprise IT in India has evidently come a long way from dealing with mammoth Unix-based platforms to Wintel (a portmanteau of Windows and Intel) architecture and now to various flavors of cloud computing. All of this has been significantly impacting the back-end architecture, but the front-end compute devices have remained largely unaffected—in fact they got more powerful along the way.

However, in the last decade and a half, it is perhaps the first time when end-user interface is witnessing a phenomenal shift. This change is actually contrarian to the quest for fat, fatter, and fattest desktops or laptops. Today, data access and consumption devices are increasingly getting smaller, and perhaps not as powerful as their counterparts sitting on your desks—but smarter nonetheless.

CIOs are increasingly acknowledging the fact that however watertight one may keep the enterprise ecosystem, mobile devices of various flavors and form factors are flooding organizations. There is no way to stop the advent of devices in one’s system.

But I believe that’s just the first level of a long and hard game. The game, in fact, has just begun. The harder part is to design an enterprise strategy and build the required infrastructure for developing and managing mobile apps for the long run.

It is pertinent for CIOs to now craft and deploy an exhaustive mobile app strategy to continuously deliver more effective—and sexier—apps to extremely mobile end-users, executives, and customers.

Several IT leaders choose to deploy an app or two to see how the wind blows. After which, they go about designing and deploying enterprise infrastructure and strategy before going all out on creating mobile apps.

For these mobile apps to be truly useful, they need to be developed from scratch and not ported as limited versions of existing desktop apps. Developers can maintain a razor-sharp focus on end-user requirements and activities as they work with resource and real estate constraints on devices and can’t afford to unnecessarily clutter the screen. Developing mobile apps from scratch improves efficiency and effectiveness of the apps, and significantly reduces the time to market as now one needs to develop a lot less.

Going mobile first, and perhaps then porting it to desktops, however requires CIOs to re-look the talent and expertise within their organizations. Developing a customer-centric app with the right mix of business functionality, user-friendliness, intuitiveness, and design is crucial for its successful adoption.

A variety of mobile platforms and OS versions require constant adjustments and tweaks to the code of an app.  This, in turn, impacts its back-end integration with existing application servers and systems. For instance, a highly successful consumer app for India’s premier general insurance company developed severe memory leaks when the Android platform upgraded itself to the latest version of Jelly Bean. Significant recoding was required to solve the problem. The need to secure and encapsulate the app at each level of code to ensure corporate data security further adds to an organization’s woes.

CIOs in India are yet to find their feet with this new phenomenon. Its inherent challenges warrant CIOs to either create expertise within or partner with large, established players with proven expertise on conventional business technologies.

However, in my opinion, both of these approaches may not yield a desired result. Going insular will constantly pressurize your team to be on top of the game, and not focus on what matters the most: The business. Partnering with large, established vendors also poses its problems, as they may generally lack the nimbleness required to deal with ever-so-fast evolving mobile technologies.

I strongly feel that you may want to collaborate with niche players that know nothing but mobility. They bring in their cross-platform expertise and you share your domain knowledge. And considering how young mobile technologies are, if you are dealing with experts that are on the wrong side of 25, you are definitely not doing it right.