Guest Column | August 9, 2016

Enterprise Mobility: Conquering The Battle Between Cost And Quality With Low-Code

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By Malcolm Ross, VP of Product Marketing, Appian

Enterprise mobility and the use of mobile applications to do mission-critical work are no longer new. Not at all.

In fact, 90 percent of IT decision makers believe enterprise mobility is critical to customer engagement, competitiveness, and operational productivity with nearly three quarters of them reporting their company is planning to mobilize the entire organization, according to a recent Harris Poll.

So, to state again — mobility in the workplace is here, and it’s here to stay.

This begs the question, however: now that we know mobility has indeed caught fire in the business sector, how does a business differentiate when every business is mobile? The answer is to change your mindset. It’s not about the device anymore, but rather how you use it.

First, businesses must learn how to rapidly innovate on mobile platforms. That one-year project organizations experienced for their first mobile initiative is just not going to cut it today. Businesses must be able to go from idea to new mobile solution in less than 30 days. To support this, organizations need to revisit their technology architecture and build solutions on platforms that reduce labor intensive coding and adapt solutions to new mobile innovations. Modern enterprise platforms not only deliver mobile capabilities on the latest devices without additional time, effort, and expense, they also adapt your software designs to devices and form factors yet to be released.

These high-productivity, low-code platforms allow for costs to be kept down by improving business and IT collaboration and reducing the time to solution. Instead of capturing requirements in traditional documentation formats, visual designs of processes, interfaces, data, and business rules can be expressed directly into the tool to generate the functional solution. IT developers can create designs that business users may directly understand, or even empower business users to directly participation in the creation of the mobile solution.

Additionally, the right low-code platform not only empowers organizations to create applications quickly, but also adapts to the fast-paced, ever-changing demands of users. Furthermore, these low-code platforms allow organizations to easily incorporate new mobile innovations into their mobile solutions.

But just as is the case in every other facet of our lives, we must make sacrifices in quality in order to bring solutions to market faster. For mobile, if we build on these low-code platforms, we must assume that the application will therefore be a watered-down version of what we’d experience on a desktop or in other more main-stream mobile apps. Right?

Wrong. Just as in our everyday lives, we as digital workers have earned the right to demand quality and therefore be more selective in our enterprise apps. This, in turn, has added pressure to AD&D leaders to deliver the cost savings that we mention above, while also supplying their employees and customers with the powerful, mission-critical mobile applications that they need.

The good news is, as is the case with providing low-cost mobile development, the right low-code platform is also the key to getting high-quality apps that meet modern demands:

Mobile Security – The enterprise mobility management marketplace is constantly shifting, with aggressive M&A activity creating schisms in the way vendors approach mobile security. Enterprise apps must play well with these EMM platforms to ensure high security of valuable corporate and customer data.

Functional Parity – Enterprises no longer want a mobile app that presents less functionality than the full desktop experience. With advancements made in the last three to five years, smartphones are now first-class devices and buyers expect full parity in functionality.

Device Integration – Mobile is now much more than just smartphones and tablets. Devices such as beacons, NFC, wearables and scanners make mobile a trend that will only accelerate as these technologies become better and more ubiquitous, and will therefore become a more important part of mobile enterprise ecosystem. They all must work seamlessly together and without additional cost to the enterprise.