Avoid the Mobility Trap

Avoid the Mobility Trap

Posted on February 18, 2015 0 Comments

An enterprise mobility initiative can tempt organizations to silo mobile development teams. Here’s some considerations that may help you avoid that mobility trap.

Silos exist in every business. They are an unintended consequence of management strategies. Organizations tend to become over-focused on the objectives asked of them and gradually tend to ignore or become less coordinated with other organizations within the business. The net effect of this silo development can be increased costs, decreased agility and growing inefficiency.

IT often struggles to overcome the effects of silos, too. For example, development groups and IT operations frequently “speak different languages” that can cause frustration. IT ops is brought in late in the game, while dev groups tend to throw the finished application “over the wall” to IT ops without fully considering how it will be used or maintained.

At that point, IT ops is stuck taking the app, deploying it in production, monitoring the application and resourcing the help desk function when the end user has a problem. The DevOps approach aims to bridge this divide.

A solitary silo

A mobile application development silo can exacerbate the divide between Development and IT Operations.

Avoiding IT and development silos

Given the problems with silos, when stepping up mobility efforts it’s probably worthwhile trying to avoid a mobile app dev silo. If you choose to have silo a mobile development team for organizational reasons, make sure that you have the process and people in place that can manage the abstraction level appropriately.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Service-based approach. The benefits of a service-based approach will help your mobile efforts—if you take an API first approach. The APIs can be used to support your mobile efforts, providing consistency and enabling reuse of back-end business logic across your mobile and web apps. Some solutions even take a model-driven approach, where the user defines the application model and the solution automatically generates the server components. In addition to providing consistency, this helps minimize the development effort.
  • Shared infrastructure. If possible, think about leveraging a combined infrastructure to support your mobile and web efforts. While many PaaS solutions now offer mobile capabilities, not all mobile support is of equal value. Make sure that the PaaS solution provides the ability to develop a hybrid approach so that you can meet the user experience needs of your application.
  • Cloud options. While you are looking to replatform your application infrastructure using cloud principles, it simply makes sense to leverage the cloud to support your mobile efforts. Cloud based options bring the same economic and flexibility benefits to mobile development. There is no reason not to leverage your PaaS to support mobile.
  • Unifying development efforts. While there are some mobile applications that demand native capabilities—gaming, highly interactive apps--most organizations don’t have the wherewithal to build custom apps for each device. Nor do they have the luxury of time that custom app development will take. A hybrid approach is a good compromise. . This will allow you to develop compelling applications using standard development methods. The best solutions will allow you go avoid code almost completely via a graphical development environment. To best integrate your development efforts, a single development environment that supports both web and mobile app dev efforts is key.

Some Software Companies May Choose to Silo

If you choose to keep your mobile team separate, take some advice from Forrester. The firm says that some organizations silo intentionally, “to keep a fresh approach, complete major redesigns in under a year, and then gradually socialize mobile.” Other organizations choose to keep mobile development separate at the outset, and then work to integrate development efforts after they have socialized mobile. Whichever path you choose, think about the integration points that are necessary to eliminate barriers to your success.

Find out more

For more on avoiding the mobility trap, download my latest whitepaper, “9 Essentials to Create Amazing Applications Faster.”

We’d love to help you get started with a Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment that enables DevOps across your IT organization. Contact us now and we’ll get back to you right away.


Mark Troester

Mark Troester is the Vice President of Strategy at Progress. He guides the strategic go-to-market efforts for the Progress cognitive-first strategy. Mark has extensive experience in bringing application development and big data products to market. Previously, he led product marketing efforts at Sonatype, SAS and Progress DataDirect. Before these positions, Mark worked as a developer and developer manager for start-ups and enterprises alike. You can find him on LinkedIn or @mtroester on Twitter.


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