Reducing the complexity of mobile business application development, deployment and integration is important to IT managers in a wide variety of organizations. Enterprises building their own applications need a development platform that gives them unitary development of both front-end mobile clients and back-end server-side programs.
"Going mobile" means deploying applications to business phones and PDAs (such as Windows Mobile devices) that can handle mobile Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). In addition to front-end functionality, going mobile also means effectively integrating these rich mobile applications to back-end enterprise systems. Therefore, it is important that IT executives anticipate these issues before they create impossible pressures on IT departments and business users.
IT departments should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of their chosen mobile strategy, including choice of device, development platform and, most importantly, which business functions should be handled in a mobile context and which ones should not.
Here are some of the factors that enterprises need to consider when weighing their mobile business application development options:
Mobile applications need to be available across a wide variety of business users. An application platform should give the developer straightforward capabilities to implement the security, user rights and provisioning needed to span a wide variety of requirements.
Mobile business application platforms need to include data transport and communication layers that allow servers to process requests from large numbers of mobile devices. Most mobile platforms today require developers to engage in extensive amounts of programming to broker these communications between client and server.
Mobile application platforms also need to provide the same degree of application development productivity for the client-side interface, data and business logic layers of an application. But development efficiency is only a dimension of the requirements for a strong mobile application platform.
Scalability, operational reliability and transactional integrity are more important than ever before. Since communication failures are commonplace with mobile devices, the platform selected needs highly robust capabilities for error recovery and exceptions management. In addition, the likelihood of carrier-class transaction volume requirements means the platform must not be simply scalable but highly scalable to many proven levels of transactions.