3 Mobile Enterprise Application Platform Tips
By Steven Lerner
Developing an internal app can be complicated, which is why organizations often rely on a mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP). It is one of the many types of solutions that are leveraged to develop apps. A MEAP also has functionality to help with the management of apps as well.
As a development tool, a MEAP improves productivity. Traditionally, developers would have to build separate apps and write code for each operating system. A MEAP unifies this process so that developers don’t have to create different apps for every operating system or device. With a MEAP, the apps will be compatible across enterprise operating systems.
A MEAP also ensures the centralized management and integration of mobile apps. Common features include offline synchronization, push notifications, and storing data.
Before selecting a MEAP solution, here are three important factors to consider.
1. Template Apps vs. Customized Apps
One of the best uses of a mobile enterprise application platform is for developing the next generation of internal apps. This is especially useful considering that the complexities of mobile applications are rapidly increasing. In recent years, enterprise app developers have been integrating new technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
In the midst of this environment of more complex apps and the concentration of development resources, enterprises still have a critical need to quickly deploy certain types of apps. To help with this, many mobile enterprise application platforms provide template applications. Leveraging templates for specific types of applications can be important for certain employees who require a basic and immediate solution.
In addition to providing these template applications, the platform should also empower developers to customize these templates or takes aspects of them to create an entirely new application. This will allow developers to tweak apps that meet the needs of the enterprise and deliver optimal business value.
2. Supporting Multiple Operating Systems
The term “mobile enterprise application platform” dates back to 2008 when it was coined by industry research firm Gartner. While observing different enterprises, Gartner concluded that a MEAP is needed if you want to do three things: support three or more mobile apps, integrate with three or more back-end data sources, and support three or more mobile operating systems.
That last point is perhaps the most critical one to consider, especially as an organization adopts a bring your own device (BYOD) policy for its employees. BYOD adoption has skyrocketed over the past few years, as more companies realize the potential cost savings for having this policy. The increase of BYOD has resulted in an expansion of numerous operating systems and mobile platforms. It is common to find dozens of operating systems used by employees across a large enterprise, and all of them need their mobile apps to work.
If your enterprise follows a BYOD policy, it is recommended that you evaluate different MEAP solutions as to how they are able to simultaneously support multiple mobile operating systems. After all, not all MEAP solutions are equal, and it is better to rule out a platform during testing in case it doesn’t meet your mobile needs.
3. Initial Mobile Enterprise Application Platform Challenges
As with any new solution, a MEAP does present some initial obstacles. Upon adoption, an enterprise must update the apps when the platform changes and handle any issues with bugs. All of the content on the apps must also be updated during the initial adoption phase, as well as securing both public and private data. On top of all of these added responsibilities of IT during this time, the upfront cost for a MEAP could also be significant.
Once this initial phase is over, then the benefits kick in. This includes reduced costs for app lifecycle management and smoother data integrations. A MEAP ensures rapid enterprise mobile app development, and helps deploy mobile apps across multiple operating systems. After the deployment, a MEAP can be an asset for managing applications and updating them. In the end, there are numerous advantages to a MEAP once an enterprise survives the challenges during the early stages.