Building and Testing Mobile Apps for the Enterprise Doesn't Have to be Expensive
By Josh Galde | May 13, 2013
Recently Derek Britton of Micro Focus issued an article giving some great advice on how to develop one’s enterprise mobile strategy. As we have been discussing in recent posts, mobile is expanding exponentially and is putting even more pressure on IT teams to support these efforts. Derek covers some great ways to deploy a mobile strategy and support a mobile strategy in a cost-efficient way. In it he shared " The advent of the savvy end-user and the rising trend of “bring your own device” (BYOD) have immeasurably changed the way in which services must be provided by IT. As smart phone capabilities develop, so does the level of expectations for added functionality.
Businesses will find it impossible to ignore mobile if they wish to remain competitive in the next few years and must consider the most effective way to develop and adapt business applications to the needs of the mobile user.
The take-up of mobile technology will have “dramatic effect” on back-office IT systems, according to a study from Forrester Research. Modern users expect 24/7 mobile access to all the applications and online services that they would use on their desktop or laptop computer, visiting e-commerce sites, accessing their bank online, and more recently, loading their work applications. Yet, according to Forrester, “hidden costs and disruptions” are set to plague organizations that do not make appropriate pre-emptive action.
The Forrester Report suggests that mobile projects hide a variety of potential pitfalls as a result of infrastructure that is ill-prepared for exploding activity volumes. However, organizations need not think that embracing mobile will require a costly and complete overhaul of existing IT infrastructure to resolve these issues.
Businesses should consider re-using as much of their existing business applications and processes as possible in order to guarantee integrity, continuity and security of service for the future. Potential threats to the infrastructure of exploding activity volumes can be mitigated by making smart choices about application provision and workload management, to relieve pressure and offer a more cost- effective and viable solution to adopt mobile.
So what should businesses be doing to embrace mobile in a cost- efficient fashion? There are several steps that businesses can take to ensure that their IT infrastructures are prepared for the mobile explosion:
Re-use and adapt
All too often businesses approach mobile by developing new applications when in fact they could simply re-use and adapt existing, core back-end applications. The benefit of this approach is that costs are reduced and the existing infrastructure is not compromised.
While many may not consider COBOL for adapting business applications to support mobile use, its simplicity and therefore adaptability, makes this programming language, which accounts for approximately 70% of all critical business processes, the perfect candidate to take IT into the mobile era. With tools such as Visual Studio or Eclipse, developers are able to modernise applications to support new mobile applications across a wide number of technical platforms. COBOL can be used in each instance to efficiently deliver business services and their supporting data from the back-end to the user. The benefits of re-using COBOL systems rather than re-writing them are numerous and include a faster delivery of IT service, at lower cost and risk, while retaining intellectual property and competitive advantage.
Thoroughly test your mobile apps
When undertaking a considerable project such as adapting to mobile, testing is one area that cannot afford to be compromised. However traditional testing practices can mean that projects can overrun on time as well as budget. By moving application testing for mobile, web and related back-end systems to a more cost- effective environment that is easy to use, testing phases are able to be completed much faster and more thoroughly without eating into mainframe power. These environments also lend themselves better to supporting test automation and performance testing needs.”
As Derek reinforced - the need to thoroughly test your mobile apps is critical and that doesn’t have to be expensive either. Automated testing can be done in many different ways and utilizing different formats for different stages of your testing. From functional testing to performance testing, ensuring that your customers experience the highest quality of app or website is contingent upon how well it’s developed, and tested. More on this topic to come so check back soon or follow our blog today!