Enterprise consumers of mobile applications have set their expectations of performance based on popular consumer applications. Applications such as Facebook, Angry Birds, Evernote, and Dropbox—which can be downloaded from the Android or Apple stores—are built for high performance. Not only are the applications designed to work well on a mobile device, but the infrastructure behind them are also designed to respond to the events initiated by the mobile user.
Avoid the Frustration
When companies first make a foray into mobile devices, they often just expose their standard application to the mobile device with, perhaps, a slightly different stylesheet. This results in a slow and confusing experience that frustrates the user.
It is usually not cost effective to hire developers to write native applications for simple workflow-dedicated applications. The cost of development, required constant updates, and the small user base simply make it impractical to develop dedicated applications. This is complicated by the popular use of Android and iPhone platforms, which likely splits the enterprise user base.
There Is a Solution
To solve this problem, a company may consider a mobile device management (MDM) solution. While these implementations are still quite new, not all of the experiences have been successful. This is because there is too much application logic required on the device, or it is being pushed to the database-driven applications behind it. The solution is to create a services-based layer to handle this effort.
In many cases, the end-user mobile application interfaces to multiple backend systems. This is a problem that is begging for SOA. Unfortunately, most MDM solutions create direct connections to the application, which exacerbates the problem of scalability. The architecture lends itself to a structure that simply does not scale as the number of users and applications expand. Therefore, if the first applications are only deemed to be a partial success, the success rate is likely to decline as the number of users, mobile apps, and connected enterprise applications increases.
When you investigate the infrastructure behind many consumer applications, like Facebook or Google Maps, you find that most of them use a highly scalable infrastructure that maximizes the use of RAM. These implementations resemble an SOA environment in that they easily scale to allow for millions of potential users. It defies logic that a company providing applications to its users would have a less flexible architecture than the infrastructure for internal applications.
Silver Mobile solves this problem by using ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks to manage the orchestration of multiple-source enterprise applications. If needed, this can be further augmented with the highly scalable ActiveSpaces to reduce the reliance on inherently slow database applications. This modern architecture provides a platform that has the flexibility of an enterprise mobile device platform, but the scalability of a consumer-based mobile platform. To learn more about mobile integration, read this whitepaper: Seven Principles for a Mobile Integration Strategy.