Going Mobile : What should be my mobile strategy?

I am sure, there are 100s of posts already on this topic. This is a summary of my thoughts/understanding on Going Mobile.

Today, if you have an existing product, there is no way you can ignore about having a mobile application. Though its not mandate that you need a mobile solution today, but the growing needs will make it a necessity in the near future.

Great, we need to have a mobile application. Mobile is just another User Interface/Presentation End point. We had windows version earlier, then we moved to a web version, and now to a mobile version. Let us have a 50K Budget and get it done?

WOW, if only its the case, you will not see such a hype around enterprise mobility. The answer is definitely not that simple. There are quite a bit of things one need to consider before adding mobility to their product. The variance in the number of devices, operating systems and their capabilities has made it really complicated.

Wait, but i heard having a Cross Platform Solution will solve all this problem. Every large services company is talking about MEAP, Cross Platform application etc etc. to solve this problem. Well, the answer is May be.

But, before jumping to this lets try to understand what “Going Mobile” Means?
Going Mobile means that we have a strategy to address the business objectives. Typically any strategy is derived from the Mission and business objectives. What it means is that, we need to have clear list/statement of the problems we are trying to solve and the results to expect after solving the problem by when.

A Strategy (Plan to address) could be formulated, based on the business objectives. Based on the strategy it is then easy to define a set of guidelines for decision making.

  1. What do we want to achieve with our mobile solution?
  2. Who are our target users and what devices are they using?
  3. How can me make our mobile solution available to them?
  4. What is our competition doing in this?
  5. What kind of budget do we have?
  6. When do we want to go to market?

Based on the business problems we are trying to solve,  a technology implementation could be chosen. Following are the key considerations while making technology choice.

  1. User Experience
  2. Platform Coverage
  3. Performance
  4. Required Device Capabilities
  5. Offline

What should be my technology? Should i go with Native or Hybrid or HTML5?
You can choose a technology only based on your requirements. Your mobile strategy should be based on the problems you are trying to solve, and only that can help you decide that. Google Search can give you 1000s of pages on this. But the reality is there is no silver bullet. This decision cannot be made without context or based on personal preferences.

Okay, how do we decide whether to use MEAP or not?
Gartner has developed a Rule of Three to check whether there is a need for a MEAP solution

  1. There are 3 or more mobile applications
  2. There are 3 or more targeted operating systems or platforms
  3. They involve the integration of 3 or more back-end systems

If you have a requirement which fits the above then a MEAP Solution might be a good one to look at.

Cost of MEAP Platform and how generic you want a Solution will also play a key role in the decision making process. No Generic Solution can solve your business problem 100%. Which means there would be a customization. Assuming a MEAP Solution solves 80% of your business requirements, then you have to look at what does it take to solve the remaining 20% requirements. Then it becomes like any other COTS Vs Custom Solutions decision.

Like Desktop, Web, Mobile is also going to stay here. If we are going to enable mobility to our existing product, its very important to do solve the right business problem, so that it can help in monetization.

Useful books:
Architecting Mobile Solutions for the Enterprise
Microsoft Application Architecture Guide

Some useful pointers to look at:
Native or Web: How best to deliver Content to your Audiences?
Mobile Website Vs Mobile App: A Deep Dive
Mobile Website vs. Mobile App (Application): Which is Best for Your Organization?
Mobile Application Development: Native Vs HTML5
Mobile Web Vs Native Mobile App Vs Hybrid
Native, Hybrid or Web Apps?
Has mobile traffic really surpassed desktop internet traffic in India?
Gartner’s Rule of Three

Image Source:
Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Learning!!!


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