Recently Gartner Research published a new report, “Minimizing the Number of Supported Mobile Application Architectures,”* that dissects a common situation that organizations delving into mobile application development find themselves in. About a year ago, Gartner made its Strategic Planning Assumption in its Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms report;
“By 2015, 80% of all mobile applications developed will be hybrid or mobile-Web-oriented.”
This assumption is proving true as organizations see the development- and maintenance-cost benefit of mobile web applications well-suited for enterprises that require tactical solutions, fast.
Under pressure to get mobile apps to market quickly, though, enterprises are developing these one-off tactical solutions rather than working from a scalable mobile application architecture. The report goes on to state that one of the key challenges they face is preventing tactically developed apps from becoming a legacy nightmare. Additionally, many of these projects are sponsored outside of classic IT functions, and not covered by conventional governance policies, exposing the organization to more immediate risk.
With various mobile application architectures available, the report successfully teases out the priorities and benefits applicable to each model. Taking into account factors such as Device Features, Expected Use, Dynamic Updates, High-Performance Animations, Ease of Maintenance, and Ease of Talent Acquisition – it’s a very relevant starting point for CIOs and IT Leaders trying to solidify their mobile application delivery strategy. It’s clear that there is no ‘best’ architecture, and because each model provides its own strategic benefits, the key takeaway here is the importance of creating a centralized, scalable and standardized mobile app delivery strategy.
“Organizations should seek to minimize the number of architectures and tools used. When organizations do not take this approach, they will find escalating support costs, security gaps, and will likely produce poor quality applications.”*
Gartner recommends mapping out project requirements for several initial mobile app projects in order to match common project needs to a style of mobile application architecture. The more economy of scale you can take advantage of across application projects, the lower your overall development and maintenance costs will be. It’s also worth noting that each style also has its own skill requirements and security schema that need to be taken into account:
“Given the skills shortage in mobile development, it is essential that CIOs and IT leaders minimize the number of tools used within their organization.”*
CIOs and IT leaders will still have to continuously adapt their strategy for the relatively young mobile market. There is no defined tool or architecture to provide for every enterprise solution need, but the payoff for standardizing on one is clear.
Of course mobile projects are often not just mobile projects – they include traditional web usage and back-end integration with existing enterprise systems. That’s why we have included mobile as an integral part of the Mendix Platform. Not only are you gaining efficiencies by choosing a single, end-to-end mobile application architecture to standardize on, but you’re also using the exact same data model, integration, workflow, process and business logic built into the application for both mobile and web use. Built it once and use it from any UI or screen size. And most importantly, this allows you to put together mobile apps with the same “light speed” Mendix customers have come to expect.