The rapidly evolving business landscape has been bringing in loads on the shoulders of digital leaders to deliver. And as a CIO, one of your greatest responsibilities is to ensure a frictionless environment within your organization by embracing enterprise applications that can improve the overall efficiency. This, while cutting down on business and labor costs. The challenges multiply when you consider the large and asymmetrical user base you have in your Enterprise.
Building an enterprise application, thus, is not an easy undertaking, especially, if you want to ensure a great user experience with minimal blockages in the flow of information. Applications that are designed to be used in a corporate or professional environment are bound to be built with a special strategy as explained here Key Factors Which Really Matter While Planning An Enterprise Mobility Strategy.
Any quality enterprise application needs to be scalable, complex, mission critical and distributed amongst a number of users. They can be ideal when it comes to uniting a team or a campus for a common goal or even just keeping everyone on the same page when it comes to daily tasks.
With all of those benefits, is it really any surprise that the demand for quality enterprise applications has increased dramatically over the past few years? In 2015 alone, for example, the number of employees utilizing “mobile” technology was projected to be around 1.3 billion. That is a huge number and one that only seems to increase as time passes.
As more and more people turn to enterprise mobility applications, however, new challenges arise. We earlier explained to you Key Factors To Building Successful Enterprise Mobility Applications. In the present article, we will bring to you the top challenges faced by enterprises in building an app for big user base and a CIO’s role in enterprise app development.
1.Deploying Apps To Large Numbers Of Employees
This is one of the biggest issues currently facing the design and development of enterprise applications. The users of the app in your case are asymmetrical. More specifically, there are many different kinds of users who might be accessing the app from a number of different devices. Wondering what should you consider before developing a scalable app?
Even narrowing the app down to a single platform – a smartphone, for this particular example – does not do much to eliminate the difficulties of proper deployment and integration. That is because there are many different kinds of smartphones with various hardware and software requirements, and a quality enterprise application must be designed to be usable by the majority of an enterprise’s users (or, at the very least, the majority of the users that they need necessary to the project at hand).
Windows phones are very different from Android or iOS phones, for example, and what works on one, might not be a usable functionality on another. In reality, of course, narrowing down an enterprise application to a single platform is not always possible. Sometimes they must be developed for users on their desktops, mobile device, and tablet. This only serves to multiply the amount of difficulty involved in deploying the app to large numbers of employees and ensuring that it works well for everyone.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that the only issue in app deployment and integration is strictly hardware or software based, however, as that is certainly not the case. Office politics can also play a big role in how successfully an application is distributed, understood, and implemented by enterprises.
Additionally, working on the deployment of these apps can have a significant impact on the company and the way it does business. That might mean a significant shift in corporate policy, and not everyone will be happy to see that change come about.
2.Ensuring Data Security
Keep in mind that these are applications designed for use within a business and that the odds are good that that business will have some kind of data that is meant to be confidential.
Even if a particular enterprise application is not designed to directly handle that information, it could easily become a gateway for those with more sinister intent should it not be developed in a way that promotes security. This is – and should be – a huge deal! Keep data safe. There are few ways to inculcate such practices in your enterprise mobile strategy.
The first is by ensuring that the authentication process of an application is as secure as possible. Remember that users will be inputting their personal information and credentials here. If the process is not secure and an unauthorized user was able to gain access to the information provided, the amount of damage they could do would be astronomical.
Additionally, it is important to implement validation that can be conducted on the server side of the process rather than on the user’s side. Not only is this approach more secure than relying on authentication alone, but it also helps improve the user experience by not bogging down the application itself and causing it to run slowly. Finally, data security can also be achieved via data encryption. This helps add an extra layer of protection to the information that is sent through the application.
3.Selecting The Right Development Platform And Technology
While this challenge has been alluded to in a previous discussion about the difficulties of deployment and integration, it is a serious enough issue that it deserves its own section. It is very important that you select the right development platform and technology. Failing to do so can result in a loss of customers or even the need to redesign the app altogether from scratch – and that isn’t fun at all.
It is also neither time nor cost efficient, which means that developers could end up spending a lot of their time working for little to no payoff.
In general, Xamarin is the best way to when it comes to developing enterprise applications. This kind of development platform is more “future proof” than a native platform, and it is also compatible with more devices. If creating an application that can be used by a variety of different users with different devices (and as more and more companies allow their employees to use their personal devices for work communication, this will quickly become the norm), then Xamarin is the best way to go.
4.Building The Most Suitable User Interface
This is an important factor for enterprise applications, and it is one that is often neglected rather than embraced. As demonstrated in the example above, an enterprise application must be designed and optimized to give the best user experience possible. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a user interface that is as simple and straightforward as possible.
Keep in mind that an application is not meant necessarily to inform, but rather to be used to create something. That changes the way the enterprise applications are designed, and it changes the way users will engage with the product. Enterprise app developers, then, must ensure that they are creating something with the end user in mind. That means keeping a design as simple and logical as possible while still adding in the functionality that draws people to the app in the first place. This is not an easy task, and in fact can be one of the most difficult parts of app development. With that said, it is an inescapable aspect of the development process.
To find the best possible user interface for your employees it is important to understand what they are looking for. What kind of app do they need, and why are they investing in one, to begin with? Once these needs are understood, it becomes easier to develop the kind of interface that will prove both useful and easy to use. Remember that in order to be successful, the interface must have both of these qualities. There is no use in a user interface that no one can operate, after all, nor in the beautiful and easy to use interface that has no useful features.
5.Choosing The Right Middleware For Integration With Mobiles
It is imperative for any organization to have automated systems to handle various processes including those of human resource departments, communications, asset management and more. Each of these systems cannot interact directly with the mobile devices and neither can they interact in a uniform manner. Here, the need for using a middleware arises. A middleware brings the inputs from these isolated systems at one place and encodes in a language mobile devices can understand.
Now, the next big question is which middleware will fit in best for your app. The challenge is that the bigger is the user base, the greater is the performance level of middleware you need to choose. This happens because the larger is the size of the organization or enterprise, the more complex its individual systems are likely to be.
All in all, enterprise applications can mean great things for businesses of almost any size, but it is important to understand their pros as well as their cons. When designing an enterprise app, it is even more important recognize some of the common challenges that might need to be overcome. This includes designing a usable interface, ensuring data security, understanding how to implement and deploy the app to many users, and selecting the right development platform to ensure maximum scalability.
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