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Mobile app platform development for businesses is all the rage, but I wonder if we really understand how it’s affecting our work. In our last post we talked about creating context with mobile applications, but let’s take that conversation one step further. The proliferation of mobile applications is creating many of the same challenges that we experienced with the proliferation of data in the enterprise - namely, silos.
When the data deluge took over the enterprise, employees gained access to an enormous amount of valuable information, but typically the data would end up in department or individual silos. If you had a question about a customer for example, you’d have to check with the sales, marketing, operations and customer services departments individually to get your answers, rather than having one cohesive view of the customer’s experience across your business. Greater integration of technology was supposed to solve that, but when it comes to mobile, are we remaking the same problem again for the (Build You Own Apps) BYOA world?
The democratization of IT has opened the doors for business users to solve problems independently, and freed up IT to focus on other top priorities. Because of this freedom, much of the data living within a business is held in individual and departmental repositories that may not be visible to the entire organization. With these individually managed repositories, we lose the ability to access or control information if an employee leaves the company, for example; or if they haven’t proactively communicated where and how they are storing information with the rest of their team.
Context shouldn’t exist in a vacuum - and unless the same data and context is available to everyone involved in a project, the view of that work will not be consistent. The easy answer is to facilitate information sharing across applications and adopt more open source development business-wide. Allowing for data sharing across applications and mobile devices means a constant influx of real-time information about users, preferences, location and behaviors that can be used to improve process and workflow within integrated single layer.
But that pervasive data and mobile access has to be balanced with the governance, protocols and compliance demands of the business. IT and business users are once again faced with finding a solution for easy and instant access to data and systems (both in-house and user generated) - this time the silo problem has moved to mobile devices.
To learn more about the future of business apps, read the white paper: “It's a bring-your-own-app, mobile world”