Mobile Application Management Fulfillment: Chartering New Workflow Pathways

 Author(s): , Posted on April 29th, 2015

Mobility is fundamentally changing the traditional application development and deployment methodology. Traditional application development took months. Today, mobile apps and updates are being released within weeks and it is approaching a zero day event. Traditional methodologies tend to be very bureaucratic requiring a high level of detail that leads to a high level of complexity. Design metrics were based on meeting business requirements.  Today, their success is based on consumer feedback.

In recognition of this trend, Gartner Says Traditional Development Practices Will Fail for Mobile Apps. Traditional development typically focused on single-use application or product integration. Whereas, today’s needs are for responsive designs with shorter session lengths, that support a variety of devices, and integrate into their surroundings. This requires a totally different mindset both for development and fulfillment.  There are many converging components and roles that need to be considered in pulling a comprehensive end-to-end mobile application management framework.  The diagram below identifies what needs to be covered in your app management fulfillment charter.


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Application Sources

Public app stores provide a curated and convenient way to get apps and updates.  Apple’s Store can also include B2B apps that are customized specifically for your company’s business process or workflow. They are distributed privately to businesses that register in the Apple Volume Purchase Program. Workspace portals that manage Desktop as a Service (DaaS) Windows apps are now also able to integrate into Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) platforms to provide a unified enterprise application catalog.  Internal App Repositories contain the custom app and provisioning files.

EMM Functions and Roles

Application assignments to user devices are a core service in EMM. Applications using an EMM Software Development Kit (SDK) can provide greater controls, however they are less agile. Apps can also be wrapped to include additional management functions, but this method can include a lot of complications and maintenance. Apps that leverage the native-device, built-in Mobile MAM APIs provide the optimum approach and can be applied to public apps.  Configuration parameters can include per app VPN, Single Sign On (SSO), Data protection (managed open in, copy/paste etc.), time and location controls, and custom auto configuration settings. EMM functions can also extend to include build servers, Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS), App Performance Management, and App reputation services. Developer, Reviewer, and Publisher roles, drive the catalog service to enable end user push, push notification, and on demand services.

Personal Area Networks and End User Experience

The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to radically transform both our personal and professional lives. And it will be applications that drive the change. Mobile technology has changed the expectations of users as they quickly embraced self-enablement and the mobile moment. A user’s experience is dynamic and will change with context. As such, the experience design will need to shift IT from a controller to an enabler and provide choice, greater feedback channels and include analytics and application performance monitoring.

Preparing for Tomorrow

Establishing a holistic app management framework will help ensure all apps within an enterprise can be assigned, configured, secured, managed, and interoperable.  The framework focus is on developer integration, responsive configuration management, self service access, and (passive and active) end user feedback.  Instituting user personas and delegated administrative roles in the fulfillment workflow will provide the efficiency needed for scalable enablement. The organizational practice will soon need to navigate the deeper waters of API management, where the user experience encompasses a personal network of devices, peripherals, and smart things that surround them.

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About the Author

Carl is a Solution Architect focusing on enterprise mobility services. His technical and business insight is based on industrial engineering disciplines, world travel, and over 35 years of experience in applying information technology to diverse and complex problems Read all Posts





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