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Why Mobility Should Be Considered First When Developing Business Applications

By March 23, 2015Article

More often than not, the first computing device workers turn to is their mobile device. On the road, or simply running from meeting to meeting, it’s the smartphone or tablet that enables us to quickly check email, access files, share important content and even edit documents. 

In fact, IDC predicts that more than 328 million employee-owned smartphones will be on the job by 2017, and Forrester reports that another 68 million enterprise-owned tablets will also be in use by 2017. With all these mobile devices in action, it’s no wonder they are the first tool of choice for today’s worker. So, isn’t it time that the applications used on them also consider mobility first? 

Instead, we’re typically constrained by business applications that often were developed first for use on desktop or laptop systems and “adapted” to support mobile devices. What’s lacking? True understanding of how mobility can improve business processes when delivered with the right productivity tools and security measures. 

In order to best fuel secure mobile productivity, the business applications we use on mobile devices shouldn’t consider the mobile worker’s needs as an afterthought. Instead they need to be developed from the ground up for use on smartphones and tablets. This will enable applications to take full advantage of all the productivity gains mobile devices have to offer. It will also enable protecting organizations from security risk and data compromise. 

Powering mobile productivity 

At their core, mobile devices drive productivity. They deliver fingertip access to everything we need for work and more. Here are four functionalities that put mobility first in order to drive productivity. 

  • Sync between devices. Mobile enterprise file-sharing and collaboration solutions such as Soonr Go take full advantage of the power of mobile devices, supporting the ability to sync full or selective folders on each of a user’s devices so that they can be easily accessed both on and offline.
  • Device-aware functionality. The best solutions feature complete device-aware functionality. For instance, only selected files and folders are synced on specific devices so that device bandwidth and storage is optimized. This is an especially useful feature for smartphones with limited storage capacity.
  • Document access and editing. Business applications built for mobile devices also should support simplified document access and editing functionality, even in offline mode. And they should do so without the need to purchase or integrate additional software.
  • Single interface for multi-user document sharing. Apps should intuitively support even the most complex document-sharing structures by giving users multi-account access through a single interface and crisp document preview features. This will allow mobile users to easily navigate to the documents they need from even the smallest of mobile devices. 

Securing mobile content 

Data security also should be a paramount consideration for any application that runs on a mobile device. With as many as 59 percent of enterprises citing data breach security as a top BYOD concern, according to Forrester, it’s critical that mobile applications take extra care to protect corporate data. Solutions that are developed using a “mobile first” strategy understand the vulnerability of mobile data and protect it every step of the way. 

Integrated mobile device management (MDM) capabilities such as policy-based remote wipe, poison pill tools and hardware-based device approval give security-conscious users and administrators the peace of mind they need, knowing that data is protected. Because mobile devices are prone to theft or loss, these integrated MDM capabilities can allow administrators to remove only business content from any synced mobile device. This smart mobile device management technology can also support automatic recovery for the easy restoration of lost data to an approved replacement device. 

It’s innovations such as these that make a “mobile first” strategy for business application development critical in today’s world of road warriors. By developing mobility-minded applications from the ground up, users will reap the gains of increased productivity and IT organizations can be assured that critical company data remains secure – regardless of where it’s accessed and used. 

Ahmet Tuncay is the chief executive officer of Soonr. He is a mobile, networking and security technology expert and operational executive who has spent more than two decades building companies in the wireless, mobile and communication, and software industries.