By Fima Katz, Exadel
According to Gartner, by 2017 75 percent of IT organizations will have gone bimodal in some way. This shift reflects the growing need for businesses to deploy a modern mobile platform that encourages business user participation in the development process, with the full support and oversight of the IT organization.
Bimodal IT complements the traditional "mode 1" approach with a more rapid "mode 2," which is better suited to support a large number of smaller projects. While this emerging trend is good news for enterprises looking to accelerate the pace of mobile development, there are potential pitfalls that must be avoided – namely BYOT (Bring Your Own Tool).
With BYOT there is a risk that users from different parts of the business will download their own tools and develop their own apps without IT’s involvement. This "rogue IT" approach can result in risks to data security and other corporate governance issues and should be avoided. In addition, this fragmented approach results in a lack of consistency across the organization, with assets and skills that can’t be leveraged across the business.
The objective is to enable IT to do the heavy lifting, such as back-end integration and coding of reusable application components, while allowing business users to rapidly create the mobile apps they require.
What is needed is a mobile strategy that adequately supports the needs of business users while ensuring the role of IT as a facilitator.
To support bimodal IT for your mobile application development, avoiding the perils of BYOT, I suggest deploying a mobile application development platform that includes these elements:
- Is cloud-based (private or public cloud), managed by IT, but available to business users who want to develop apps for their business. In this way, business users can participate in the development, while IT can support them and ensure compliance with IT policies. Deploy the platform in a private cloud or leverage the public cloud, depending on your needs.
- Offers a rapid, visual development environment to speed up the development process but also offers a full coding IDE to enable the most flexibility. This approach enables a development continuum between IT and business users that is required when implementing a bimodal IT strategy. Business users can create complete applications with the visual interface, while IT developers can further customize them or create more complex ones with the coding interface.
- Offers a browser-based development environment so business users can develop from anywhere without having to download and maintain unfamiliar tools. And with a Web-based platform, IT can be sure the infrastructure is always up to date for the business users.
- Offers integrated mobile back-end services to enable IT to offer business users the back-end capabilities they will need when creating applications. This includes user management, push notifications, server-side logic, data management and mobile integration middleware to connect to existing enterprise data sources.
- Offers the ability to integrate existing development processes in the enterprise, such as continuous integration and workflow systems.
Implementing a bimodal IT strategy with a flexible mobile application development platform ensures that the IT organization can support the needs of the business to innovate rapidly while avoiding the rogue IT pitfalls that can result from a BYOT approach.
Fima Katz is the president and CEO of Exadel, makers of Appery.io, a mobile platform that offers a cloud-based rapid enterprise mobile app development environment with integrated backend services and a rich catalog of API plug-ins.