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Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools

Maximize the value of your mobile investments by prioritizing technology decisions on user experience, business priorities, and system quality.

  • Organizations see the value of mobile applications in improving productivity and reach of day-to-day business and IT operations. This motivates leaders to begin the planning of their first application.
  • However, organizations often lack the critical foundational knowledge and skills to deliver and maintain high quality and valuable applications that meet business and user priorities and technical requirements.
  • Mobile technologies and trends are continually evolving and maturing. It is hard to predict which trends will make a significant impact and to prepare current mobile investments to harness their value of these trends.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Mobile applications can stress the stability, reliability, and overall quality of your enterprise systems and services. They will also increase your security risks because of the exposure of your enterprise technology assets to unsecured networks and devices.
  • High costs of entry may restrict what built-in features your users can have in their mobile experience. Workarounds may not be sufficient to offset the costs of certain built-in feature needs.
  • Many operating models do not enable or encourage the collaboration required to fully understand user needs and behaviors and evaluate mobile opportunities and underlying operational systems from multiple perspectives.

Impact and Result

  • Establish the right expectations. Understand your mobile users by learning their needs, challenges, and behaviors. Discuss the current state of your systems and your high priority non-functional requirements to determine what to expect from your mobile applications.
  • Choose the right mobile platform approach and shortlist your mobile delivery solutions. Obtain a thorough view of the business and technical complexities of your mobile opportunities, including current mobile delivery capabilities and system compatibilities.
  • Create your mobile roadmap. Describe the gradual rollout of your mobile technologies through minimal valuable products (MVPs).

Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools Research & Tools

1. Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools Storyboard

This blueprint helps you develop an approach to understand the mobile experience your stakeholders want your users to have and select the appropriate platform and delivery tools to meet these expectations.

2. Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template – Clearly communicate the goal and approach of your mobile application implementation in a language your audience understands.

This template narrates a story to describe the need and expectations of your low- and no-code initiative to get buy-in from stakeholders and interested parties.


Workshop: Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Choose Your Platform and Delivery Solution

The Purpose

  • Choose the right mobile platform.
  • Shortlist your mobile delivery solution and desired features and services.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A chosen mobile platform that meets user and enterprise needs.
  • Candidate mobile delivery solutions that meet your delivery needs and capacity of your teams.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Select your platform approach.

  • Desired mobile platform approach.
1.2

Shortlist your mobile delivery solution.

  • Shortlisted mobile delivery solutions.
1.3

Build your feature and service lists.

  • Desired list of vendor features and services.

Module 2: Create Your Roadmap

The Purpose

  • Design the mobile application minimal viable product (MVP).
  • Create your mobile roadmap.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An achievable and valuable mobile application that is scalable for future growth.
  • Clear intent of business outcome delivery and completing mobile delivery activities.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Define your MVP release.

  • MVP design.
2.2

Build your roadmap.

  • Mobile delivery roadmap.

Module 3: Set the Mobile Context

The Purpose

  • Understand your user’s environment needs, behaviors, and challenges.
  • Define stakeholder expectations and ensure alignment with the holistic business strategy.
  • Identify your mobile application opportunities.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Thorough understanding of your mobile user and opportunities where mobile applications can help.
  • Level set stakeholder expectations and establish targeted objectives.
  • Prioritized list of mobile opportunities.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Generate user personas with empathy maps.

  • User personas.
3.2

Build your mobile application canvas.

  • Mobile objectives and metrics.
3.3

Build your mobile backlog.

  • Mobile opportunity backlog.

Module 4: Identify Your Technical Needs

The Purpose

  • Define the mobile experience you want to deliver and the features to enable it.
  • Understand the state of your current system to support mobile.
  • Identify your definition of mobile application quality.
  • List the concerns with mobile delivery.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clear understanding of the desired mobile experience.
  • Potential issues and risks with enabling mobile on top of existing systems.
  • Grounded understanding of mobile application quality.
  • Holistic readiness assessment to proceed with mobile delivery.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Discuss your mobile needs.

  • List of mobile features to enable the desired mobile experience.
4.2

Conduct a technical assessment.

  • System current assessment.
4.3

Define mobile application quality.

  • Mobile application quality definition.
4.4

Verify your decision to deliver mobile applications.

  • Verification to proceed with mobile delivery.

Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools

Maximize the value of your mobile investments by prioritizing technology decisions on user experience, business priorities, and system quality.

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Analyst Perspective

Mobile is the way of working.

Workers require access to enterprise products, data, and services anywhere at anytime on any device. Give them the device-specific features, offline access, desktop-like interfaces, and automation capabilities they need to be productive.

To be successful, you need to instill a collaborative business-IT partnership. Only through this partnership will you be able to select the right mobile platform and tools to balance desired outcomes with enterprise security, performance, integration, quality, and other delivery capacity concerns.

This is a picture of Andrew Kum-Seun Senior Research Analyst, Application Delivery and Application Management Info-Tech Research Group

Andrew Kum-Seun
Senior Research Analyst,
Application Delivery and Application Management
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

  • Organizations see the value of mobile applications in improving productivity and reach of day-to-day business and IT operations. This motivates leaders to begin the planning of their first application.
  • However, organizations often lack the critical foundational knowledge and skills to deliver and maintain high quality and valuable applications that meet business and user priorities and technical requirements.
  • Mobile technologies and trends are continually evolving and maturing. It is hard to predict which trends will make a significant impact and to prepare current mobile investments to harness the value of these trends.

Common Obstacles

  • Mobile applications can stress the stability, reliability and overall quality of your enterprise systems and services. They will also increase your security risks because of the exposure of your enterprise technology assets to unsecured networks and devices.
  • High costs of entry may restrict what native features your users can have in their mobile experience. Workarounds may not be sufficient to offset the costs of certain native feature needs.
  • Many operating models do not enable or encourage the collaboration required to fully understand user needs and behaviors and evaluate mobile opportunities and underlying operational systems from multiple perspectives.

Info-Tech's Approach

  • Establish the right expectations. Understand your mobile users by learning their needs, challenges, and behaviors. Discuss the current state of your systems and your high priority non-functional requirements to determine what to expect from your mobile applications.
  • Choose the right mobile platform approach and shortlist your mobile delivery solutions. Obtain a thorough view of the business and technical complexities of your mobile opportunities, including current mobile delivery capabilities and system compatibilities.
  • Create your mobile roadmap. Describe the gradual rollout of your mobile technologies through minimal valuable products (MVPs).

Insight Summary

Overarching Info-Tech Insight

Treat your mobile applications as digital products. Digital products are continuously modernized to ensure they are fit-for-purpose, secured, accessible, and immersive. A successful mobile experience involves more than just the software and supporting system. It involves good training and onboarding, efficient delivery turnaround, and a clear and rational vision and strategy.

Phase 1: Set the Mobile Context

  • Build applications your users need and desire – Design the right mobile application that enables your users to address their frustrations and productivity challenges.
  • Maximize return on your technology investments – Build your mobile applications with existing web APIs, infrastructure, and services as much as possible.
  • Prioritize mobile security, performance and integration requirements – Understand the unique security, performance, and integration influences has on your desired mobile user experience. Find the right balance of functional and non-functional requirements through business and IT collaboration.

Phase 2: Define Your Mobile Approach

  • Start with a mobile web platform - Minimize disruptions to your existing delivery process and technical stack by building against common web standards. Select a hybrid platform or cross-platform if you need device hardware access or have complicated non-functional requirements.
  • Focus your mobile solution decision on vendor support and functional complexity – Verify that your solution is not only compatible with the architecture, data, and policies of existing business systems, but satisfies IT's concerns with access to restricted technology and data, and with IT's ability to manage and operate your applications.
  • Anticipate changes, defects & failures in your roadmap - Quickly shift your mobile roadmaps according to user feedback, delivery challenges, value, and stability.

Mobile is how the business works today

Mobile adoption continues to grow in part due to the need to be a mobile workforce, and the shift in customer behaviors. This reality pushed the industry to transform business processes and technologies to better support the mobile way of working.

Mobile Builds Interests
61%
Mobile devices drove 61% of visits to U.S. websites
Source: Perficient, 2021

Mobile Maintains Engagement
54%
Mobile devices generated 54.4% of global website traffic in Q4 2021.
Source: Statista, 2022

Mobile Drives Productivity
82%
According to 82% of IT executives, smartphones are highly important to employee productivity
Source: Samsung and Oxford Economics, 2022

Mobile applications enable and drive your digital business strategy

Organizations know the criticality of mobile applications in meeting key business and digital transformation goals, and they are making significant investments. Over half (58%) of organizations say their main strategy for driving application adoption is enabling mobile access to critical enterprise systems (Enterprise CIO, 2016). The strategic positioning and planning of mobile applications are key for success.

Mobile Can Motivate, Support and Drive Progress in Key Activities Underpinning Digital Transformation Goals

Goal: Enhance Customer Experience

  • A shift from paper to digital communications
  • Seamless, omni-channel client experiences across devices
  • Create Digital interactive documents with sections that customers can customize to better understand their communications

Goal: Increase Workflow Throughput & Efficiency

  • Digitized processes and use of data to improve process efficiency
  • Modern IT platforms
  • Automation through robotic process automation (RPA) where possible
  • Use of AI and machine learning for intelligent automation

Source: Broadridge, 2022

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Define Your Digital Business Strategy blueprint.

Well developed mobile applications bring unique opportunities to drive more value

Role

Opportunities With Mobile Applications

Expected Value

Stationary Worker

Design flowcharts and diagrams, while abandoning paper and desktop applications in favor of easy-to-use, drawing tablet applications.

Multitask by checking the application to verify information given by a vendor during their presentation or pitch.

  • Reduce materials cost to complete administrative responsibilities.
  • Digitally and automatically store and archive frequently used documents.

Roaming Worker
(Engineer)

Replace physical copies of service and repair manuals with digital copies, and access them with mobile applications.

Scan or input product bar code to determine whether a replacement part is available or needs to be ordered.

  • Readily access and update corporate data anywhere at anytime.
  • Expand employee responsibilities with minimal skills impact.

Roaming Worker
(Nurse)

Log patient information according to HIPAA standards and complete diagnostics live to propose medication for a patient.

Receive messages from senior staff about patients and scheduling while on-call.

  • Quickly and accurately complete tasks and update patient data at site.
  • Be readily accessible to address urgent issues.

Info-Tech Insight

If you build it, they may not come. Design and build the applications your user wants and needs, and ensure users are properly onboarded and trained. Learn how your applications are leveraged, capture feedback from the user and system dashboards, and plan for enhancements, fixes, and modernizations.

Workers expect IT to deliver against their high mobile expectations

Workers want sophisticated mobile applications like what they see their peers and competitors use.

Why is IT considering building their own applications?

  • Complex and Unique Workflows: Canned templates and shells are viewed as incompatible to the workflows required to complete worker responsibilities outside the office, with the same level of access to corporate data as on premise.
  • Supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Developing your own mobile applications around your security protocols and standards can help mitigate the risks with personal devices that are already in your workforce.
  • Long-Term Architecture Misalignment: Outsourcing mobile development risks the mobile application misaligned with your quality standards or incompatible with other enterprise and third-party systems.

Continuously meeting aggressive user expectations will not be easy

Value Quickly Wears Off
39.9% of users uninstall an application because it is not in use.
40%
Source: n=2,000, CleverTap, 2021

Low Tolerance to Waiting
Keeping a user waiting for 3 seconds is enough to dissatisfy 43% of users.
43%
Source: AppSamurai, 2018

Quick Fixes Are Paramount
44% of defects are found by users
44%
Source: Perfecto Mobile, 2014

Mobile emphasizes the importance of good security, performance, and integration

Today's mobile workers are looking for new ways to get more work done quickly. They want access to enterprise solutions and data directly on their mobile devices, which can reside on multiple legacy systems and in the cloud and third-party infrastructure. This presents significant performance, integration, and security risks.

Cloud Solutions: Can I use my existing APIs?. Solutions in Corporate Networks: Do my legacy systems have the capacity to support mobile?; How do I integrate solutions and data from multiple sources into a single view?; Third Party Solutions: Will I have a significant performance bottleneck?; Single View on Mobile Devices: How is corporate data stored on the device?; What new technology dependencies must I account for in my architecture and operational support capabilities?

Accept change as the norm

IT is challenged with keeping up with disruptive technologies, such as mobile, which are arriving and changing faster and faster.

What is the issue? Mobile priorities, concepts, and technologies do not remain static. For example, current Google's Pixels benefit from at least three versions of Android updates and at least three years of monthly security patches after their release (NextPit, 2022). Keeping up to date with anything mobile is difficult if you do not have the right delivery and product management practices in place.

What is the impact on IT? Those who fail to prepare for changing requirements and technologies will quickly run into maintainability, extensibility, and flexibility issues. Mobile applications will quickly become stale and misaligned with the maturity of other enterprise infrastructure and applications.

Continuously look at the trends, vendor roadmaps, and your user's feedback to envision where your mobile applications should be. Learning from your past attempts gives you insights on the opportunities and impacts changes will have on your people, process, and technology.

How do I address this issue? A well-defined mobile vision and roadmap ensures your initiatives are aligned with your holistic business and technology strategies, the right problem is being solved, and resources are available to deliver high priority changes.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Deliver on Your Digital Product Vision blueprint.

Address the difficulties in managing enterprise mobile technologies

Adaptability During Development

Teams must be ready to alter their mobile approach when new insights and issues arise during and after the delivery of your mobile application and its updates.

High Cybersecurity Standards

Cybersecurity should be a top priority given the high security exposure of mobiles and the sensitive data mobile applications need to operate. Role-based access, back-up systems, advanced scanning, and protection software and encryption should all be implemented.

Integration with Other Systems

Your application will likely be integrated with other systems to expand service offerings and optimize performance and user experience. Your enterprise integration strategy ensures all systems connect against a common pattern with compatible technologies.

Finding the Right Mobile Developers

Enterprise mobile delivery requires a broad skillset to build valuable applications against extensive non-functional requirements in complex and integration environments. The right resources are even harder to find when native applications are preferred over web-based ones.

Source: Radoslaw Szeja, Netguru, 2022.

Build and manage the right experience by treating mobile as digital products

Digital products are continuously modernized to ensure they are fit-for-purpose, secured, insightful, accessible, and interoperable. A good experience involves more than just technology.

First, deliver the experience end users want and expect by designing the application against digital application principles.

Business Value

Continuous modernization

  • Fit for purpose
  • User-centric
  • Adaptable
  • Accessible
  • Private and secured
  • Informative and insightful
  • Seamless application connection
  • Relationship and network building

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Modernize Your Applications blueprint.

Then, deliver a long-lasting experience by supporting your applications with key governance and management capabilities.

  • Product Strategy and Roadmap
  • External Relationships
  • User Adoption and Organizational Change Management
  • Funding
  • Knowledge Management
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Product Governance
  • Maintenance & Enhancement
  • User Support
  • Managing and Governing Data
  • Requirements Analysis and Design
  • Research & Development

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Make the Case for Product Delivery blueprint.

Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools

Maximize the value of your mobile investments by prioritizing technology decisions on user experience, business priorities, and system quality.

WORKFLOW

1. Capture Your User Personas and Journey workflow: Trigger: Step 1; Step 2; Step 3; Step 4; Outcome
2. Select Your Platform Nine datapoints are arranged on a graph where the x axis s labeled: User Centric Needs; and the Y axis is labeled: Enterprise-centric needs. The datapoints are, in order from left to right, top to bottom: Hybrid; Cross- Platform; Native; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform; Cros-s Platform; Web; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform.
3. Shortlist Your Solutions A quadrant analysis is depicted. the top data is labeled Complex Mobile Features; the right side is labeled Organization-Managed Stack; the bottom is labeled Simple Mobile Features; and the left side is labeled Vendor-Managed Stack. The quadrants are labeled the following, in order from left to right, top to bottom. Vendor- Hosted Mobile Platform; Custom Native Development Solutions; Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Solutions; Custom Web Development Solutions. In the middle of the graph are the following, in order from top to bottom: Cross-Platform Development Solutions; Hybrid Development Solutions

Strategic Perspective
Business and Product Strategies

1. End-User Perspective

End User Needs

  • Productivity
  • Innovation
  • Transformation

Native User Experience

  • Anytime, Anywhere
  • Visually Pleasing & Fulfilling
  • Personalized & Insightful
  • Hands-Off & Automated
  • Integrated Ecosystem

2. Platform Perspective

Technical Requirements

Security

Performance

Integration

Mobile Platform

3. Solution Perspective

Vendor Support

Services

Stack Mgmt.

Quality & Risk

Mobile Delivery Solutions

Make user experience (UX) the standard

User experience (UX) focuses on a user's emotions, beliefs, and physical and psychological responses that occur before, during, or after interacting with a service or product.

For a mobile application to be meaningful, the functions, aesthetics and content must be:

  • Usable
    • Users can intuitively navigate through your mobile application and complete their desired tasks.
  • Desirable
    • The application elements are used to evoke positive emotions and appreciation.
  • Accessible
    • Users can easily use your mobile application, including those with disabilities.
  • Valuable
    • Users find the content useful, and it fulfills a need.

Enable a greater experience with UX-driven thinking

Designing for a high-quality experience requires more than just focusing on the UI. It also requires the merging of multiple business, technical, and social disciplines in order to create an immersive, practical, and receptive application. The image on the right explains the disciplines involved in UX. This is critical for ensuring users have a strong desire to use the mobile application, it is adequately supported technically, and it supports business objectives.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Implement and Mature Your User Experience Design Practice blueprint.

A Venn diagram is depicted, demonstrating the inputs that lead to an interactive design, with interactive elements, usability, and accessibility. This work by Mark Roden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Source: Marky Roden, Xomino, 2018

Define the mobile experience your end users want

  • Anytime, Anywhere
    • The user can access, update and analyze data and corporate products and services whenever they want, in all networks, and on any device.
  • Hands-Off and Automated
    • The application can perform various workflows and tasks without the user's involvement and notify the user when specific triggers are hit.
  • Personalized and Insightful
    • Content presentation and subject are tailored for the user based on specific inputs from the user, device hardware, or predicted actions.
  • Integrated Ecosystem
    • The application supports a seamless experience across various third-party and enterprise applications and services the user needs.
  • Visually Pleasing and Fulfilling
    • The UI is intuitive and aesthetically gratifying, with little security and performance trade-offs to use the full breadth of its functions and services.

Each mobile platform has its own take on the mobile native experience. The choice ultimately depends on whether the costs and effort are worth the anticipated value.

Mobile value is dependent on the platform you choose

What is a platform?

"A platform is a set of software and a surrounding ecosystem of resources that helps you to grow your business. A platform enables growth through connection: its value comes not only from its own features, but from its ability to connect external tools, teams, data, and processes." (Source: Emilie Nøss Wangen, 2021) In the mobile context, applications in a platform execute and communicate through a loosely-coupled API architecture, whether the supporting system is managed and supported by your organization or by third-party providers.

Web

Mobile web applications are deployed and executed within the mobile web browser. They are often developed with a combination of web and scripting languages, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Web often takes two forms on mobile:

  • Progressive Web Applications (PWA)
  • Mobile Web Sites

Hybrid

Hybrid applications are developed with web technologies but are deployed as native applications. The code is wrapped using a framework so that it runs locally within a native container. It uses the device's browser runtime engine to support more sophisticated designs and features than to the web approach.

Cross-Platform

Cross-platform applications are developed within a distinct programming or scripting environment that uses its own scripting language (often like web languages) and APIs. The solution compiles the code into device-specific builds for native deployment.

Native

Native applications are developed and deployed to specific devices and OSs using platform-specific software development kits (SDKs) provided by the operating system vendors. The programming language and framework are dictated by the targeted device, such as Java for Android.

Start mobile development on a mobile web platform

Start with what you have: begin with a mobile web platform to minimize impacts to your existing delivery skill sets and technical stack while addressing business needs. Resort to a hybrid first. Then consider a cross-platform application if you require device access or need to meet specific non-functional requirements.

Why choose a mobile web platform?

Pros

The latest versions of the most popular web languages (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript) abstract away from the granular, physical components of the application, simplifying the development process. HTML5 offer some mobile features (e.g. geolocation, accelerometer) that can meet your desired experience without the need for native development skills. Native look-and-feel, high performance, and full device access are just a few tradeoffs of going with web languages.

Cons

Native mobile platforms depend on device-specific code which follows specific frameworks and leverages unique programming libraries, such as Objective C for iOS and Java for Android. Each language requires a high level of expertise in the coding structure and hardware of specific devices. This requires resources with specific skillsets and different tools to support development and testing.

Other Notable Benefits with Web Languages

  • Modern browsers in most mobile devices can execute and render many mobile features developed in web languages, allowing for greater portability and sophistication of code across multiple devices. However, this flexibility comes at the cost of performance since the browser's runtime engine will not perform as well as a native engine.
  • Web languages are well known by developers, minimizing skills and resourcing impacts. Consequently, changes can be quickly accommodated and updated uniformly across all end users.

Select your mobile platform

Drive your mobile platform selection against user-centric needs (e.g. device access, aesthetics) and enterprise-centric needs (e.g. security, system performance).

When does a platform makes sense to use?

Web

  • Desire to maximize current web technologies investments (people, process, and technologies).
  • Use cases do not require significant computational resources on the device or are tightly constrained by non-functional requirements.
  • Limited budget to acquire mobile development resources.
  • Access to device hardware is not a high priority.

Hybrid / Cross-Platform

  • The need to quickly spin up native-like applications for multiple platforms and devices.
  • Desire to leverage existing web development skills, but also a need for device access and meeting specific non-functional requirements.
  • Vendor support is needed for the entire mobile delivery process.

Native

  • Developers are experts in the target programming language and with the device's hardware.
  • Strong need for high performance, security, and device-specific access and customizations.
  • Application use cases require significant computing resources.

Nine datapoints are arranged on a graph where the x axis s labeled: User Centric Needs; and the Y axis is labeled: Enterprise-centric needs. The datapoints are, in order from left to right, top to bottom: Hybrid; Cross- Platform; Native; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform; Cros-s Platform; Web; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform.

Understand the common attributes of a mobile delivery solution

  • Source Code Management – Built-in or having the ability to integrate with code management solutions for branching, merging, and versioning. Debugging and coding assistance capabilities may be available.
  • Single Code Base – Capable of programming in a standard coding and scripting language for deployment into several platforms and devices. This code base is aligned to a common industry framework (e.g. AngularJS, Java) or a vendor-defined one.
  • Out-of-the-Box Connectors & Plug-ins – Pre-built APIs enhance the solution's capabilities with third-party tools and systems to deliver and manage high quality and valuable mobile applications.
  • Emulators – Ability to virtualize an application's execution on a target platform and device.
  • Support for Native Features – Supports plug-ins and APIs for access to device-specific features.

What are mobile delivery solutions?

A mobile delivery solution provides the tools, resources, and support to enable or build your mobile application. It can provide pre-built applications, vendor supported components to allow some configurations, or resources for full stack customizations. Solutions can be barebone software development kits (SDKs), or comprehensive suites offering features to support the entire software delivery lifecycle, such as:

  • Mobile application management
  • Testing and publishing to app stores
  • Content management
  • Cloud hosting
  • Application performance management

Info-Tech Insight

Mobile enablement and development capabilities are already embedded in many common productivity tools and enterprise applications, such as Microsoft PowerApps and ERP modules. They can serve as a starting point in the initial rollout of new management and governance practices without the need to acquire new tools.

Select your mobile delivery solutions

  1. Set the scope of your framework.
    • The initial context of this framework is based on the mobile functions needed to support your desired mobile experience and on the current state of your enterprise and 3rd party systems.
  2. Define the decision factors for your solution selection.
    • Review the decision factors that will influence the selection of your mobile delivery solution for each mobile opportunity:
    • Stack Management – Who will be hosting and supporting your mobile application stack?
    • Workflows Complexity & Native Experience – How complex is your desired mobile experience and how will native device features be leveraged?
  3. Select your solution type.
    • Mobile delivery solutions are broadly defined in the following groups:
    • Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) – Pre-built mobile applications requiring little to no configurations or implementation effort.
    • Vendor Hosted Mobile Platform – Back-end and mid-tier infrastructure and operational support are managed by a vendor.
    • Cross-Platform Development – Frameworks that transform a single code base into platform-specific builds.
    • Hybrid Development – Tools that wrap a single code base into a locally deployable build.
    • Custom Web Development – Environment enabling full stack development for mobile web applications.
    • Custom Native Development – Environment enabling full stack development for mobile native applications.
A quadrant analysis is depicted. the top data is labeled Complex Mobile Features; the right side is labeled Organization-Managed Stack; the bottom is labeled Simple Mobile Features; and the left side is labeled Vendor-Managed Stack. The quadrants are labeled the following, in order from left to right, top to bottom. Vendor- Hosted Mobile Platform; Custom Native Development Solutions; Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Solutions; Custom Web Development Solutions. In the middle of the graph are the following, in order from top to bottom: Cross-Platform Development Solutions; Hybrid Development Solutions

Optimize your software delivery process

Mobile brings new delivery and management challenges that are often difficult for organizations that are tied to legacy systems, hindered by rigid and slow delivery lifecycles, and are unable to adopt leading-edge technologies. Many of these challenges stem from the fact that mobile is a significant shift from desktop development:

  • Mobile devices and operating systems are heavily fragmented, especially in the Android space.
  • Test coverage is significantly expanded to include physical environments and multiple network connections.
  • Mobile devices do not have the same performance capabilities and memory storage as their desktop counterparts.
  • The user interface must be strategically designed to accommodate the limited screen size.
  • Mobile applications are highly susceptible to security breaches.
  • Mobile users often expect quick turnaround time on fixes and enhancements due to continuously changing technology, business priorities, and user needs.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Modernize Your SDLC blueprint.

How should the process change?

  • Cross-functional collaboration – Bringing business and IT together at the most opportune times to clarify user needs and business priorities, and set realistic expectations given technology and capacity constraints. The appropriate tactics and techniques are used to improve decision making and delivery effectiveness according to the type of work.
  • Iterative delivery – Frequent delivery of progressive changes minimizes the risk of low-quality features by containing and simplifying scope, and enables responsive turnarounds of fixes, enhancements, and priority changes.
  • Feedback loops –Mobile application owners constantly review, update and refine their backlog of mobile features and changes to reflect user feedback and system performance metrics. Delivery teams proactively prepare the application for future scaling based on lessons and feedback learned from earlier releases.

Achieve mobile success with MVPs

By delivering mobile capabilities in small iterations, teams recognize value sooner and reduce accumulated risk. Both benefits are realized as the iteration enters validation testing and release.

This image depicts a graph of the learn-build-measure cycle over time, adapted from Managing the Development of Large Software Systems, Dr. Winston W. Royce, 1970

An MVP focuses on a small set of functions, involves minimal possible effort to deliver a working and valuable solution, and is designed to satisfy a specific user group. Its purpose is to:

  • Maximize learning.
  • Evaluate the value and acceptance of mobile applications.
  • Inform the building of a mobile delivery practice.

The build-measure-learn loop suggests mobile delivery teams should perpetually take an idea and develop, test, and validate it with the mobile development solution, then expand on the MVP using the lessons learned and evolving ideas. In this sense the MVP is just the first iteration in the loop.

Gauge the value with the right metrics

Metrics are a powerful way to drive behavior change in your organization. But metrics are highly prone to creating unexpected outcomes so they must be used with great care. Use metrics judiciously to avoid gaming or ambivalent behavior, productivity loss, and unintended consequences.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Select and Use SDLC Metrics Effectively blueprint.

What should I measure?

  1. Mobile Application Engagement, Retention and User Satisfaction
    1. The activeness of users on the applications, the number of returning users, and the happiness of the users.
    2. Example: Number of tasks completed, number of active and returning users, session length and intervals, user satisfaction
  2. Value Driven from Mobile Applications
    1. The business value that the user directly or indirectly receives with the mobile application.
    2. Example: Mobile application revenue, business operational costs, worker productivity, business reputation and image
  3. Delivery Throughput and Quality
    1. The health and quality of your mobile applications throughout their lifespan and the speed to deliver working applications that meet stakeholder expectations.
    2. Example: Frequency of release, lead time, request turnaround, escaped defects, test coverage.

Use Info-Tech's diagnostic to evaluate the reception of your mobile applications

Info-Tech's Application Portfolio Assessment (APA) Diagnostic is a canned end-user satisfaction survey used to evaluate your application portfolio health to support data-driven decisions.

This image contains a screenshot from Info-Tech's Application Portfolio Assessment (APA) Diagnostic

USE THE PROGRAM DIAGNOSTIC TO:

  • Assess the importance and satisfaction of enterprise applications.
  • Solicit feedback from your end users on applications being used.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current applications.
  • Perform a high-level application rationalization initiative.

INTEGRATE DIAGNOSTIC RESULTS TO:

  • Target which applications to analyze in greater detail.
  • Expand on the initial application rationalization results with a more comprehensive and business-value-focused criteria.

Grow your mobile delivery practice

Level 1: Mobile Delivery Foundations

You understand the opportunities and impacts mobile has on your business operations and its disruptive nature on your enterprise systems. Your software delivery lifecycle was optimized to incorporate the specific practices and requirements needed for mobile. A mobile platform was selected based on stakeholder needs that are weighed against current skillsets, high priority non-functional requirements, the available capacity and scalability of your stack, and alignment to your current delivery process.

Level 2: Scaled Mobile Delivery

New features and mobile use cases are regularly emerging in the industry. Ensuring your mobile platform and delivery process can easily scale to incorporate constantly changing mobile features and technologies is key. This can help minimize the impact these changes will have on your mobile stack and the resulting experience.

Achieving this state requires three competencies: mobile security, performance optimization, and integration practices.

Level 3: Leading-Edge Mobile Delivery

Many of today's mobile trends involve, in one form or another, hardware components on the mobile device (e.g., NFC receivers, GPS, cameras). You understand the scope of native features available on your end user's mobile device and the required steps and capabilities to enable and leverage them.

Hit a home run with your stakeholders

Use a data-driven approach to select the right tooling vendor for your needs – fast.

Awareness Education & Discovery Evaluation Selection

Negotiation & Configuration

1.1 Proactively Lead Technology Optimization & Prioritization 2.1 Understand Marketplace Capabilities & Trends 3.1 Gather & Prioritize Requirements & Establish Key Success Metrics 4.1 Create a Weighted Selection Decision Model 5.1 Initiate Price Negotiation with Top Two Venders
1.2 Scope & Define the Selection Process for Each Selection Request Action 2.2 Discover Alternate Solutions & Conduct Market Education 3.2 Conduct a Data Driven Comparison of Vendor Features & Capabilities 4.2 Conduct Investigative Interviews Focused on Mission Critical Priorities with Top 2-4 Vendors 5.2 Negotiate Contract Terms & Product Configuration

1.3 Conduct an Accelerated Business Needs Assessment

2.3 Evaluate Enterprise Architecture & Application Portfolio Narrow the Field to Four Top Contenders 4.3 Validate Key Issues with Deep Technical Assessments, Trial Configuration & Reference Checks 5.3 Finalize Budget Approval & Project
1.4 Align Stakeholder Calendars to Reduce Elapsed Time & Asynchronous Evaluation 2.4 Validate the Business Case 5.4 Invest in Training & Onboarding Assistance

Investing time improving your software selection methodology has big returns.

Info-Tech Insight

Not all software selection projects are created equal – some are very small, some span the entire enterprise. To ensure that IT is using the right framework, understand the cost and complexity profile of the application you're looking to select. Info-Tech's Rapid Application Selection Framework approach is best for commodity and mid-tier enterprise applications; selecting complex applications is better handled by the methodology in Info-Tech's Implement a Proactive and Consistent Vendor Selection Process.

Pitch your mobile delivery approach with Info-Tech's template

Communicate the justification of your approach to mobile applications with Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template:

  • Level set your mobile application goals and objectives by weighing end user expectations with technical requirements.
  • Define the high priority opportunities for mobile applications.
  • Educate decision makers of the limitations and challenges of delivering specific mobile experiences with the various mobile platform options.
  • Describe your framework to select the right mobile platform and delivery tools.
  • Lay out your mobile delivery roadmap and initiatives.

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

This is a screenshot from Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template

Info-Tech's methodology for mobile platform and delivery solution selection

1. Set the Mobile Context

2. Define Your Mobile Approach

Phase Steps

Step 1.1 Build Your Mobile Backlog

Step 1.2 Identify Your Technical Needs

Step 1.3 Define Your Non-Functional Requirements

Step 2.1 Choose Your Platform Approach

Step 2.2 Shortlist Your Mobile Delivery Solution

Step 2.3 Create a Roadmap for Mobile Delivery

Phase Outcomes

  • User personas
  • Mobile objectives and metrics
  • Mobile opportunity backlog
  • List of mobile features to enable the desired mobile experience
  • System current assessment
  • Mobile application quality definition
  • Readiness for mobile delivery
  • Desired mobile platform approach
  • Shortlisted mobile delivery solutions
  • Desired list of vendor features and services
  • MVP design
  • Mobile delivery roadmap

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful."

Guided Implementation

"Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track."

Workshop

"We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place."

Consulting

"Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1 Phase 2

Call #1: Understand the case and motivators for mobile applications.

Call #2: Discuss the end user and desired mobile experience.

Call #5: Discuss the desired mobile platform.

Call #8: Discuss your mobile MVP.

Call #3: Review technical complexities and non-functional requirements.

Call #6: Shortlist mobile delivery solutions and desired features.

Call #9: Review your mobile delivery roadmap.

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI is 6 to 9 calls over the course of 2 to 3 months.

Workshop Overview

Contact your account representative for more information.
workshops@infotech.com 1-888-670-8889

Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Post-Workshop
Activities Set the Mobile Context Identify Your Technical Needs Choose Your Platform & Delivery Solution Create Your Roadmap Next Steps andWrap-Up (offsite)

1.1 Generate user personas with empathy maps

1.2 Build your mobile application canvas

1.3 Build your mobile backlog

2.1 Discuss your mobile needs

2.2 Conduct a technical assessment

2.3 Define mobile application quality

2.4 Verify your decision to deliver mobile applications

3.1 Select your platform approach

3.2 Shortlist your mobile delivery solution

3.3 Build your feature and service lists

4.1 Define your MVP release

4.2 Build your roadmap

5.1 Complete in-progress deliverables from previous four days.

5.2 Set up review time for workshop deliverables and to discuss next steps.

Deliverables

  • User personas
  • Mobile objectives and metrics
  • Mobile opportunity backlog
  • List of mobile features to enable the desired mobile experience
  • System current assessment
  • Mobile application quality definition
  • Verification to proceed with mobile delivery
  • Desired mobile platform approach
  • Shortlisted mobile delivery solutions
  • Desired list of vendor features and services
  • MVP design
  • Mobile delivery roadmap
  • Completed workshop output deliverable
  • Next steps

Phase 1

Set the Mobile Context

Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools

This phase will walk you through the following steps:

  • Step 1.1 – Build Your Mobile Backlog
  • Step 1.2 – Identify Your Technical Needs
  • Step 1.3 – Define Your Non-Functional Requirements

This phase involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Step 1.1

Build Your Mobile Backlog

Activities

1.1.1 Generate user personas with empathy maps

1.1.2 Build your mobile application canvas

1.1.3 Build your mobile backlog

Set the Mobile Context

This step involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • User personas
  • Mobile objectives and metrics
  • Mobile opportunity backlog

Users expect your organization to support their mobile way of working

Today, users expect sophisticated and personalized features, immersive interactions, and cross-platform capabilities from their mobile applications and be able to access information and services anytime, anywhere and on any device. These demands are pushing organizations to become more user-driven, placing greater importance on user experience (UX) with enterprise-grade technologies.

How has technologies evolved to easily enable mobile capabilities?

  • Desktop-Like Features
    • Native-like features, such as geolocation and local caching, are supported through web language or third-party plugins and extensions.
  • Extendable & Scalable
    • Plug-and-play architecture is designed to allow software delivery teams to explore new use cases and mobile capabilities with out-of-the-box connectors and/or customizable REST APIs.
  • Low Barrier to Entry
    • Low- and no-code development tools, full-stack solutions, and plug-and-play architectures allow non-technical users to easily build and implement applications without direct IT involvement.
  • Templates & Shells
    • Vendors provide UI templates and application shells that contain pre-built native features and multiple aesthetic layouts in a publishing-friendly and configurable way.
  • Personalized Content
    • Content can be uniquely tailored to a user's preference or be automatically generated based on the user's profile or activity history.
  • Hands-Off Operations
    • Many mobile solutions operate in a as-a-service model where the underlying and integrated technologies are managed by the vendor and abstracted away.

Make user experience (UX) the standard

User experience (UX) focuses on a user's emotions, beliefs, and physical and psychological responses that occur before, during, or after interacting with a service or product.

For a mobile application to be a meaningful experience, the functions, aesthetics and content must be:

  • Usable
    • Users can intuitively navigate through your mobile application and complete their desired tasks.
  • Desirable
    • The application elements are used to evoke positive emotions and appreciation.
  • Accessible
    • Users can easily use your mobile application, including those with disabilities.
  • Valuable
    • Users find the content useful, and it fulfills a need.

Enable a greater experience with UX-driven thinking

Designing for a high-quality experience requires more than just focusing on the UI. It also requires the merging of multiple business, technical, and social disciplines in order to create an immersive, practical, and receptive application. The image on the right explains the disciplines involved in UX. This is critical for ensuring users have a strong desire to use the mobile application, it is adequately supported technically, and it supports business objectives.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Implement and Mature Your User Experience Design Practice blueprint.

A Venn diagram is depicted, demonstrating the inputs that lead to an interactive design, with interactive elements, usability, and accessibility. This work by Mark Roden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Source: Marky Roden, Xomino, 2018

UX-driven mobile apps bring together a compelling UI with valuable functionality

Info-Tech Insight

Organizations often over-rotate on the UI. Receptive and satisfying applications require more than just pretty pictures, bold colors, and flashy animations. UX-driven mobile applications require the seamless merging of enticing design elements and valuable functions that are specifically tailored to the behaviors of the users. Take a deep look at how each design element and function is used and perceived by the user, and how your application can sufficiently support user needs.

UI-Function Balance to Achieve Highly Satisfying Mobile Applications

An application's UI and function both contribute to UX, but they do so in different ways.

  • The UI generates the visual, audio, and vocal cues to draw the attention of users to key areas of the application while stimulating the user's emotions.
  • Functions give users the means to satisfy their needs effortlessly.

Finding the right balance of UI and function is dependent on the organization's understanding of user emotions, needs, and tendencies. However, these factors are often left out of an application's design. Having the right UX competencies is key in assuring user behaviors are appropriately accommodated early in the delivery process.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Modernize Your Corporate Website to Drive Business Value blueprint.

Focus your efforts on all items that drive high user experience and satisfaction

UX-driven mobile applications involve all interaction points and system components working together to create an immersive experience while being actively supported by delivery and operations teams. Many organizations commonly focus on visual and content design to improve the experience, but this is only a small fraction of the total UX design. Look beyond the surface to effectively enhance your application's overall UX.

Typical Focus of Mobile UX

Aesthetics
What Are the Colors & Fonts?

Relevance & Modern
Will Users Receive Up to Date Content and Trending Features?

UI Design
Where Are the Interaction Points?

Content Layout
How Is Content Organized?

Critical Areas of Mobile UX That Are Often Ignored

Web Infrastructure
How Will Your Application Be Operationally Supported?

Human Behavior
What Do the Users Feel About Your Application?

Coding Language
What Is the Best Language to Use?

Cross-Platform Compatibility
How Does It Work in a Browser Versus Each Mobile Platform?

Application Quality
How are Functional and Non-Functional Needs Balanced?

Adoption & Retention
How Do I Promote Adoption and Maintain User Engagement?

Application Support
How Will My Requests and Issues Be Handled?

Use personas to envision who will be using your mobile application

What Are Personas?

Personas are detailed descriptions of the targeted audience of your mobile application. It represents a type of user in a particular scenario. Effective personas:

  • Express and focus on the major needs and expectations of the most important user groups.
  • Give a clear picture of the typical user's behavior.
  • Aid in uncovering critical features and functionalities.
  • Describe real people with backgrounds, goals, and values.

Why Are Personas Important to UX?

They are important because they help:

  • Focus the development of mobile application features on the immediate needs of the intended audience.
  • Detail the level of customization needed to ensure content is valuable to and resonates with the user.
  • Describe how users may behave when certain audio and visual stimulus are triggered from the mobile application.
  • Outline the special design considerations required to meet user accessibility needs.

Key Elements of a Persona:

  • Professional and Technical Skills and Experiences (e.g., knowledge of mobile applications, area of expertise)
  • Persona Group (e.g., executives)
  • Technological Environment of User (e.g., devices, browsers, network connection)
  • Demographics (e.g., nationality, age, language spoken)
  • Typical Behaviors and Tendencies (e.g., goes to different website when cannot find information in 20 seconds)
  • Purpose of Using the Mobile Application (e.g., search for information, submit registration form)

Create empathy maps to gain a deeper understanding of stakeholder personas

Empathy mapping draws out the characteristics, motivations, and mannerisms of a potential end user.

This image contains an image of an empathy map from XPLANE, 2017. it includes the following list: 1. Who are we empathizing with; 2. What do they need to DO; 3. What do they SEE; 4. What do they SAY?; 5. What do they DO; 6. What do they HEAR; 7. What do they THINK and FEEL.

Source: XPLANE, 2017

Empathy mapping focuses on identifying the problems, ambitions, and frustrations they are looking to resolve and describes their motivations for wanting to resolve them. This analysis helps your teams:

  • Better understand the reason behind the struggles, frustrations and motivators through a user's perspective.
  • Verify the accuracy of assertions made about the user.
  • Pinpoint the specific problem the mobile application will be designed to solve and the constraints to its successful adoption and on-going use.
  • Read more about empathy mapping and download the empathy map PDF template here.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Use Experience Design to Drive Empathy with the Business blueprint.

1.1.1 Generate user personas with empathy maps

1-3 hours

  1. Download the Empathy Map Canvas and draw the map on a whiteboard or project it on the screen.
  2. Choose an end user to be the focus of your empathy map. Using sticky notes, fill out the sections of the empathy map in the following order:
    1. Start by filling out the goals section. State who the subject of the empathy map will be and what activity or task you would like them to do.
      1. Focus on activities and tasks that may benefit from mobile.
    2. Next, complete the outer sections in clockwise order (see, say, do, hear). The purpose of this is to think in terms of what the subject of your empathy map is observing, sensing, and experiencing.
      1. Indicate the mobile devices and OS users will likely use and the environments they will likely be in (e.g., places with poor connections)
      2. Discuss accessibility needs and how user prefer to consume content.
    3. Last, complete the inner circle of the empathy map (pains and gains). Since you spent the last step of the exercise thinking about the external influences on your stakeholder, you can think about how those stimuli affect their emotions.
  3. Document your end user persona into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Input

Output
  • List of potential mobile application users
  • User personas
Materials Participants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

1.1.1 cont'd

This image contains an image of an empathy map from XPLANE, 2017. it includes the following list: 1. Who are we empathizing with; 2. What do they need to DO; 3. What do they SEE; 4. What do they SAY?; 5. What do they DO; 6. What do they HEAR; 7. What do they THINK and FEEL.

Download the Empathy Map Canvas

Many business priorities are driving mobile

Mobile Applications

  • Product Roadmap
    • Upcoming enterprise technology releases and updates offer mobile capabilities to expand its access to a broader userbase.
  • Cost Optimization
    • Maximizing business value in processes and technologies through disciplined and strategic cost and spending reduction practices with mobile applications.
  • Competitive Differentiation
    • Developing and optimizing your organization's distinct products and services quickly with mobile applications.
  • Digital Transformation
    • Transitioning processes, data and systems to a digital environment to broaden access to enterprise data and services anywhere at anytime.
  • Operational Efficiency
    • Improving software delivery and business process throughput by increasing worker productivity with mobile applications.
  • Other Business Priorities
    • New corporate products and services, business model changes, application rationalization and other priorities may require modernization, innovation and a mobile way of working.

Focus on the mobile business and end user problem, not the solution

People are naturally solution-focused. The onus isn't on them to express their needs in the form of a problem statement!

When refining your mobile problem statement, attempt to answer the following four questions:

  • Who is impacted?
  • What is the (user or organizational) challenge that needs to be addressed?
  • Where does it happen?
  • Why does it matter?

There are many ways of writing problem statements, a clear approach follows the format:

  • "Our (who) has the problem that (what) when (where). Our solution should (why)."
  • Example: "Our system analysts has the problem that new tickets take too long to update when working on user requests. Our approach should enable the analyst to focus on working with customers and not on administration."

Adapted from: "Design Problem Statements – What and How to Frame Them"

How to write a vision statement

It's ok to dream a little!

When thinking about a vision statement, think about:

  • Who is it for?
  • What does the customer need?
  • What can we do for them?
  • And why is this special?

There are different statement templates available to help form your vision statements. Some include:

  1. For [our target customer], who [customer's need], the [product] is a [product category or description] that [unique benefits and selling points]. Unlike [competitors or current methods], our product [main differentiators]. (Crossing the Chasm)
  2. "We believe (in) a [noun: world, time, state, etc.] where [persona] can [verb: do, make, offer, etc.], for/by/with [benefit/goal].
  3. To [verb: empower, unlock, enable, create, etc.] [persona] to [benefit, goal, future state].
  4. Our vision is to [verb: build, design, provide], the [goal, future state], to [verb: help, enable, make it easier to...] [persona]."

(Numbers 2-4 from: How to define a product vision)

Info-Tech Best Practice

A vision shouldn't be so far out that it doesn't feel real and so short term that it gets bogged down in minutiae and implementation details. Finding that right balance will take some trial and error and will be different depending on your organization.

Ensure mobile supports ongoing value delivery and stakeholder expectations

Success hinges on your team's ability to deliver business value. Well-developed mobile applications instill stakeholder confidence in ongoing business value delivery and stakeholder buy-in, provided proper expectations are set and met.

Business value defines the success criteria of an organization, and it is interpreted from four perspectives:

  • Profit Generation – The revenue generated from a business capability with mobile applications.
  • Cost Reduction – The cost reduction when performing business capabilities with mobile applications.
  • Service Enablement – The productivity and efficiency gains of internal business operations with mobile applications.
  • Customer and Market Reach – Metrics measuring the improved reach and insights of the business in existing or new markets.

See our Build a Value Measurement Framework blueprint for more information about business value definition.

This image contains a quadrant analysis with the following labels: Left - Improved Capabilities; Top - Outward; Right - Financial Benefit; Bottom - Inward. the quadrants are labeled the following, in order from left to right, top to bottom. Customer and Market Reach; Profit Generation; Service Enhancement; Cost Reduction

Set realistic mobile goals

Mobile applications enables the exploration of new and different ways to improve worker productivity and deliver business value. However, the realities of mobile applications may limit your ability to meet some of your objectives:

  • On the day of installation, the average retention rate for public-facing applications was 25.3%. By day 30, the retention rate drops to 5.7%. (Source: Statista, 2020)
  • 63% of 3,335 most popular Android mobile applications on the Google Play Store contained open-source components with known security vulnerabilities and other pervasive security concerns including exposing sensitive data (Source: Synopsys, 2021)
  • 62% of users would delete the application because of performance issues, such as crashes, freezes and other errors (Source: Intersog, 2021).

These realities are not guaranteed to occur or impede your ability to deliver valuable mobile applications, but they can lead to unachievable expectations. Ensure your stakeholders are not oversold on advertised benefits and hold you accountable for unrealistic objectives. Recognize that the organization must also change how it works and operates to see the full benefit and adoption of mobile applications and overcome the known and unknown challenges and hurdles that often come with mobile delivery.

Benchmarks present enticing opportunities, but should be used to set reasonable expectations

66%
Improve Market Reach
66% of the global population uses a mobile device
Source: DataReportal, 2021

20%
Connected Workers are More Productive
Nearly 20 percent of mobile professionals estimate they miss more than three hours of working time a week not being able to get connected to the internet
Source: iPass, 2017

80%
Increase Brand Recognition
80% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites of apps help them easily find answers to their questions
Source: Google, 2018

Gauge the value with the right metrics

Metrics are a powerful way to drive behavior change in your organization. But metrics are highly prone to creating unexpected outcomes so they must be used with great care. Use metrics judiciously to avoid gaming or ambivalent behavior, productivity loss, and unintended consequences.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Select and Use SDLC Metrics Effectively blueprint.

What should I measure?

  1. Mobile Application Engagement, Retention and User Satisfaction
    • The activeness of users on the applications, the number of returning users, and the happiness of the users.
    • Example: Number of tasks completed, number of active and returning users, session length and intervals, user satisfaction
  2. Value Driven from Mobile Applications
    • The business value that the user directly or indirectly receives with the mobile application.
    • Example: Mobile application revenue, business operational costs, worker productivity, business reputation and image
  3. Delivery Throughput and Quality
    • The health and quality of your mobile applications throughout their lifespan and the speed to deliver working applications that meet stakeholder expectations.
    • Example: Frequency of release, lead time, request turnaround, escaped defects, test coverage.

Use Info-Tech's diagnostic to evaluate the reception of your mobile applications

Info-Tech's Application Portfolio Assessment (APA) Diagnostic is a canned end user satisfaction survey used to evaluate your application portfolio health to support data-driven decisions.

This image contains a screenshot from Info-Tech's Application Portfolio Assessment (APA) Diagnostic

USE THE PROGRAM DIAGNOSTIC TO:

  • Assess the importance and satisfaction of enterprise applications.
  • Solicit feedback from your end users on applications being used.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current applications.
  • Perform a high-level application rationalization initiative.

INTEGRATE DIAGNOSTIC RESULTS TO:

  • Target which applications to analyze in greater detail.
  • Expand on the initial application rationalization results with a more comprehensive and business-value-focused criteria.

Use a canvas to define key elements of your mobile initiative

Mobile Application Initiative Name

Owner:
Parent Initiative:
Updated:

NAME
LINK
October 05, 2022

Problem Statement

Vision

The problem or need mobile applications are addressing

Vision, unique value proposition, elevator pitch, or positioning statement

Business Goals & Metrics

Capabilities, Processes & Application Systems

List of business objectives or goals for the mobile application initiative.

List of business capabilities, processes and application systems related to this initiative.

Personas/Customers/Users

Stakeholders

List of groups who consume the mobile application

List of key resources, stakeholders, and teams needed to support the process, systems and services

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Deliver on Your Digital Product Vision blueprint.

1.1.2 Build your mobile application canvas

1-3 hours

  1. Complete the following fields to build your mobile application canvas:
    • Mobile application initiative name
    • Mobile application owner
    • Parent initiative name
    • Problem that mobile applications are intending to solve and your vision. See the outcome from the previous exercise.
    • Mobile application business goals and metrics.
    • Capabilities, processes and application systems involved
    • Primary customers/users (For additional help with your product personas, download and complete to Deliver on Your Digital Product Vision.)
  2. Stakeholders
  3. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Download the Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template

Input

Output
  • User personas
  • Business strategy
  • Problem and vision statements
  • Mobile objectives and metrics
  • Mobile application canvas
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

1.1.2 cont'd

Mobile Application Initiative Name

Owner:
Parent Initiative:
Updated:

NAME
LINK
October 05, 2022

Problem Statement

Vision

[Problem Statement]

[Vision]

Business Goals & Metrics

Capabilities, Processes & Application Systems

[Business Goal 1, Metric]
[Business Goal 2, Metric]
[Business Goal 3, Metric]

[Business Capability]
[Business Process]
[Application System]

Personas/Customers/Users

Stakeholders

[User 1]
[User 2]
[User 3]

[Stakeholder 1]
[Stakeholder 2]
[Stakeholder 3]

Create your mobile backlog

Your backlog gives you a holistic understanding of the demand for mobile applications across your organization.

Opportunities
Trends
MVP

External Sources

Internal Sources

  • Market Trends Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Regulations & Industry Standards
  • Customer & Reputation Analysis
  • Application Rationalization
  • Capability & Value Stream Analysis
  • Business Requests & Incidents
  • Discovery & Mining Capabilities

A mobile application minimum viable product (MVP) focuses on a small set of functions, involves minimal possible effort to deliver a working and valuable solution, and is designed to satisfy a specific user group. Its purpose is to maximize learning, evaluate value and acceptance, and inform the development of a full-fledged mobile delivery practice.

Find your mobile opportunities

Modern mobile technologies enable users to access, analyze and change data anywhere with native device features, which opens the door to enhanced processes and new value sources.

Examples of Mobile Opportunities:

  • Mobile Payment
    • Cost alternative to credit card transaction fees.
    • Loyalty systems are updated upon payment without need of a physical card.
    • Quicker completion of transactions.
  • Inventory Management
    • Update inventory database when shipments arrive or deliveries are made.
    • Inform retailers and consumers of current stock on website.
    • Alert staff of expired or outdated products.
  • Quick and Small Data Transfer
    • Embed tags into posters to transfer URIs, which sends users to sites containing product or location information.
    • Replace entry tags, fobs, or smart cards at doors.
    • Exchange contact details.
  • Location Sensitive Information
    • Proactively send promotions and other information (e.g. coupons, event details) to users within a defined area.
    • Inform employees of nearby prospective clients.
  • Supply Chain Management
    • Track the movement and location of goods and delivery trucks.
    • Direct drivers to the most optimal route.
    • Location-sensitive billing apps such as train and bus ticket purchases.
  • Education and Learning
    • Educate users about real-world objects and places with augmented books and by pushing relevant learning materials.
    • Visualize theories and other text with dynamic 3D objects.
  • Augmented Reality (AR)
    • Provide information about the user's surroundings and the objects in the environment through the mobile device.
    • Interactive and immersive experiences with the inclusion of virtual reality.
  • Architecture and Planning
    • Visualize historic buildings or the layout of structural projects and development plans.
    • Develop a digital tour with location-based audio initiated with location-based services or a camera.
  • Navigation
    • Provide directions to users to navigate and provide contextual travelling instructions.
    • Push traffic notifications and route changes to travelling users.
  • Tracking User Movement
    • Predict the future location of users based on historic information and traffic modelling.
    • Proactively push information to users before they reach their destination.

1.1.3 Build your mobile backlog

1-3 hours

  1. As a group, discuss the use and value mobile already has within your organization for each persona.
    1. What are some of the apps being used?
    2. What enterprise systems and applications are already exposed to the web and accessible by mobile devices?
    3. How critical is mobile to business operations, marketing campaigns, etc.?
  2. Discuss how mobile can bring additional business value to other areas of your organization for each persona.
    1. Can mobile enhance your customer reach? Do your customers care that your services are offered through mobile?
    2. Are employees asking for better access to enterprise systems in order to improve their productivity?
  3. Write your mobile opportunities in the following form: As a [end user persona], I want to [process or capability to enable with mobile applications], so that [organizational benefit]. Prioritize each opportunity against feasibility, desirability, and viability.
  4. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Input

Output
  • Problem and vision statements
  • Mobile objectives and metrics
  • Mobile application canvas
  • Mobile opportunities backlog
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Manage your mobile backlog

Your backlog stores and organizes your mobile opportunities at various stages of readiness. It must be continuously refined to address new requests, maintenance and changing priorities.

3 – IDEAS
Composed of raw, vague, and potentially large ideas that have yet to go through any formal valuation.

2 – QUALIFIED
Researched and qualified opportunities awaiting refinement.

1 READY
Discrete, refined opportunities that are ready to be placed in your team's delivery plans.

Adapted from Essential Scrum

A well-formed backlog can be thought of as a DEEP backlog

  • Detailed Appropriately: opportunities are broken down and refined as necessary
  • Emergent: The backlog grows and evolves over time as opportunities are added and removed.
  • Estimated: The effort an opportunity requires is estimated at each tier.
  • Prioritized: The opportunity's value and priority are determined at each tier.

(Source Perforce, 2018)

See our Deliver on Your Digital Product Vision for more information on backlog practices.

Step 1.2

Identify Your Technical Needs

Activities

1.2.1 Discuss your mobile needs

1.2.2 Conduct a technical assessment

Set the Mobile Context

This step involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • List of mobile features to enable the desired mobile experience
  • System current assessment

Describe your desired mobile experiences with journey maps

A journey map tells the story of the user's experience with an existing or prospective product or service, starting with a trigger, through the process of engagement, to create an outcome. Journey maps can focus on a particular part of the user's or the entire experience with your organization's products or services. All types of maps capture key interactions and motivations of the user in chronological order.

Why are journey maps an important for mobile application delivery?

Everyone has their own preferred method for completing their tasks on mobile devices – often, what differentiates one persona from another has to do with how users privately behave. Understand that the activities performed outside of IT's purview develop context for your persona's pain points and position IT to meet their needs with the appropriate solution.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Use Experience Design to Drive Empathy with the Business blueprint.

Two charts are depicted, the first shows the path from Trigger, through steps 1-4, to the outcome, and the Activities and Touchpoints for each. The second chart shows the Expectation analysis, showing which steps are must-haves, nice-to-haves, and hidden-needs.

Pinpoint specific mobile needs in your journey map

Realize that mobile applications may not precisely fit with your personas workflow or align to their expectations due to device and system limitations and restrictions. Flag the mobile opportunities that require significant modifications to underlying systems.

Consider these workflow scenarios that can influence your persona's desire for mobile:

Workflow Scenarios Ask Yourself The Key Questions Technology Constraints or Restrictions to Consider Examples of Mobile Opportunities

Data View – Data is queried, prepared and presented to make informed decisions, but it cannot be edited.

Where is the data located and can it be easily gathered and prepared?

Is the data sensitive and can it be locally stored?

What is the level of detail in my view?

Multi-factor authentication required.

Highly sensitive data requires encryption in transit and at rest.

Minor calculations and preparation needed before data view.

Generate a status report.

View social media channels.

View contact information.

Data Collection – Data is inputted directly into the application and updates back-end system or integrated 3rd party services.

Do I need special permission to add, delete and overwrite data?

How much data can I edit?

Is the data automatically gathered?

Bandwidth restrictions.

Multi-factor authentication required.

Native device access required (e.g., camera).

Multiple types and formats of gathered data.

Manual and automatic data gathering

Book appointments with clients.

Update inventory.

Tracking movement of company assets.

Data Analysis & Modification – Data is evaluated, manipulated and transformed through the application, back-end system or 3rd party service.

How complex are my calculations?

Can computations be offloaded?

What resources are needed to complete the analysis?

Memory and processing limitations on device.

Inability to configure device and enterprise hardware to support system resource demand.

Scope and precision of analysis and modifications.

Evaluate and propose trends.

Gauge user sentiment.

Propose next steps and directions.

Define the mobile experience your end users want

Anytime, Anywhere
The user can access, update and analyze data, and corporate products and services whenever they want, in all networks, and on any device.

Hands-Off & Automated
The application can perform various workflows and tasks without the user's involvement and notify the user when specific triggers are hit.

Personalized & Insightful
Content presentation and subject are tailored for the user based on specific inputs from the user, device hardware or predicted actions.

Integrated Ecosystem
The application supports a seamless experience across various 3rd party and enterprise applications and services the user needs.

Visually Pleasing & Fulfilling
The UI is intuitive and aesthetically gratifying with little security and performance trade-offs to use the full breadth of its functions and services.

Each mobile platform has its own take on the mobile native experience. The choice ultimately depends on whether the costs and effort are worth the anticipated value.

1.2.1 Discover your mobile needs

1-3 hours

  1. Define the workflow of a high priority opportunity in your mobile backlog. This workflow can be pertaining to an existing mobile application or a workflow that can benefit with a mobile application.
    1. Indicate the trigger that will initiate the opportunity and the desired outcome.
    2. Break down the persona's desired outcome into small pieces of value that are realized in each workflow step.
  2. Identify activities and touchpoints the persona will need to complete to finish each step in the workflow. Indicate the technology used to complete the activity or to facilitate the touchpoint.
  3. Indicate which activities and touchpoints can be satisfied, complimented or enhanced with mobile.

Input

Output
  • User personas
  • Mobile application canvas
  • Desired mobile experience
  • List of mobile features
  • Journey map
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

1.2.1 cont'd

Workflow

Trigger

Conduct initial analysis

Get planning help

Complete and submit RFP

Design and implement solution

Implement changes

Activities, Channels, and Touchpoints

Need is recognized in CIO council meeting

See if we have a sufficient solution internally

Seek planning help (various channels)

*Meet with IT shared services business analyst

Select the appropriate vendor

Follow action plan

Compliance rqmt triggered by new law

See if we have a sufficient solution internally

*Hold in-person initial meeting with IT shared services

*Review and approve rqmts (email)

Seek miscellaneous support

Implement project and manage change

Research potential solutions in the marketplace

Excess budget identified for utilization

Pick a "favorite" solution

*Negotiate and sign statement of work (email)

Prime organization for the change

Create action plan

If solution is unsatisfactory, plan remediation

Current Technology

  • Email
  • Video conferencing
  • Phone
  • Meeting transcripts and recordings
  • ERP
  • IT asset management
  • Internet browser for research
  • Virtual environment to demonstrate solutions
  • Email
  • Vendor assessment and procurement solution
  • Email
  • Video conferencing
  • Phone
  • Meeting transcripts and recordings
  • PDF documents and reader
  • Digital signature
  • Email
  • Video conferencing
  • Phone
  • Meeting transcripts and recordings
  • PDF documents and reader
  • Digital signature
  • Email
  • Video conferencing
  • Phone
  • Vendor assessment and procurement solution
  • Project management solution
  • Team collaboration solution
  • Email
  • Video conferencing
  • Phone
  • Project management solution
  • Team collaboration solution
  • Vendor's solution

Legend:

Bold – Touchpoint

* – Activities or Touchpoints That Can Benefit with Mobile

1.2.1 cont'd

1-3 hours

  1. Analyze persona expectations. Identify the persona's must-haves, then nice-to-haves, and then hidden needs to effectively complete the workflow.
    1. Must-haves. The necessary outcomes, qualities, and features of the workflow step.
    2. Nice-to-haves. Desired outcomes, qualities, or features that your persona is able to articulate or express.
    3. Hidden needs. Outcomes, qualities, or features that your persona is not aware they have a desire for; benefits that they are pleasantly surprised to receive. These will usually be unknown for your first-iteration journey map.
  2. Indicate which persona expectations can be satisfied with mobile. Discuss what would the desired mobile experience be.
  3. Discuss feedback and experiences your team has heard from the personas they engage with regularly.
  4. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Download the Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template

1.2.1 cont'd

Example

This image contains an example workflow for determining mobile needs.

1.2.1 cont'd

Template:

Workflow

TriggerStep 1Step 2Step 3Step 4

Desired Outcome

Journey Map

Activities & Touch-points

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Must-Haves

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Nice-to-Haves

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Hidden Needs

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Emotional Journey

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If you need more than four steps in the workflow, duplicate this slide.

Understand how mobile fits with your current system

Evaluate the risks and impacts of your desired mobile features by looking at your enterprise system architecture from top to bottom. Is your mobile vision and needs compatible with your existing business capabilities and technologies?

An architecture is usually represented by one or more architecture views that together provide a coherent description of the application system, including demonstrating the full impact mobile will have. A single, comprehensive model is often too complex to be understood and communicated in its most detailed form, and a model too high level hides the underlying complexity of an application's structure and deployment (The Open Group, TOGAF 8.1.1 - Developing Architecture Views). Obtain a complete understanding of your architecture by assessing it through multiple levels of views to reveal different sets of concerns:

Application Architecture Views

  1. Use Case View
    • How does your business operate, and how will users interact with your mobile applications?
  2. . Process View
    • What is the user workflow impacted by mobile, and how will it change?
  3. Component View
    • How are my existing applications structured? What are its various components? How will mobile expand the costs of the existing technical debt?
  4. Data View
    • What is the relationship of the data and information consumed, analyzed, and transmitted? Will mobile jeopardize the quality and reliability of the data?
  5. Deployment View
    • In what environment are your mobile application components deployed? How will the existing systems operate with your mobile applications?
  6. System View
    • How does your mobile application communicate with other internal and external systems? How will dependencies change with mobile?

See our Enhance Your Solution Architecture for more information.

Ask key questions in your current system assessment

  • How do the various components of your system communicate with each other (e.g., web APIs, middleware, and point to point)?
  • What information is exchanged during the conversation?
  • How does the data flow from one component to the next? Is the data read-only or can application and users edit and modify it?
  • What are the access points to your mid- and back-tier systems (e.g., user access through web interface, corporate networks and third-party application access through APIs)?
  • Who has access to your enterprise systems?
  • Which components are managed and operated by third-party providers? What is your level of control?
  • What are the security protocols currently enforced in your system?
  • How often are your databases updated? Is it real-time or periodic extract, transfer, and load (ETL)?
  • What are the business rules?
  • Is your mobile stack dependent on other systems?
  • Is a mobile middleware, web server, or API gateway needed to help facilitate the integration between devices and your back-end support?

1.2.2 Conduct a technical assessment

1-3 hours

  1. Evaluate your current systems that will support the journey map of your mobile opportunities based on two categories: system quality and system management. Use the tables on the following slides and modify the questions if needed.
  2. Discuss if the current state of your system will impede your ability to succeed with mobile. Use this discussion to verify the decision to continue with mobile applications in your current state.
  3. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Download the Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template

Input

Output
  • Journey map
  • Understanding of current system
  • Assessment of current system
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

1.2.2 cont'd

Current State System Quality Assessment

Factors Definitions Survey Responses
Fit-for-Purpose System functionalities, services and integrations are designed and implemented for the purpose of satisfying the end users' needs and technology compatibilities. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Response Rate The system completes computation and processing requests within acceptable timeframes. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Data Quality The system delivers consumable, accurate, and trustworthy data. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Usability The system provides functionalities, services and integrations that are rewarding, engaging, intuitive, and emotionally satisfying. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Reliability The system is resilient or quickly recovers from issues and defects. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Accessible The system is available on demand and on the end user's preferred interface and device. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Secured End-user activity and data is protected from unauthorized access. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Adaptable The system can be quickly tailored to meet changing end-user and technology needs with reusable and customizable components. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)

1.2.2 cont'd

Current State System Management Assessment

Factors Definitions Survey Responses
Documentation The system is documented, accurate, and shared in the organization. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Measurement The system is continuously measured against clearly defined metrics tied to business value. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Compliance The system is compliant with regulations and industry standards. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Continuous Improvement The system is routinely rationalized and enhanced. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Architecture There is a shared overview of how the process supports business value delivery and its dependencies with technologies and other processes. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Ownership & Accountability The process has a clearly defined owner who is accountable for its risks and roadmap. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Support Resources are available to address adoption and execution challenges. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)
Organizational Change Management Communication, onboarding, and other change management capabilities are available to facilitate technology and related role and process changes. 1 (Very Poor) – 2 – 3 (Fair) – 4 – 5 (Excellent)

Step 1.3

Define Your Non-Functional Requirements

Activities

1.3.1 Define mobile application quality

1.3.2 Verify your decision to deliver mobile applications

Set the Mobile Context

This step involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams

Outcomes of this step

  • Mobile application quality definition
  • Readiness for mobile delivery

Build a strong foundation of mobile application quality

Functionality and aesthetics often take front seats in mobile application delivery. Applications are then frequently modified and changed, not because they are functionally deficient or visually displeasing, but because they are difficult to maintain or scale, too slow, vulnerable or compromised. Implementing clear quality principles (i.e., non-functional requirements) and strong quality assurance practices throughout delivery are critical to minimize the potential work of future maintenance and to avoid, mitigate and manage IT risks.

What is Mobile Application Quality?

  • Quality requirements (i.e., non-functional requirements) are properties of a system or product that dictate how it should behave at runtime and how it should be designed, implemented, and maintained.
  • These requirements should be involved in decision making around architecture, UI and functional design changes.
  • Functionality should not dictate the level of security, availability, or performance of a product, thereby risking system quality. Functionality and quality are viewed orthogonally, and trade-offs are discussed when one impacts the other.
  • Quality attributes should never be achieved in isolation as one attribute can have a negative or positive impact on another (e.g. security and availability).

Why is Mobile Quality Assurance Critical?

  • Quality assurance (QA) is a necessity for the validation and verification of mobile delivery, whether you are delivering applications in an Agile or Waterfall fashion. Effective QA practices implemented across the software development lifecycle (SDLC) are vital, as all layers of the mobile stack need to readily able to adjust to suddenly evolving and changing business and user needs and technologies without risking system stability and breaking business standards and expectations.
  • However, investments in QA optimizations are often afterthoughts. QA is commonly viewed as a lower priority compared to other delivery capabilities (e.g., design and coding) and is typically the first item cut when delivery is under pressure.

See our Build a Software Quality Assurance Program for more information.

Mobile emphasizes the importance of good security, performance and integration

Today's mobile workforce is looking for new ways to get more work done quickly. They want access to enterprise solutions and data directly on their mobile device, which can reside on multiple legacy systems and in the cloud and third-party infrastructure. This presents significant performance, integration, and security risks.

Cloud Solutions: Can I use my existing APIs?. Solutions in Corporate Networks: Do my legacy systems have the capacity to support mobile?; How do I integrate solutions and data from multiple sources into a single view?; Third Party Solutions: Will I have a significant performance bottleneck?; Single View on Mobile Devices: How is corporate data stored on the device?; What new technology dependencies must I account for in my architecture and operational support capabilities?

Mobile risks opening and widening existing security gaps

New mobile technologies and the continued expansion of the enterprise environment increase the number of entry points attackers to your corporate data and networks. The ever-growing volume, velocity, and variety of new threats puts significant pressure on mobile delivery teams who are responsible for implementing mobile security measures and maintaining alignment to your security policies and those of app stores.

Mobile attacks can come from various vectors:

Attack Surface: Mobile Device

Attack Surface: Network

Attack Surface: Data Center

Browser:
Phishing
Buffer Overflow
Data Caching

System:
No Passcode
Jailbroken and Rooted OS
No/Weak Encryption
OS Data Caching

Phone:
SMSishing
Radio Frequency Attacks

Apps:
Configuration Manipulation
Runtime Injection
Improper SSL Validation

  • Packet Sniffing
  • Session Hijacking
  • Man-in-the-Middle (circumvent password verification systems)
  • Fake SSL Certificate
  • Rogue Access Points

Web Server:
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Brute Force Attacks
Server Misconfigurations

Database:
SQL Injection
Data Dumping

Understand the top web security risks and vulnerabilities seen in the industry

Recognize mobile applications are exposed to the same risks and vulnerabilities as web applications. Learn of OWASP's top 10 web security risks.

  • Broken Access Control
    • Failures typically lead to unauthorized information disclosure, modification, or destruction of all data or performing a business function outside the user's limits.
  • Cryptographic Failures
    • Improper and incorrect protection of data in transit and at rest, especially proprietary and confidential data and those that fall under privacy laws.
  • Injection
    • Execution of malicious code and injection of hostile or unfiltered data on the mobile device via the mobile application.
  • Insecure Design
    • Missing or ineffective security controls in the application design. An insecure design cannot be fixed by a perfect implementation,. Needed security controls were never created to defend against specific attacks.
  • Security Misconfiguration
    • The security settings in the application are not securely set or configured, including poor security hardening and inadequate system upgrading practices.
  • Vulnerable and Outdated Components
    • System components are vulnerable because they are unsupported, out of date, untested or not hardened against current security concerns.
  • Identification and Authentication Failures
    • Improper or poor protection against authentication-related attacks, particularly to the user's identity, authentication and session management.
  • Software and Data Integrity Failures
    • Failures related to code and infrastructure that does not protect against integrity violations, such as an application relying upon plugins, libraries, or modules from untrusted sources, repositories, and content delivery networks
  • Security Logging and Monitoring Failures
    • Insufficient logging, detection, monitoring, and active response that hinders the ability to detect, escalate, and respond to active breaches.
  • Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)
    • SSRF flaws occur whenever a web application is fetching a remote resource without validating the user-supplied URL.

Good mobile application performance drives satisfaction and value delivery

Underperforming mobile applications can cause your users to be unproductive. Your mobile applications should always aim to satisfy the productivity requirements of your end users.

Users quickly notice applications that are slow and difficult to use. Providing a seamless experience for the user is now heavily dependent on how well your application performs. Optimizing your mobile application's processing efficiency can help your users perform their jobs properly in various environment conditions.

Productive Users Need
Performant Mobile Applications

Persona

Mobile Application Use Case

Optimized Mobile Application

Stationary Worker

  • Design flowcharts and diagrams, while abandoning paper and desktop apps in favor of easy-to-use, drawing tablet applications.
  • Multitask by checking the application to verify information given by a vendor during their presentation or pitch.
  • Flowcharts and diagrams are updated in real time for team members to view and edit
  • Compare vendors under assessment with a quick look-up app feature

Roaming Worker (Engineer)

  • Replace physical copies of service and repair manuals physically stored with digital copies and access them with mobile applications.
  • Scan or input product bar code to determine whether a replacement part is available or needs to be ordered.
  • Worker is capable of interacting with other features of the mobile web app while product bar code is being verified

Enhance the performance of the entire mobile stack

Due to frequently changing mobile hardware, users' high performance expectations and mobile network constraints, mobile delivery teams must focus on the entire mobile stack for optimizing performance.

Fine tune your enterprise mobile applications using optimization techniques to improve performance across the full mobile stack.

This image contains a bar graph ranking the importance of the following datapoints: Minimize render blocking resources; Configure the mobile application viewport; Determine the right image file format ; Determine above-the-fold content; Minimize browser reflow; Adopt UI techniques to improve perceived latency; Resource minification; Data compression; Asynchronous programming; Resource HTTP caching; Minimize network roundtrips for first time to render.

Info-Tech Insight

Some user performance expectations can be managed with clever UI design (e.g., spinning pinwheels to indicate loading in progress and directing user focus to quick loading content) and operational choices (e.g. graceful degradation and progressive enhancements).

Create an API-centric integration strategy

Mobile delivery teams are tasked to keep up with the changing needs of end users and accommodate the evolution of trending mobile features. Ensuring scalable APIs is critical in quickly releasing changes and ensuring availability of corporate services and resources.

As your portfolio of mobile applications grows, and device platforms and browsers diversify, it will become increasingly complex to provide all the data and service capabilities your mobile apps need to operate. It is important that your APIs are available, reliable, reusable, and secure for multiple uses and platforms.

Take an API-centric approach to retain control of your mobile development and ensure reliability.

APIs are the underlying layer of your mobile applications, enabling remote access of company data and services to end users. Focusing design and development efforts on the maintainability, reliability and scalability of your APIs enables your delivery teams to:

  • Reuse tried-and-tested APIs to deliver, test and harden applications and systems quicker by standardizing on the use and structure of REST APIs.
  • Ensure a consistent experience and performance across different applications using the same API.
  • Uniformly apply security and access control to remain compliant to security protocols, industry standards and regulations.
  • Provide reliable integration points when leveraging third-party APIs and services.

See our Build Effective Enterprise Integration on the Back of Business Process for more information.

Guide your integration strategy with principles

Craft your principles around good API management and integration practices

Expose Enterprise Data And Functionality in API-Friendly Formats
Convert complex on-premises application services into developer-friendly RESTful APIs

Protect Information Assets Exposed Via APIs to Prevent Misuse
Ensure that enterprise systems are protected against message-level attack and hijack

Authorize Secure, Seamless Access for Valid Identities
Deploy strong access control, identity federation and social login functionality

Optimize System Performance and Manage the API Lifecycle
Maintain the availability of backend systems for APIs, applications and end users

Engage, Onboard, Educate and Manage Developers
Give developers the resources they need to create applications that deliver real value

Source: 5 Pillars of API Management, Broadcom, 2021

Clarify your definition of mobile quality

Quality does not mean the same thing to everyone

Do not expect a universal definition of mobile quality. Each department, person and industry standard will have a different interpretation of quality, and they will perform certain activities and enforce policies that meet those interpretations. Misunderstanding of what is defined as a high quality mobile application within business and IT teams can lead to further confusion behind governance, testing priorities and compliance.

Each interpretation of quality can lead to endless testing, guardrails and constraints, or lack thereof. Be clear on the priority of each interpretation and the degree of effort needed to ensure they are met.

For example:

Mobile Application Owner
What does an accessible mobile application mean?

Persona: Customer
I can access it on mobile phones, tablets and the web browser

Persona: Developer
I have access to each layer of the mobile stack including the code & data

Persona: Operations
The mobile application is accessible 24/7 with 95% uptime

Example: A School Board's Quality Definition

Quality Attribute Definitions
Usability The product is an intuitive solution. Usability is the ease with which the user accomplishes a desired task in the application system and the degree of user support the system provides. Limited training and documentation are required.
Performance Usability and performance are closely related. A solution that is slow is not usable. The application system is able to meet timing requirements, which is dependent on stable infrastructure to support it regardless of where the application is hosted. Baseline performance metrics are defined and changes must result in improvements. Performance is validated against peak loads.
Availability The application system is present, accessible, and ready to carry out its tasks when needed. The application is accessible from multiple devices and platforms, is available 24x7x365, and teams communicate planned downtimes and unplanned outages. IT must serve teachers international student's parents, and other users who access the application outside normal business hours. The application should never be down when it should be up. Teams must not put undue burden on end users accessing the systems. Reasonable access requirements are published.
Security Applications handle both private and personal data, and must be able to segregate data based on permissions to protect privacy. The application system is able to protect data and information from unauthorized access. Users want it to be secure but seamless. Vendors need to understand and implement the District School Board's security requirements into their products. Teams ensure access is authorized, maintain data integrity, and enforce privacy.
Reusability Reusability is the capability for components and subsystems to be suitable for use in other applications and in other scenarios. This attribute minimizes the duplication of components and implementation time. Teams ensure a modular design that is flexible and usable in other applications.
Interoperability The degree to which two or more systems can usefully exchange meaningful information via interfaces in a particular context.

Scalability

There are two kinds of scalability:

  • Horizontal scalability (scaling out): Adding more resources to logical units, such as adding another server to a cluster of servers.
  • Vertical scalability (scaling up): Adding more resources to a physical unit, such as adding more memory to a single computer.

Ease of maintenance and enhancements are critical. Additional care is given to custom code because of the inherent difficulty to make it scale and update.

Modifiability The capability to manage the risks and costs of change, considering what can be changed, the likelihood of change, and when and who makes the change. Teams minimize the barriers to change, and get business buy in to keep systems current and valuable.
Testability The ease with which software are made to demonstrate its faults through (typically execution-based) testing. It cannot be assumed that the vendor has already tested the system against District School Board's requirements. Testability applies to all applications, operating systems, and databases.
Supportability The ability of the system to provide information helpful for identifying and resolving issues when it fails to work correctly. Supportability applies to all applications and systems within the District School Board's portfolio, whether that be custom developed applications or vendor provided solutions. Resource investments are made to better support the system.
Cost Efficiency The application system is executed and maintained in such a way that each area of cost is reduced to what is critically needed. Cost efficiency is critical (e.g. printers cost per page, TCO, software what does downtime cost us), and everyone must understand the financial impact of their decisions.
Self-Service End users are empowered to make configurations, troubleshoot and make changes to their application without the involvement of IT. The appropriate controls are in place to manage the access to unauthorized access to corporate systems.
Modifiability The capability to manage the risks and costs of change, considering what can be changed, the likelihood of change, and when and who makes the change. Teams minimize the barriers to change, and get business buy in to keep systems current and valuable.
Testability The ease with which software are made to demonstrate its faults through (typically execution-based) testing. It cannot be assumed that the vendor has already tested the system against District School Board's requirements. Testability applies to all applications, operating systems, and databases.
Supportability The ability of the system to provide information helpful for identifying and resolving issues when it fails to work correctly. Supportability applies to all applications and systems within the District School Board's portfolio, whether that be custom developed applications or vendor provided solutions. Resource investments are made to better support the system.

1.3.1 Define mobile application quality

1-3 hours

  1. List 5 quality attributes that your organization sees as important for a successful mobile application.
  2. List the core personas that will support mobile delivery and that will consume the mobile application. Start with development, operations and support, and end user.
  3. Describe each quality attributes from the perspective of each persona by asking, "What does quality mean to you?".
  4. Review each description from each persona to come to an acceptable definition.
  5. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Download the Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template

Input

Output
  • User personas
  • Mobile application canvas
  • Journey map
  • Mobile application quality definition
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

1.3.1 cont'd

Example: Info-Tech Guided Implementation with a Legal and Professional Services Organization

Quality AttributeDeveloperOperations & Support TeamEnd Users

Usability

  • Architecture and frameworks are aligned with industry best practices
  • Regular feedback through analytics and user feedback
  • Faster development and less technical debt
  • Pride in the product
  • Satisfaction that the product is serving its purpose and is actually being used by the user
  • Increased update of product use and feedback for future lifecycle
  • Standardization and positive perception of IT processes
  • Simpler to train users to adopt products and changes
  • Trust in system and ability to promote the product in a positive light
  • Trusted list of applications
  • Intuitive (easy to use, no training required)
  • Encourage collaboration and sharing ideas between end users and delivery teams
  • The information presented is correct and accurate
  • Users understand where the data came from and the algorithms behind it
  • Users learn features quickly and retain their knowledge longer, which directly correlates to decreased training costs and time
  • High uptake in use of the product
  • Seamless experience, use less energy to work with product

Security

  • Secure by design approach
  • Testing across all layers of the application stack
  • Security analysis of our source code
  • Good approach to security requirement definition, secure access to databases, using latest libraries and using semantics in code
  • Standardized & clear practices for development
  • Making data access granular (not all or none)
  • Secure mission critical procedures which will reduce operational cost, improve compliance and mitigate risks
  • Auditable artifacts on security implementation
  • Good data classification, managed secure access, system backups and privacy protocols
  • Confidence of protection of user data
  • Encryption of sensitive data
Availability
  • Good access to the code
  • Good access to the data
  • Good access to APIs and other integration technologies
  • Automatic alerts when something goes wrong
  • Self-repairing/recovering
  • SLAs and uptimes
  • Code documentation
  • Proactive support from the infrastructure team
  • System availability dashboard
  • Access on any end user device, including mobile and desktop
  • 24/7 uptime
  • Rapid response to reported defects or bugs
  • Business continuity

1.3.2 Verify your decision to deliver mobile applications

1-3 hours

  1. Review the various end user, business and technical expectations for mobile its achievability given the current state of your system and non-functional requirements.
  2. Complete the list of questions on the following slide as an indication for your readiness for mobile delivery.

Input

Output
  • Mobile application canvas
  • Assessment to proceed with mobile
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

1.3.2 cont'd

Skill Sets
Software delivery teams have skills in creating mobile applications that stakeholders are expecting in value and quality. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Architects look for ways to reuse existing technical asset and design for future growth and maturity in mobile. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Resources can be committed to implement and manage a mobile platform. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Software delivery teams and resources are adaptable and flexible to requirements and system changes. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Delivery Process
My software delivery process can accommodate last minute and sudden changes in mobile delivery tasks. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Business and IT requirements for the mobile are clarified through collaboration between business and IT representatives. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Mobile will help us fill the gaps and standardize our software delivery process process. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
My testing practices can be adapted to verify and validate the mobile functional and non-functional requirements. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Technical Stack
My mid-tier and back-end support has the capacity to accommodate additional traffic from mobile. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
I have access to my web infrastructure and integration technologies, and I am capable of making configurations. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
My security approaches and capabilities can be enhanced address specific mobile application risks and vulnerabilities. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
I have a sound and robust integration strategy involving web APIs that gives me the flexibility to support mobile applications. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)

Phase 2

Define Your Mobile Approach

Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

  • Step 2.1 – Choose Your Platform Approach
  • Step 2.2 – Shortlist Your Mobile Delivery Solution
  • Step 2.3 – Create a Roadmap for Mobile Delivery

This phase involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Step 2.1

Choose Your Platform Approach

Activities

2.1.1 Select your platform approach

Define Your Mobile Approach

This step involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • Desired mobile platform approach

Mobile value is dependent on the platform you choose

What is a platform?

"A platform is a set of software and a surrounding ecosystem of resources that helps you to grow your business. A platform enables growth through connection: its value comes not only from its own features, but from its ability to connect external tools, teams, data, and processes." (Source: Emilie Nøss Wangen, 2021) In the mobile context, applications in a platform execute and communicate through a loosely coupled API architecture whether the supporting system is managed and supported by your organization or by 3rd party providers.

Web

The mobile web often takes on one of the following two approaches:

  • Responsive websites – Content, UI and other website elements automatically adjusts itself according to the device, creating a seamless experience regardless of the device.
  • Progressive web applications (PWAs) – PWAs uses the browser's APIs and features to offer native-like experiences.

Mobile web applications are often developed with a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript languages.

Hybrid

Hybrid applications are developed with web technologies but are deployed as native applications. The code is wrapped using a framework so that it runs locally within a native container, and it uses the device's browser runtime engine to support more sophisticated designs and features compared to the web approach. Hybrid mobile solutions allows teams to code once and deploy to multiple platforms.

Some notable examples:

  • Gmail
  • Instagram

Cross-Platform

Cross-platform applications are developed within a distinct programming or scripting environment that uses its own scripting language (often like web languages) and APIs. Then the solution will compile the code into device-specific builds for native deployment.

Some notable examples:

  • Facebook
  • Skype
  • Slack

Native

Native applications are developed and deployed to specific devices and OSs using platform-specific software development kits (SDKs) provided by the operating system vendors. The programming language and framework are dictated by the targeted device, such as Java for Android.

With this platform, developers have direct access to local device features allowing customized operations. This enables the use of local resources, such as memory and runtime engines, which will achieve a higher performance than hybrid and cross-platform applications.

Each platform offers unique pros and cons depending on your mobile needs

WebHybridCross-PlatformNative

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Modern browsers support the popular of web languages (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript).
  • Ubiquitous across multiple form factors and devices.
  • Mobile can be easily integrated into traditional web development processes and technical stacks.
  • Installations are not required, and updates are immediate.
  • Sensitive data can be wiped from memory after app is closed.
  • Limited access to local device hardware and software.
  • Local caching is available for limited offline capabilities, but the scope of tasks that can be completed in this scenario is restricted.
  • The browser's runtime engine is limited in computing power.
  • Not all browsers fully support the latest versions of HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.
  • Web languages can be used to develop a complete application.
  • Code can be reused for multiple platforms, including web.
  • Access to commonly-used native features that are not available through the web platform.
  • Quick delivery and maintenance updates compared to native and cross-platform platforms.
  • Consistent internet access is needed due to its reliance heavily reliance on web technologies to operate.
  • Limited ability to support complex workflows and features.
  • Sluggish performance compared to cross-platform and native applications.
  • Certain features may not operate the same across all platforms given the code once, deploy everywhere approach.
  • More cost-effective to develop than using native development approaches to gain similar features. Platform-specific developers are not needed.
  • Common codebase to develop applications on different applications.
  • Enables more complex application functionalities and technical customizations compared to hybrid applications.
  • Code is not portable across cross-platform delivery solutions.
  • The framework is tied to the vendor solution which presents the risk of vendor lock-in.
  • Deployment is dependent on an app store and the delivery solution may not guarantee the application's acceptance into the application store.
  • Significant training and onboarding may be needed using the cross-platform framework.
  • Tight integration with the device's hardware enables high performance and greater use of hardware features.
  • Computationally-intensive and complex tasks can be completed on the device.
  • Available offline access.
  • Apps are available through easy-to-access app stores.
  • Requires additional investments, such as app stores, app-specific support, versioning, and platform-specific extensions.
  • Developers skilled in a device-specific language are difficult to acquire and costly to train.
  • Testing is required every time a new device or OS is introduced.
  • Higher development and maintenance costs are tradeoffs for native device features.

Start mobile development on a mobile web platform

Start with what you have: begin with a mobile web platform to minimize impacts to your existing delivery skill sets and technical stack while addressing business needs. Resort to a hybrid first and then consider a cross-platform application if you require device access or the need to meet specific non-functional requirements.

Why choose a mobile web platform?

Pros

The latest versions of the most popular web languages (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript) abstract away from the granular, physical components of the application, simplifying the development process. HTML5 offer some mobile features (e.g., geolocation, accelerometer) that can meet your desired experience without the need for native development skills. Native look-and-feel, high performance, and full device access are just a few tradeoffs of going with web languages.

Cons

Native mobile platforms depend on device-specific code which follows specific frameworks and leverages unique programming libraries, such as Objective C for iOS and Java for Android. Each language requires a high level of expertise in the coding structure and hardware of specific devices requiring resources with specific skillsets and different tools to support development and testing.

Other Notable Benefits with Web Languages

  • Modern browsers in most mobile devices are capable of executing and rendering many mobile features developed in web languages, allowing for greater portability and sophistication of code across multiple devices. However, this flexibility comes at the cost of performance since the browser's runtime engine will not perform as well as a native engine.
  • Web languages are well known by developers, minimizing skills and resourcing impacts. Consequently, changes can be quickly accommodated and updated uniformly across all end users.

Do you need a native platform?

Consider web workarounds if you choose a web platform but require some native experiences.

The web platform does not give you direct access or sophisticated customizations to local device hardware and services, underlying code and integrations. You may run into the situation where you need some native experiences, but the value of these features may not offset the costs to undertake a native, hybrid or cross-platform application. When developing hybrid and cross-platform applications with a mobile delivery solution, only the APIs of the commonly used device features are available. Note that some vendors may not offer a particular native feature across all devices, inhibiting your ability to achieve feature parity or exploiting device features only available in certain devices. Workarounds are then needed.

Consider the following workarounds to address the required native experiences on the web platform:

Native Function Description Web Workaround Impact
Camera Takes pictures or records videos through the device's camera. Create an upload form in the web with HTML5. Break in workflow leading to poor user experience (UX).
Geolocation Detects the geographical location of the device. Available through HTML5. Not Applicable.
Calendar Stores the user's calendar in local memory. Integrate with calendaring system or manually upload contacts. Costly integration initiative. Poor user experience.
Contacts Stores contact information in local memory. Integrate app with contact system or manually upload contacts. Costly integration initiative. Poor user experience.
Near Field Communication (NFC) Communication between devices by touching them together or bringing them into proximity. Manual transfer of data. A lot of time is consumed transferring simple information.
Native Computation Computational power and resources needed to complete tasks on the device. Resource-intensive requests are completed by back-end systems and results sent back to user. Slower application performance given network constraints.

Info-Tech Insight

In many cases, workarounds are available when evaluating the gaps between web and native applications. For example, not having application-level access to the camera does not negate the user option to upload a picture taken by the camera through a web form. Tradeoffs like this will come down to assessing the importance of each platform gap for your organization and whether a workaround is good enough as a native-like experience.

Architect and configure your entire mobile stack with a plan

  • Assess your existing technology stack that will support your mobile platform. Determine if it has the capacity to handle mobile traffic and the necessary integration between devices and enterprise and 3rd party systems are robust and reliable. Reach out to your IT teams and vendors if you are missing key mobile components, such as:
  • The acquisition and provisioning of physical or virtual mobile web servers and middleware from existing vendors.
  • Cloud services [e.g., Mobile Back-end as a Service (mBaaS)] that assists in the mobilization of back-end data sources with API SDKs, orchestration of data from multiple sources, transformation of legacy APIs to mobile formats, and satisfaction of other security, integration and performance needs.
  • Configure the services of your web server or middleware to facilitate the translation, transformation, and transfer of data between your mobile front-end and back-end. If your plan involves scripts, maintenance and other ongoing costs will likely increase.
  • Leverage the APIs or adapters provided by your vendors or device manufacturers to integrate your mobile front-end and back-end support to your web server or middleware. If you are reusing a web server, the back-end integration should already be in place. Remember, APIs implement business rules to maintain the integrity of data exchange within your mobile stack.
  • See Appendix A for examples of reference architectures of mobile platforms.

See our Enhance Your Solution Architecture for more information.

Do Not Forget Your Security and Performance Requirements

Security: New threats from mobile put organizations into a difficult situation beyond simply responding to them in a timely matter. Be careful not to take the benefits of security out of the mobile context. You need to make security a first-order citizen during the scoping, design, and optimization of your systems supporting mobile. It must also be balanced with other functional and non-functional requirements with the right roles taking accountability for these decisions.

See our Strengthen the SSDLC for Enterprise Mobile Applications for more information.

Performance: Within a distributed mobile environment, performance has a risk of diminishing due to limited device capacity, network hopping, lack of server scalability, API bottlenecks, and other device, network and infrastructure issues. Mobile web APIs suffer from the same pain points as traditional web browsing and unplanned API call management in an application will lead to slow performance.

See our Develop Enterprise Mobile Applications With Realistic and Relevant Performance for more information.

Enterprise platform selection requires a shift in perspective

Your mobile platform selection must consider both user and enterprise (i.e., non-functional) needs. Use a two-step process for your analysis:

Begin Platform Selection with a User-Centric Approach

Organizations appealing to end users place emphasis on the user experience: the look and appeal of the user interface, and the satisfaction, ease of use, and value of its functionalities. In this approach, IT concerns and needs are not high priorities, but many functions are completed locally or isolated from mission critical corporate networks and sensitive data. Some needs include:

  • Performance: quick execution of tasks and calculations made on the device or offloaded to web servers or the cloud.
  • User Interface: cross-platform compatibility and feature-rich design and functionality. The right native experience is critical to the user adoption and satisfaction.
  • Device Access: use of local device hardware and software to complete app use cases, such as camera, calendar, and contact lists.

Refine Platform Selection with an Enterprise-Centric Approach

From the enterprise perspective, emphasis is on security, system performance, integration, reuse and other non-functional requirements as the primary motivations in the selection of a mobile platform. User experience is still a contributing factor because of the mobile application's need to drive value but its priority is not exclusive. Some drivers include:

  • Openness: agreed-upon industry standards and technologies that can be applied to serve enterprise needs which support business processes.
  • Integration: increase the reuse of legacy investments and existing applications and services with integration capabilities.
  • Flexibility: support for multiple data types from applications such as JSON format for mobile.
  • Capacity: maximize the utilization of your software delivery resources beyond the initial iteration of the mobile application.

Info-Tech Insight

Selecting a mobile platform should not solely be made on business requirements. Key technical stakeholders should be at the table in this discussion to provide insight on the implementation and ongoing costs and benefits of each platform. Both business and technical requirements should be considered when deciding on a final platform.

Select your mobile platform

Drive your mobile platform selection against user-centric needs (e.g. device access, aesthetics) and enterprise-centric needs (e.g. security, system performance).

When does a platform makes sense to use?

Web

  • Desire to maximize current web technologies investments (people, process, and technologies).
  • Use cases do not require significant computational resources on the device or are tightly constrained by non-functional requirements.
  • Limited budget to acquire mobile development resources.
  • Access to device hardware is not a high priority.

Hybrid / Cross-Platform

  • The need to quickly spin up native-like applications for multiple platforms and devices.
  • Desire to leverage existing web development skills, but also a need for device access and meeting specific non-functional requirements.
  • Vendor support is needed for the entire mobile delivery process.

Native

  • Developers are experts in the target programming language and with the device's hardware.
  • Strong need for high performance, security and device-specific access and customizations.
  • Application use cases requiring significant computing resources.

Nine datapoints are arranged on a graph where the x axis s labeled: User Centric Needs; and the Y axis is labeled: Enterprise-centric needs. The datapoints are, in order from left to right, top to bottom: Hybrid; Cross- Platform; Native; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform; Cros-s Platform; Web; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform.

2.1.1 Select your platform approach

1-3 hours

  1. Review your mobile objectives, end user needs and non-functional requirements.
  2. Determine which mobile platform is appropriate for each mobile opportunity or use case by answering the following questions on the following slides against two factors: user-centric and enterprise-centric needs.
  3. Calculate an average score for user-centric and one for enterprise-centric. Then, map them on the matrix to indicate possible platform options. Consider all options around the plotted point.
  4. Further discuss which platforms should be the preferred choice.
  5. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Download the Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template

Input

Output
  • Desired mobile experience
  • List of desired mobile features
  • Current state assessments
  • Mobile platform approach
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

2.1.1 cont'd

User-Centric Needs: Functional Requirements

Factors Definitions Survey Responses
Device Hardware Access The scope of access to native device hardware features. Basic features include those that are available through current web languages (e.g., geolocation) whereas comprehensive features are those that are device-specific. 1 (Basic) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Comprehensive)
Customized Execution of Device Hardware The degree of changes to the execution of local device hardware to satisfy functional needs. 1 (Use as Is) – 2 – 3 (Configure) – 4 – 5 (Customize)
Device Software Access The scope of access to software on the user's device, such as calendars and contact. 1 (Basic) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Comprehensive)
Customized Execution of Device Software The degree of changes to the execution of local device software to satisfy functional needs. 1 (Use as Is) – 2 – 3 (Configure) – 4 – 5 (Customize)
Use Case Complexity Workflow tasks and decisions are simple and straightforward. Complex computation is not needed to acquire the desired outcome. 1 (Strongly Agree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Disagree)
Computational Resources The resources needed on the device to complete desired functional needs. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Use Case Ambiguity The mobile use case and technical requirements are well understood and documented. Changes to the mobile application is likely. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Mobile Application Access Enterprise systems and data are accessible to the broader organization through the mobile application. This factor does not necessarily mean that anyone can access it untracked. You may still need to identify yourself or log in, etc. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Scope of Adoption & Impact The extent to which the mobile application is leveraged in the organization. 1 (Enterprise) – 2 – 3 (Department) – 4 – 5 (Team)
Installable The need to locally install the mobile application. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Targeted Devices & Platforms Mobile applications are developed for a defined set of mobile platform versions and types and device. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Output Audience The mobile application transforms an input into a valuable output for high-priority internal or external stakeholders. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)

2.1.1 cont'd

User-Centric Needs: Native User Experience Factors

Factors Definitions Survey Responses
Immersive Experience The need to bridge physical world with the virtual and digital environment, such as geofencing and NFC. 1 (Internally Delivered) – 2 – 3 (3rd Party Supported) – 4 – 5 (Business Implemented)
Timeliness of Content and Updates The speed of which the mobile application (and supporting system) responds with requested information, data and updates from enterprise systems and 3rd party services. 1 (Reasonable Delayed Response) – 2 – 3 (Partially Outsourced) – 4 – 5 (Fully Outsourced)
Application Performance The speed of which the mobile application completes tasks is critical to its success. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Network Accessibility The needed ability to access and use the mobile application in various network conditions. 1 (Only Available When Online) – 2 – 3 (Partially Available When Online) – 4 – 5 (Available Online)
Integrated Ecosystem The approach to integrate the mobile application with enterprise or 3rd party systems and services. 1 (Out-of-the-Box Connectors) – 2 – 3 (Configurable Connectors) – 4 – 5 (Customized Connectors)
Desire to Have a Native Look-and-Feel The aesthetics and UI features (e.g., heavy animations) that are only available through native and cross-platform applications. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
User Tolerance to Change The degree of willingness and ableness for a user to change their way of working to maximize the value of the mobile application. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Mission Criticality The business could not execute its main strategy if the mobile application was removed. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Business Value The mobile application directly adds business value to the organization. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Industry Differentiation The mobile application provides a distinctive competitive advantage or is unique to your organization. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)

2.1.1 cont'd

Enterprise-Centric Needs: Non-Functional Requirements

Factors Definitions Survey Responses
Legacy Compatibility The need to integrate and operate with legacy systems. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Code Portability The need to enable the "code once and deploy everywhere" approach. 1 (High) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Low)
Vendor & Technology Lock-In The tolerance to lock into a vendor mobile delivery solution or technology framework. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Data Sensitivity The data used by the mobile application does not fall into the category of sensitive data – meaning nothing financial, medical, or personal identity (GDPR and worldwide equivalents). The disclosure, modification, or destruction of this data would cause limited harm to the organization. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Data Policies Policies of the mobile application's data are mandated by internal departmental standards (e.g. naming standards, backup standards, data type consistency). Policies only mandated in this way usually have limited use in a production capacity. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Security Risks Mobile applications are connected to private data sources and its intended use will be significant if underlying data is breached. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
Business Continuity & System Integrity Risks The mobile application in question does not have much significance relative to the running of mission critical processes in the organization. 1 (Strongly Disagree) – 2 – 3 (Neutral) – 4 – 5 (Strongly Agree)
System Openness Openness of enterprise systems to enable mobile applications from the user interface to the business logic and backend integrations and database. 1 (High) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Low)
Mobile Device Management The organization's policy for the use of mobile devices to access and leverage enterprise data and services. 1 (Bring-Your-Own-Device) – 2 – 3 (Hybrid) – 4 – 5 (Corporate Devices)

2.1.1 cont'd

Enterprise-Centric Needs: Delivery Capacity

Factors Definitions Survey Responses
Ease of Mobile Delivery The desire to have out-of-the-box and packaged tools to expedite mobile application delivery using web technologies. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Solution Competency The capability for internal staff to and learn how to implement and administer mobile delivery tools and deliver valuable, high-quality applications. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Ease of Deployment The desire to have the mobile applications delivered by the team or person without specialized resources from outside the team. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Delivery Approach The capability to successfully deliver mobile applications given budgetary and costing, resourcing, and supporting services constraints. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Maintenance & Operational Support The capability of the resources to responsibly maintain and operate mobile applications, including defect fixes and the addition and extension of modules to base implementations of the digital product. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Domain Knowledge Support The availability and accessibility of subject and domain experts to guide facilitate mobile application implementation and adoption. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Delivery Urgency The desire to have the mobile application delivered quickly. 1 (High) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Low)
Reusable Components The desire to reuse UI elements and application components. 1 (High) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Low)

2.1.1 cont'd

Example:

Score Factors (Average) Mobile Opportunity 1: Inventory Management Mobile Opportunity 2: Remote Support
User-Centric Needs 4.25 3
Functional Requirements 4.5 2.25
Native User Experience Factors 4 1.75
Enterprise-Centric Needs 4 2
Non-Functional Requirements 3.75 3.25
Delivery Capacity 4.25 2.75
Possible Mobile Platform Cross-Platform Native PWA Hybrid

Nine datapoints are arranged on a graph where the x axis s labeled: User Centric Needs; and the Y axis is labeled: Enterprise-centric needs. The datapoints are, in order from left to right, top to bottom: Hybrid; Cross- Platform; Native; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform; Cros-s Platform; Web; Web; Hybrid or Cross- Platform. Two yellow circles are overlaid, one containing the phrase: Remote Support - over the box containing Progressive Web Applications (PWA) or Hybrid; and a yellow circle containing the phrase Inventory MGMT, partly covering the box containing Native; and the box containing Cross-Platform.

Build a scalable and manageable platform

Long-term mobile success depends on the efficiency and reliability of the underlying operational platform. This platform must support the computational and performance demands in a changing business environment, whether it is composed of off-the-self or custom-developed solutions, or a single vendor or best-of-breed.

  • Application
    • The UI design and content language is standardized and consistently applied
    • All mobile configurations and components are automatically versioned
    • Controlled administration and tooling access, automation capabilities, and update delivery
    • Holistic portfolio management
  • Data
    • Automated data management to preserve data quality (e.g. removal of duplications)
    • Defined single source of truth
    • Adherence to data governance, and privacy and security policies
    • Good content management practices, governance and architecture
  • Infrastructure
    • Containers and sandboxes are available for development and testing
    • Self-healing and self-service environments
    • Automatic system scaling and load balancing
    • Comply to budgetary and licensing constraints
  • Integration
    • Backend database and system updates are efficient
    • Loosely coupled architecture to minimize system regressions and delivery effort
    • Application, system and data monitoring

Step 2.2

Shortlist Your Mobile Delivery Solution

Activities

2.2.1 Shortlist your mobile delivery solution

2.2.2 Build your feature and service lists

Define Your Mobile Approach

This step involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • Shortlisted mobile delivery solutions
  • Desired list of vendor features and services

Ask yourself: should I build or buy?

Build Buy

Multi-Source Best-of-Breed

Vendor Add-Ons & Integrations

Integrate various technologies that provide subset(s) of the features needed for supporting the business functions.

Enhance an existing vendor's offerings by using their system add-ons either as upgrades, new add-ons or integrations.

Pros

  • Flexibility in choice of tools.
  • In some cases, cost may be lower.
  • Easier to enhance with in-house teams.

Cons

  • Introduces tool sprawl.
  • Requires resources to understand tools and how they integrate.
  • Some of the tools necessary may not be compatible with each other.

Pros

  • Reduces tool sprawl.
  • Supports consistent tool stack.
  • Vendor support can make enhancement easier.
  • Total cost of ownership may be lower.

Cons

  • Vendor Lock-In.
  • The processes to enhance may require tweaking to fit tool capability.

Multi-Source Custom

Single Source

Integrate systems built in-house with technologies developed by external organizations.

Buy an application/system from one vendor only.

Pros

  • Flexibility in choice of tools.
  • In some cases, cost may be lower.
  • Easier to enhance with in-house teams.

Cons

  • May introduce tool sprawl.
  • Requires resources to have strong technical skills
  • Some of the tools necessary may
  • not be compatible with each other.

Pros

  • Reduces tool sprawl.
  • Supports consistent tool stack.
  • Vendor support can make enhancement easier.
  • Total cost of ownership may be lower.

Cons

  • Vendor Lock-In.
  • The processes to enhance may require tweaking to fit tool capability.

Weigh the pros and cons of mobile enablement versus development

Mobile Enablement

Mobile Development

Description Mobile interfaces that heavily rely on enterprise or 3rd party systems to operate. Mobile does not expand the functionality of the system but complements it with enhanced access, input and consumption capabilities. Mobile applications that are custom built or configured in a way that can operate as a standalone entity, whether they are locally deployed to a user's device or virtually hosted.
Mobile Platform Mobile web, locally installed mobile application provided by vendor Mobile web, hybrid, cross-platform, native
Typical Audience Internal staff, trusted users Internal and external users, general public
Examples of Tooling Flavors Enterprise applications, point solutions, robotic & process automation Mobile enterprise application platform, web development, low and no code development, software development kits (SDKs)
Technical Skills Required Little to no mobile delivery experience and skillsets are needed, but teams must be familiar with the supporting system to understand how a mobile interface can improve the value of the system. Have good UX-driven and quality-first practices in the mobile context. In-depth coding, networking, system and UX design, data management and security skills are needed for complex designs, functions, and architectures.
Architecture & Integration Architecture is standardized by the vendor or enterprise with UI elements that are often minimally configurable. Extensions and integrations must be done through the system rather than the mobile interface. Much of application stack and integration approach can be customized to meet the specific functional and non-functional needs. It should still leverage web and design standards and investments currently used.
Functional Scope Functionality is limited to the what the underlying system allows the interface to do. This often is constrained to commodity web application features (e.g., reporting) or tied to minor configurations to the vendor-provided point solution Functionality is only constrained by the platform and the targeted mobile devices whether it is performance, integration, access or security related. Teams should consider feature and content parity across all products within the organization portfolio.
Delivery Pipeline End-to-end delivery and automated pipeline is provided by the vendor to ensure parity across all interfaces. Many vendors provide cloud-based services for hosting. Otherwise, it is directly tied to the SDLC of the supporting system. End-to-end delivery and automated pipeline is directly tied to enterprise SDLC practices or through the vendor. Some vendors provide cloud-based services for hosting. Updates are manually or automatically (through a vendor) published to app stores and can be automatically pushed to corporate users through mobile application management capabilities.
Standards & Guardrails Quality standards and technology governance are managed by the vendor or IT with limited capabilities to tailor them to be mobile specific. Quality standards and technology governance are managed by the mobile delivery teams. The degree of customizations to these standards and guardrails is dependent on the chosen platform and delivery team competencies.

Understand the common attributes of a mobile delivery solution

  • Source Code Management – Built-in or having the ability to integrate with code management solutions for branching, merging, and versioning. Debugging and coding assistance capabilities may be available.
  • Single Code Base – Capable of programming in a standard coding and scripting language for deployment into several platforms and devices. This code base is aligned to a common industry framework (e.g., AngularJS, Java) or a vendor-defined one.
  • Out-of-the-Box Connectors & Plug-ins – Pre-built APIs enhance the solution's capabilities with 3rd party tools and systems to deliver and manage high quality and valuable mobile applications.
  • Emulators – Ability to virtualize an application's execution on a target platform and device.
  • Support for Native Features – Supports plug-ins and APIs for access to device-specific features.

What are mobile delivery solutions?

A mobile delivery solution gives you the tools, resources and support to enable or build your mobile application. They can provide pre-built applications, vendor supported components to allow some configurations, or resources for full stack customizations. Some solutions can be barebone software development kits (SDKs) or comprehensive suites offering features to support the entire software delivery lifecycle, such as:

  • Mobile application management
  • Testing and publishing to app stores
  • Content management
  • Cloud hosting
  • Application performance management

Info-Tech Insight

Mobile enablement and development capabilities are already embedded in many common productivity tools and enterprise applications, such as Microsoft PowerApps and ERP modules. They can serve as a starting point in the initial rollout of new management and governance practices without the need of acquiring new tools.

Select your mobile delivery solutions

  1. Set the scope of your framework.
    • The initial context of this framework is based on the mobile functions needed to support your desired mobile experience and on the current state of your enterprise and 3rd party systems.
  2. Define the decision factors for your solution selection.
    • Review the decision factors that will influence the selection of your mobile delivery solution for each mobile opportunity:
    • Stack Management – Who will be hosting and supporting your mobile application stack?
    • Workflows Complexity & Native Experience – How complex is your desired mobile experience and how will native device features be leveraged?
  3. Select your solution type.
    • Mobile delivery solutions are broadly defined in the following groups:
    • Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) – Pre-built mobile applications requiring little to no configurations or implementation effort.
    • Vendor Hosted Mobile Platform – Back-end and mid-tier infrastructure and operational support are managed by a vendor.
    • Cross-Platform Development – Frameworks that transform a single code base into platform-specific builds.
    • Hybrid Development – Tools that wrap a single code base into a locally deployable build.
    • Custom Web Development – Environment enabling full stack development for mobile web applications.
    • Custom Native Development – Environment enabling full stack development for mobile native applications.

A quadrant analysis is depicted. the top data is labeled Complex Mobile Features; the right side is labeled Organization-Managed Stack; the bottom is labeled Simple Mobile Features; and the left side is labeled Vendor-Managed Stack. The quadrants are labeled the following, in order from left to right, top to bottom. Vendor- Hosted Mobile Platform; Custom Native Development Solutions; Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Solutions; Custom Web Development Solutions. In the middle of the graph are the following, in order from top to bottom: Cross-Platform Development Solutions; Hybrid Development Solutions

Explore the various solution options

Vendor Hosted Mobile Platform

  • Cloud Services (Mobile Backend-as-a-Service) (Amazon Amplify, Kinvey, Back4App, Google Firebase, Apache Usergrid)
  • Low Code Mobile Platforms (Outsystems, Mendix, Zoho Creator, IBM Mobile Foundation, Pega Mobile, HCL Volt MX, Appery)
  • Mobile Development via Enterprise Application (SalesForce Heroku, Oracle Application Accelerator MAX, SAP Mobile Development Kit, NetSuite Mobile)
  • Mobile Development via Business Process Automation (PowerApps, Appian, Nintex, Quickbase)

Cross-Platform Development SDKs

React Native, NativeScript, Xamarin Forms, .NET MAUI, Flutter, Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile, jQuery Mobile, Telerik, Temenos Quantum

Custom Native Development Solutions

  • Native Development Languages and Environments (Swift, Java, Objective-C, Kotlin, Xcode, NetBeans, Android Studio, AppCode, Microsoft Visual Studio, Eclipse, DriodScript, Compose, Atom)
  • Mobile Application Utilities (Unity, MonoGame, Blender, 3ds Max Design, Maya, Unreal Engine, Amazon Lumberyard, Oculus)

Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Solutions

  • No Code Mobile Platforms (Swiftic, Betty Blocks, BuildFire, Appy Pie, Plant an App, Microsoft Power Apps, AppSheet, Wix, Quixy)
  • Mobile Application Point Solutions and Enablement via Enterprise Applications

Hybrid Development SDKs

Cordova Project, Sencha Touch, Electron, Ionic, Capacitor, Monaca, Voltbuilder

Custom Web Development Solutions

Web Development Frameworks (React, Angular, Vue, Express, Django, Rails, Spring, Ember, Backbone, Bulma, Bootstrap, Tailwind CSS, Blade)

Get the most out of your solutions by understanding their core components

While most of the heavy lifting is handled by the vendor or framework, understanding how the mobile application is built and operates can identify where further fine-tuning is needed to increase its value and quality.

Platform Runtime

Automatic provisioning, configurations, and tuning of organizational and 3rd party infrastructure for high availability, performance, security and stability. This can include cloud management and non-production environments.

Extensions

  • Mobile delivery solutions can be extended to allow:
  • Custom development of back-end code
  • Customizable integrations and hooks where needed
  • Integrations with CI/CD pipelines and administrative services
  • Integrations with existing databases and authentication services

Platform Services

The various services needed to support mobile delivery and enable continuous delivery, such as:

  • Configuration & Change Management – Verifies, validates, and monitors builds, deployments and changes across all components.
  • Code Generator – Transforms UI and data models into native application components that are ready to be deployed.
  • Deployment Services – Deploys application components consistently across all target environments and app stores.
  • Application Services – Manages the mobile application at runtime, including executing scheduled tasks and instrumentation.

Application Architecture

Fundamentally, mobile application architecture is no different than any other application architecture so much of your design standards still applies. The trick is tuning it to best meet your mobile functional and non-functional needs.

This image contains an example of mobile application architecture.

Source: "HCL Volt MX", HCL.

Build your shortlist decision criteria

The decision on which type of mobile delivery solution to use is dependent on several key questions?

Who is the Mobile Delivery Team?

  • Is it a worker, business or IT?
  • What skills and knowledge does this person have?
  • Who is supporting mobile delivery and management?
  • Are other skills and tools needed to support, extend or mature mobile delivery adoption?

What are the Use Cases?

  • What is the value and priority of the use cases?
  • What native features do we need?
  • Who is the audience of the output and who is impacted?
  • What systems, data and services do I need access?
  • Is it best to build it or buy it?
  • What are the quality standards?
  • How strategic is the use case?

How Complex is the System?

  • Is the mobile application a standalone or integrated with enterprise systems?
  • What is the system's state and architecture?
  • What 3rd party services do we need integrated?
  • Are integrations out-of-the-box or custom?
  • Is the data standardized and who can edit its definition?
  • Is the system monolithic or loosely coupled?

How Much Can We Tolerate?

  • Risks: What are the business and technical risks involved?
  • Costs: How much can we invest in implementation, training and operations?
  • Change: What organizational changes am I expecting to make? Will these changes be accepted and adopted?

2.2.1 Shortlist your mobile delivery solution

1-3 hours

  1. Determine which mobile delivery solutions is appropriate for each mobile opportunity or use case by answering the following questions on the following slides against two factors: complexity of mobile workflows and native features and management of the mobile stack.
    1. Take the average of the enterprise-centric and user-centric scores from step 2.1 for your complexity of mobile workflows and native features scores.
  2. Calculate an average score for the management of the mobile stack. Then, map them on the matrix to indicate possible solution options alongside your user-centric scores. Consider all options around the plotted point.
  3. Further discuss which solution should be the preferred choice and compare those options with your selected platform approach.
  4. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Download the Respondent Identification Tool

Input

Output
  • Current state assessment
  • Mobile platform approach
  • Shortlist of mobile delivery solution
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

2.2.1 cont'd

Stack Management

Factors Definitions Survey Responses
Cost of Delayed Delivery The expected cost if a vendor solution or update is delayed. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Vendor Negotiation Organization's ability to negotiate favorable terms from vendors. 1 (High) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Low)
Controllable Delivery Timeline Organization's desire to control when solutions and updates are delivered. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Solution Hosting The desired approach to host the mobile application. 1 (Fully Outsourced) – 2 – 3 (Partially Outsourced) – 4 – 5 (Internally Hosted)
Vendor Lock-In The tolerance to be locked into a specific technology stack or vendor ecosystem. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Operational Cost Target The primary target of the mobile application's operational budget. 1 (External Resources) – 2 – 3 (Hybrid) – 4 – 5 (Internal Resources)
Platform Management The desired approach to manage the mobile delivery solution, platform or underlying technology. 1 (Decentralized) – 2 – 3 (Federated) – 4 – 5 (Centralized)
Skill & Competency of Mobile Delivery Team The ability of the team to create and manage valuable and high-quality mobile applications. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Current Investment in Enterprise Technologies The need to maximize the ROI of current enterprise technologies or integrate with legacy technologies. 1 (High) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Low)
Ease of Extensibility Need to have out-of-the-box connectors and plug-ins to extend the mobile delivery solution beyond its base implementation. 1 (High) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (Low)
Holistic Application Strategy Organizational priorities on the types of applications the portfolio should be comprised. 1 (Buy) – 2 – 3 (Hybrid) – 4 – 5 (Build)
Control of Delivery Pipeline The desire to control the software delivery pipeline from design to development, testing, publishing and support. 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)
Specific Quality Requirements Software and mobile delivery is constrained to your unique quality standards (e.g., security, performance, availability) 1 (Low) – 2 – 3 (Moderate) – 4 – 5 (High)

2.2.1 cont'd

Example:

Score Factors (Average) Mobile Opportunity 1: Inventory Management Mobile Opportunity 2: Remote Support
User-Centric & Enterprise Centric Needs (From Step 2.1) 4.125 2.5
Stack Management 2 2.5
Desired Mobile Delivery Solution Vendor-Hosted Mobile Platform

Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Solution

Hybrid Development Solution

A quadrant analysis is depicted. the top data is labeled Complex Mobile Features; the right side is labeled Organization-Managed Stack; the bottom is labeled Simple Mobile Features; and the left side is labeled Vendor-Managed Stack. The quadrants are labeled the following, in order from left to right, top to bottom. Vendor- Hosted Mobile Platform; Custom Native Development Solutions; Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Solutions; Custom Web Development Solutions. In the middle of the graph are the following, in order from top to bottom: Cross-Platform Development Solutions; Hybrid Development Solutions.

Consider the following in your solution selection and implementation

  • Vendor lock in – Each solution has its own approach, frameworks, and data schemas to convert designs and logic into an executable build that is stable in the targeted environment. Consequently, moving application artifacts (e.g., code and designs) from one solution or environment to another may not be easily accomplished without significant modifications or the use of application modernization or migration services.
  • Conflicting priorities and viewpoints of good delivery practices – Mobile delivery solutions are very particular on how they generate applications from designs and configurations. The solution's approach may not accommodate your interpretation of high-quality code (e.g., scalability, maintainability, extensibility, security). Technical experts should be reviewing and refactoring the generated code.
  • Incompatibility with enterprise applications and systems – The true benefit of mobile delivery solutions is their ability to connect your mobile application to enterprise and 3rd party technologies and services. This capability often requires enterprise technologies and services to be architected in a way that is compatible with your delivery solution while ensuring data, security protocols and other standards and policies are consistently enforced.
  • Integration with current application development and management tools – Mobile delivery solutions should be extensions from your existing application development and management tools that provides the versioning, testing, monitoring, and deployment capabilities to sustain a valuable application portfolio. Without this integration, IT will be unable to:
    • Root cause issues found on IT dashboards or reported to help desk.
    • Rollback defective applications to a previous stable state.
    • Obtain a complete application portfolio inventory.
    • Execute comprehensive testing for high-risk applications.
    • Trace artifacts throughout the development lifecycle.
    • Generate reports of the status of releases.

Enhance your SDLC to support mobile delivery

What is the SDLC?

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is a process that ensures valuable software products are efficiently delivered to customers. It contains a repeatable set of activities needed to intake and analyze requirements to design, build, test, deploy, and maintain software products.

How will mobile delivery influence my SDLC?

  • Cross-functional collaboration – Bringing business and IT together at the most opportune times to clarify user needs and business priorities, and set realistic expectations given technology and capacity constraints. The appropriate tactics and techniques are used to improve decision making and delivery effectiveness according to the type of work.
  • Iterative delivery – Frequent delivery of progressive changes minimizes the risk of low-quality features by containing and simplifying scope, and enables responsive turnarounds of fixes, enhancements, and priority changes.
  • Feedback loops –Mobile application owners constantly review, update and refine their backlog of mobile features and changes to reflect user feedback and system performance metrics. Delivery teams proactively prepare the application for future scaling based on lessons and feedback learned from earlier releases.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Modernize Your SDLC blueprint.

Example: Low- & No-Code Mobile Delivery Pipeline

Low Code

Data Modeling & Configuration

No Code

Visual Interface with Complex Data Models

Data Modeling & Configuration

Visual Interfaces with Simple Data Models

GUI Designer with Customizable Components & Entities

UI Definition & Design

GUI Designer with Canned Templates

Visual Workflow and Custom Scripting

Business Logic Rules and Workflow Specification

Visual Workflow and Natural Language Scripting

Out-of-the-Box Plugins & Custom Integrations

Integration of External Services (via 3rd Party APIs)

Out-of-the-Box Plugins

Automated and Manual Build & Packaging

Build & Package

Automated Build & Packaging

Automated & Manual Testing

Test

Automated Testing

One-Click Push or IT Push to App Store

Publish to App Store

One-Click Push to App Store

Use Info-Tech's research to address your delivery gaps

Mobile success requires more than a set of good tools.

Overcome the Common Challenges Faced with Building Mobile Applications

Common Challenges with Digital Applications

Suggested Solutions

  • Time & Resource Constraints
  • Buy-In From Internal Stakeholders
  • Rapidly Changing Requirements
  • Legacy Systems
  • Low-Priority for Internal Tools
  • Insufficient Data Access

Source: DronaHQ, 2021

Learn the differentiators of mobile delivery solutions

  • Native Program Languages – Supports languages other than web (Java, Ruby, C/C++/C#, Objective-C).
  • IDE Integration – Available plug-ins for popular development suites and editors.
  • Debugging Tools – Finding and eliminating bugs (breakpoints, single stepping, variable inspection, etc.).
  • Application Packaging via IDE – Digitally sign applications through the IDE for it to be packaged and published in app stores.
  • Automated Testing Tools – Native or integration with automated functional and unit testing tools.
  • Low- and No- Code Designer – Tools for designing graphical user interfaces and features and managing data with drag-and-drop functionalities.
  • Publishing and Deployment Capabilities – Automated deployment to mobile device management (MDM) systems, mobile application management (MAM) systems, mobile application stores, and web servers.
  • Third-Party and Open-Source Integration – Integration with proprietary and open-source third-party modules, development tools, and systems.
  • Developer Marketplace – Out-of-the-box plug-ins, templates, and integration are available through a marketplace.
  • Mobile Application Support Capabilities – Ability to gather, manage, and address application issues and defects.
  • API Gateway, Monitoring, and Management – Services that enable the creation, publishing, maintenance, monitoring, and securing of APIs through a common interface.
  • Mobile Analytics and Monitoring – View the adoption, usage, and performance of deployed mobile applications through graphical dashboards.
  • Mobile Content Management – Publish and manage mobile content through a centralized system.
  • Mobile Application Security – Supports the securing of application access and usage, data encryption, and testing of security controls.

Define your mobile delivery vendor selection criteria

Focus on the key vendor attributes and capabilities that enable mobile delivery scaling and growth in your organization

Considerations in Mobile Delivery Vendor Selection
Platform Features & Capabilities Price to Implement & Operate Platform
Types of Mobile Applications That Can Be Developed Ease of IT Administration & Management
User Community & Marketplace Size Security, Privacy & Access Control Capabilities
SME in Industry Verticals & Business Functions Vendor Product Roadmap & Corporate Strategy
Pre-Built Designs, Templates & Application Shells Scope of Device- and OS-Specific Compatibilities
Regulatory & Industry Compliance Integration & Technology Partners
Importing Artifacts From and Exporting to Other Solutions Platform Architecture & Underlying Technology
End-to-End Support for the Entire Mobile SDLC Relevance to Current Mobile Trends & Practices

Build your features list

Incorporate different perspectives when defining the list of mandatory and desired features of your target solution.

Appendix B contains a list of features for low- and no-code solutions that can be used as a starting point.

Visit Info-Tech's Implement a Proactive and Consistent Vendor Selection Process blueprint.

Mobile Developer

  • Visual, drag-and-drop models to define data models, business logic, and user interfaces.
  • One-click deployment.
  • Self-healing capabilities.
  • Vendor-managed infrastructure.
  • Active community and marketplace.
  • Pre-built templates and libraries.
  • Optical character recognition and natural language processing.
  • Knowledgebase and document management.
  • Business value, operational costs, and other KPI monitoring.
  • Business workflow automation.

Mobile IT Professional

  • Audit and change logs.
  • Theme and template builder.
  • Template management.
  • Role-based access.
  • Regulatory compliance.
  • Consistent design and user experience across applications.
  • Application and system performance monitoring.
  • Versioning and code management.
  • Automatic application and system refactoring and recovery.
  • Exception and error handling.
  • Scalability (e.g. load balancing) and infrastructure management.
  • Real-time debugging.
  • Testing capabilities.
  • Security management.
  • Application integration management.

2.2.2 Build your feature and service lists

1-3 hours

Review the key outcomes in the previous exercises to help inform the features and vendor support you require to support your mobile delivery needs:

End user personas and desired mobile experience

Objectives and expectations

Desired mobile features and platform

Mobile delivery solutions

Brainstorm a list of features and functionalities you require from your ideal solution vendors. Prioritize these features and functionalities. See our Implement a Proactive and Consistent Vendor Selection Process blueprint for more information on vendor procurement.

Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Download the Respondent Identification Tool

Input

Output
  • Shortlist of mobile solutions
  • Quality definitions
  • Mobile objectives and metrics
  • List of desired features and services of mobile delivery solution vendors
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Hit a home run with your stakeholders

Use a data-driven approach to select the right tooling vendor for your needs – fast.

AwarenessEducation & DiscoveryEvaluationSelection

Negotiation & Configuration

1.1 Proactively Lead Technology Optimization & Prioritization2.1 Understand Marketplace Capabilities & Trends3.1 Gather & Prioritize Requirements & Establish Key Success Metrics4.1 Create a Weighted Selection Decision Model5.1 Initiate Price Negotiation with Top Two Venders
1.2 Scope & Define the Selection Process for Each Selection Request Action2.2 Discover Alternate Solutions & Conduct Market Education3.2 Conduct a Data Driven Comparison of Vendor Features & Capabilities4.2 Conduct Investigative Interviews Focused on Mission Critical Priorities with Top 2-4 Vendors5.2 Negotiate Contract Terms & Product Configuration

1.3 Conduct an Accelerated Business Needs Assessment

2.3 Evaluate Enterprise Architecture & Application PortfolioNarrow the Field to Four Top Contenders4.3 Validate Key Issues with Deep Technical Assessments, Trial Configuration & Reference Checks5.3 Finalize Budget Approval & Project
1.4 Align Stakeholder Calendars to Reduce Elapsed Time & Asynchronous Evaluation2.4 Validate the Business Case5.4 Invest in Training & Onboarding Assistance

Investing time improving your software selection methodology has big returns.

Info-Tech Insight

Not all software selection projects are created equal – some are very small, some span the entire enterprise. To ensure that IT is using the right framework, understand the cost and complexity profile of the application you're looking to select. Info-Tech's Rapid Application Selection Framework approach is best for commodity and mid-tier enterprise applications; selecting complex applications is better handled by the methodology in Info-Tech's Implement a Proactive and Consistent Vendor Selection Process.

Step 2.3

Create a Roadmap for Mobile Delivery

Activities

2.3.1 Define your MVP release

2.3.2 Build your roadmap

Define Your Mobile Approach

This step involves the following participants:

  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • MVP design
  • Mobile delivery roadmap

Achieve mobile success with MVPs

By delivering mobile capabilities in small iterations, teams recognize value sooner and reduce accumulated risk. Both benefits are realized as the iteration enters validation testing and release.

This image depicts a graph of the learn-build-measure cycle over time, adapted from Managing the Development of Large Software Systems, Dr. Winston W. Royce, 1970

An MVP focuses on a small set of functions, involves minimal possible effort to deliver a working and valuable solution, and is designed to satisfy a specific user group. Its purpose is to:

  • Maximize learning.
  • Evaluate the value and acceptance of mobile applications.
  • Inform the building of a mobile delivery practice.

The build-measure-learn loop suggests mobile delivery teams should perpetually take an idea and develop, test, and validate it with the mobile development solution, then expand on the MVP using the lessons learned and evolving ideas. In this sense the MVP is just the first iteration in the loop.

Leverage a canvas to detail your MVP

Use the release canvas to organize and align the organization around your MVP!

This is an example of a release canvas which can be used to detail your MVP.

2.3.1 Define your MVP release

1-3 hours

  1. Create a list of high priority use cases slated for mobile application delivery. Brainstorm the various supporting activities required to implement your use cases including the shortlisting of mobile delivery tools.
  2. Prioritize these use cases based on business priority (from your canvas). Size the effort of these use cases through collaboration.
  3. Define your MVPs using a release canvas as shown on the following slide.
  4. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Input

Output
  • High priority mobile opportunities
  • Mobile platform approach
  • Shortlist of mobile solutions
  • List of potential MVPs
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

2.3.1 cont'd

MVP Name

Owner:
Parent Initiative:
Updated:

NAME
LINK
October 05, 2022

MVP Theme/Goals

[Theme / Goal]

Use Cases

Value

Costs

[Use Case 1]
[Use Case 2]
[Use Case 3]

[Business Value 1]
[Business Value 2]
[Business Value 3]

[Cost Item 1]
[Cost Item 2]
[Cost Item 3]

Impacted Personas

Impacted Workflows

Stakeholders

[Persona 1]
[Persona 2]
[Persona 3]

[Workflow 1]
[Workflow 2]
[Workflow 3]

[Stakeholder 1]
[Stakeholder 2]
[Stakeholder 3]

Build your mobile roadmap

It's more than a set of colorful boxes. It's the map to align everyone to where you are going

Your mobile roadmap

  • Lays out a strategy for your mobile application, platform and practice implementation and scaling.
  • Is a statement of intent for your mobile adoption.
  • Communicates direction for the implementation and use of mobile delivery tools, mobile applications and supporting technologies.
  • Directly connects to the organization's goals

However, it is not:

  • Representative of a hard commitment.
  • A simple combination of your current product roadmaps

Roadmap your MVPs against your milestones and release dates

This is an image of an example of a roadmap for your MVPS, with milestones across Jan 2022, Feb 2022, Mar 2022, Apr 2022. under milestones, are the following points: Points in the timeline when an established set of artifacts is complete (feature-based), or to check status at a particular point in time (time-based); Typically assigned a date and used to show progress; Plays an important role when sequencing different types of artifacts. Under Release Dates are the following points: Releases mark the actual delivery of a set of artifacts packaged together in a new version of processes and applications or new mobile application and delivery capabilities. ; Release dates, firm or not, allow stakeholders to anticipate when this is coming.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Deliver on Your Digital Product Vision blueprint.

Understand what is communicated in your roadmap

WHY is the work being done?

Explains the overarching goal of work being done to a specific audience.

WHO is doing the work?

Categorizes the different groups delivering the work on the product.

WHAT is the work being done?

Explains the artifacts, or items of work, that will be delivered.

WHEN is the work being done?

Explains when the work will be delivered within your timeline.

To learn more, visit Info-Tech's Deliver on Your Digital Product Vision blueprint.

Pay attention to organizational changes

Be prepared to answer:

"How will mobile change the way I do my job?"

  • Plan how workers will incorporate mobile applications into their way of working and maximize the features it offers.
  • Address the human concerns regarding the transition to a digital world involving modern and mobile technologies and automation.
  • Accept changes, challenges and failures with open arms and instill tactics to quickly address them.
  • Build and strengthen business-IT trust, empowerment, and collaborative culture by adopting the right practices throughout the mobile delivery process.
  • Ensure continuous management and leadership support for business empowerment, operational changes, and shifts in role definitions to best support mobile delivery.
  • Establish a committee to manage the growth, adoption, and delivery of mobile as part of a grandeur digital application portfolio and address conflicts among business units and IT.

Anticipate and prepare for changes and issues

Verify and validate the flexibility and adaptability of your mobile applications, strategy and roadmap against various scenarios

  • Scenarios
    • Application Stores Rejecting the Application
    • Security Incidents & Risks
    • Low User Adoption, Retention & Satisfaction
    • Incompatibility with User's Device & Other Systems
    • Device & OS Patches & Updates
    • Changes in Industry Standards & Regulations

Use the "Now, Next, Later" roadmap

Use this when deadlines and delivery dates are not strict. This is best suited for brainstorming a product plan when dependency mapping is not required.

Now

What are you going to do now?

Next

What are you going to do very soon?

Later

What are you going to do in the future?

This is a roadmap showing various points in the following categories: Now; Next; Later

Adapted From: "Tips for Agile product roadmaps & product roadmap examples," Scrum.org, 2017

2.3.2 Build your roadmap

1-3 hours

  1. Identify the business outcomes your mobile application delivery and MVP is expected to deliver.
  2. Build your strategic roadmap by grouping each business outcome by how soon you need to deliver it:
    1. Now: Let's achieve this ASAP.
    2. Next: Sometime very soon, let's achieve these things.
    3. Later: Much further off in the distance, let's consider these things.
  3. Identify what the critical steps are for the organization to embrace mobile application delivery and deliver your MVP.
  4. Build your tactical roadmap by grouping each critical step by how soon you need to address it:
    1. Now: Let's do this ASAP.
    2. Next: Sometime very soon, let's do these things.
    3. Later: Much further off in the distance, let's consider these things.
  5. Document your findings and discussions into Info-Tech's Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template.

Input

Output
  • List of potential MVPs
  • Mobile roadmap
MaterialsParticipants
  • Whiteboard/Flip Charts
  • Mobile Application Delivery Communication Template
  • Applications Manager
  • Product and Platform Owners
  • Software Delivery Teams
  • Business and IT Leaders

2.3.2 cont'd

Example: Tactical Roadmap

Milestone 1

  • Modify the business processes of the MVP to best leverage mobile technologies. Streamline the business processes by removing the steps that do not directly support value delivery.
  • Develop UI templates using the material design framework and the organization's design standards. Ensure it is supported on mobile devices through the mobile browser and satisfy accessibility design standards.
  • Verify and validate current security controls against latest security risks using the W3C as a starting point. Install the latest security patches to maintain compliance.
  • Acquire the Ionic SDK and upskill delivery teams.

Milestone 2

  • Update the current web framework and third-party libraries with the latest version and align web infrastructure to latest W3C guidelines.
  • Verify and validate functionality and stability of APIs with third-party applications. Begin transition to REST APIs where possible.
  • Make minor changes to the existing data architecture to better support the data volume, velocity, variety, and veracity the system will process and deliver.
  • Update the master data management with latest changes. Keep changes to a minimum.
  • Develop and deliver the first iteration of the MVP with Ionic.

Milestone 3

  • Standardize the initial mobile delivery practice.
  • Continuously monitor the system and proactively address business continuity, system stability and performance, and security risks.
  • Deliver a hands-on and facilitated training session to end users.
  • Develop intuitive user manuals that are easily accessible on SharePoint.
  • Consult end users for their views and perspectives of suggested business model and technology changes.
  • Regularly survey end users and the media to gauge industry sentiment toward the organization.

Pitch your roadmap initiatives

There are multiple audiences for your pitch, and each audience requires a different level of detail when addressed. Depending on the outcomes expected from each audience, a suitable approach must be chosen. The format and information presented will vary significantly from group to group.

Audience

Key Contents

Outcome

Outcome

  • Costs or benefits estimates

Sign off on cost and benefit projections

Executives and decision makers

  • Business value and financial benefits
  • Notable business risks and impacts
  • Business rationale and strategic roadmap

Revisions, edits, and approval

IT teams

  • Notable technical and IT risks
  • IT rationale and tactical roadmap
  • Proposed resourcing and skills capacity

Clarity of vision and direction and readiness for delivery

Business workers

  • Business rationale
  • Proposed business operations changes
  • Application roadmap

Verification on proposed changes and feedback

Continuously measure the benefits and value realized in your mobile applications

Success hinges on your team's ability to deliver business value. Well-developed mobile applications instill stakeholder confidence in ongoing business value delivery and stakeholder buy-in, provided proper expectations are set and met.

Business value defines the success criteria of an organization, and it is interpreted from four perspectives:

  • Profit Generation – The revenue generated from a business capability with mobile applications.
  • Cost Reduction – The cost reduction when performing business capabilities with mobile applications.
  • Service Enablement – The productivity and efficiency gains of internal business operations with mobile applications.
  • Customer and Market Reach – Metrics measuring the improved reach and insights of the business in existing or new markets.

See our Build a Value Measurement Framework blueprint for more information about business value definition.

Business Value Matrix

This image contains a quadrant analysis with the following labels: Left - Improved Capabilities; Top - Outward; Right - Financial Benefit; Bottom - Inward. the quadrants are labeled the following, in order from left to right, top to bottom. Customer and Market Reach; Profit Generation; Service Enhancement; Cost Reduction

Grow your mobile delivery practice

We are Here
Level 1: Mobile Delivery Foundations Level 2: Scaled Mobile Delivery Level 3: Leading-Edge Mobile Delivery

You understand the opportunities and impacts mobile has on your business operations and its disruptive nature on your enterprise systems. Your software delivery lifecycle was optimized to incorporate the specific practices and requirements needed for mobile. A mobile platform was selected based on stakeholder needs that are weighed against current skillsets, high priority non-functional requirements, the available capacity and scalability of your stack, and alignment to your current delivery process.

New features and mobile use cases are regularly emerging in the industry. Ensuring your mobile platform and delivery process can easily scale to incorporate constantly changing mobile features and technologies is key. This can help minimize the impact these changes will have on your mobile stack and the resulting experience.

Achieving this state requires three competencies: mobile security, performance optimization, and integration practices.

Many of today's mobile trends involve, in one form or another, hardware components on the mobile device (e.g., NFC receivers, GPS, cameras). You understand the scope of native features available on your end user's mobile device and the required steps and capabilities to enable and leverage them.

Grow your mobile delivery practice (cont'd)

Ask yourself the following questions:
Level 1: Mobile Delivery Foundations Level 2: Scaled Mobile Delivery Level 3: Leading-Edge Mobile Delivery

Checkpoint questions shown at the end of step 1.2 of this blueprint

You should be at this point upon the successful delivery of your first mobile application.

Security

  • Your mobile stack (application, data, and infrastructure) is updated to incorporate the security risks mobile apps will have on your systems and business operations.
  • Leading edge encryption, authentication management (e.g., multi-factor), and access control systems are used to bolster existing mobile security infrastructure.
  • Network traffic to and from mobile application is monitored and analyzed.

Performance Optimization

  • Performance enhancements are made with the entire mobile stack in mind.
  • Mobile performance is monitored and assessed with both proactive (data flow) and retroactive (instrumentation) approaches.
  • Development and testing practices and technologies accommodate the performance differences between mobile and desktop applications.

API Development

  • Existing web APIs are compatible with mobile applications, or a gateway / middleware is used to facilitate communication with backend and third-party services.
  • APIs are secured to prevent unauthorized access and misuse.
  • Web APIs are documented and standardized for reuse in multiple mobile applications.
  • Implementing APIs of native features in native and/or cross-platform and/or hybrid platforms is well understood.
  • All leading-edge mobile features are mapped to and support business requirements and objectives.
  • The new mobile use cases are well understood and account for the various scenarios/environments a user may encounter with the leading-edge mobile features.
  • The relevant non-mobile devices, readers, sensors, and other dependent systems are shortlisted and acquired to enable and support your new mobile capabilities.
  • Delivery teams are prepared to accommodate the various security, performance, and integration risks associated with implementing leading-edge mobile features. Practices and mechanisms are established to minimize the impact to business operations.
  • Metrics are used to measure the success of your leading-edge mobile features implementation by comparing its performance and acceptance against past projects.
  • Business stakeholders and development teams are up to date with the latest mobile technologies and delivery techniques.

Summary of Accomplishment

Choose Your Mobile Platform and Tools

  • User personas
  • Mobile objectives and metrics
  • Mobile opportunity backlog
  • List of mobile features to enable the desired mobile experience
  • System current assessment
  • Mobile application quality definition
  • Readiness for mobile delivery
  • Desired mobile platform approach
  • Shortlisted mobile delivery solutions
  • Desired list of vendor features and services
  • MVP design
  • Mobile delivery roadmap

If you would like additional support, have our analysts guide you through other phases as part of Info-Tech workshop.

Contact your account representative for more information

workshops@infotech.com

1-888-670-8889

Research Contributors and Experts

This is a picture of Chaim Yudkowsky, Chief Information Officer for The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Chaim Yudkowsky
Chief Information Officer
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Chaim Yudkowsky is currently Chief information Officer for American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the DC headquartered not-for-profit focused on lobbying for a strong US-Israel relationship. In that role, Chaim is responsible for all traditional IT functions including oversight of IT strategy, vendor relationships, and cybersecurity program. In addition, Chaim also has primary responsibility for all physical security technology and strategy for US offices and event technology for the many AIPAC events.

Bibliography

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Clement, J. "Share of global mobile website traffic 2015-2021". Statista, 18 Feb 2022. Web

DeVos, Jordan. "Design Problem Statements – What They Are and How to Frame Them." Toptal, n.d. Web.

Enge, Eric. "Mobile vs. Desktop Usage in 2020". Perficient, 23 March 2021. Web.

Engels, Antoine. "How many Android updates does Samsung, Xiaomi or OnePlus offer?" NextPit, Mar 2022. Web.

"Fast-tracking digital transformation through next-gen technologies". Broadridge, 2022. Web.

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"iPass Mobile Professional Report 2017". iPass, 2017. Web.

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Kemp, Simon. "Digital 2021: Global Overview Report". DataReportal, 27 Jan 2021. Web.

Kleinberg, Sara. "Consumers are always shopping and eager for your help". Google, Aug 2018. Web.

MaLavolta, Ivano. "Anatomy of an HTML 5 mobile web app". University of L'Aquila, 16 Apr 2012. Web.

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Szeja, Radoslaw. "14 Biggest Challenges in Mobile App Development in 2022". Netguru, 4 Jan 2022. Web.

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Appendix A

Sample Reference Frameworks

Reference Framework: Web Platform

Most of the operations of the applications on a web platform are executed in the mid-tier or back-end servers. End users interact with the platform through the presentation layer, developed with web languages, in the browser.

This is an image of the Reference Framework: Web Platform

Reference Framework: Mobile Web Application

Many mobile web applications are composed of JavaScript (the muscle of the app), HTML5 (the backbone of the app), and CSS (the aesthetics of the app). The user will make a request to the web server which will interact with the application to provide a response. Since each device has unique attributes, consider a device detection service to help adjust content for each type of device.

this is an image of the Reference Framework: Mobile Web Application

Source: MaLavolta, Ivono, 2012.

Web Platform: Anatomy of a Web Server

Web Server Services

  • Mediation Services: Perform transformation of data/messages.
  • Boundary Services: Provide interface protocol and data/message conversion capabilities.
  • Event Distribution: Provides for the enterprise-wide adoption of content and topic-based publish/subscribe event distribution.
  • Transport Services: Facilitate data transmission across the middleware/server.
  • Service Directory: Manages multiple service identifiers and locations.

This image shows the relationships of the various web server services listed above

Reference Framework: Hybrid Platform

Unlike the mobile web platform, most of an application's operations on the hybrid platform is on the device within a native container. The container leverages the device browser's runtime engine and is based on the framework of the mobile delivery solution.

This is an image of the Reference Framework: Hybrid Platform

Reference Framework: Native Platform

Applications on a native platform are installed locally on the device giving it access to native device hardware and software. The programming language depends on the operating system's or device's SDK.

This is an image of the Reference Framework: Native Platform

Appendix B

List of Low- and No- Code Software Delivery Solution Features

Supplementary List of Features

Graphical user interface

  • Drag-and-drop designer - This feature enhances the user experience by permitting to drag all the items involved in making an app including actions, responses, connections, etc.
  • Point and click approach - This is similar to the drag-and-drop feature except it involves pointing on the item and clicking on the interface rather than dragging and dropping the item.
  • Pre-built forms/reports - This is off-the-shelf and most common reusable editable forms or reports that a user can use when developing an application.
  • Pre-built dashboards - This is off-the-shelf and most common dashboards that a user can use when developing an application.
  • Forms - This feature helps in creating a better user interface and user experience when developing applications. A form includes dashboards, custom forms, surveys, checklists, etc. which could be useful to enhance the usability of the application being developed.
  • Progress tracking - This features helps collaborators to combine their work and track the development progress of the application.
  • Advanced Reporting - This features enables the user to obtain a graphical reporting of the application usage. The graphical reporting includes graphs, tables, charts, etc.
  • Built-in workflows - This feature helps to concentrate the most common reusable workflows when creating applications.
  • Configurable workflows - Besides built-in workflows, the user should be able to customize workflows according to their needs.

Interoperability support

  • Interoperability with external services - This feature is one of the most important features to incorporate different services and platforms including that of Microsoft, Google, etc. It also includes the interoperability possibilities among different low-code platforms.
  • Connection with data sources - This features connects the application with data sources such as Microsoft Excel, Access and other relational databases such as Microsoft SQL, Azure and other non-relational databases such as MongoDB.

Security Support

  • Application security - This feature enables the security mechanism of an application which involves confidentiality, integrity and availability of an application, if and when required.
  • Platform security - The security and roles management is a key part in developing an application so that the confidentiality, integrity and authentication (CIA) can be ensured at the platform level.

Collaborative development support

  • Off-line collaboration - Different developers can collaborate on the specification of the same application. They work off-line locally and then they commit to a remote server their changes, which need to be properly merged.
  • On-line collaboration - Different developers collaborate concurrently on the specification of the same application. Conflicts are managed at run-time.

Reusability support

  • Built-in workflows - This feature helps to concentrate the most common reusable workflows in creating an application.
  • Pre-built forms/reports - This is off-the-shelf and most common reusable editable forms or reports that a user might want to employ when developing an application.
  • Pre-built dashboards - This is off-the-shelf and most common dashboards that a user might want to employ when developing an application.

Scalability

  • Scalability on number of users - This features enables the application to scale-up with respect to the number of active users that are using that application at the same time.
  • Scalability on data traffic - This features enables the application to scale-up with respect to the volume of data traffic that are allowed by that application in a particular time.
  • Scalability on data storage - This features enables the application to scale-up with respect to the data storage capacity of that application.

Business logic specification mechanisms

  • Business rules engine - This feature helps in executing one or more business rules that help in managing data according to user's requirements.
  • Graphical workflow editor - This feature helps to specify one or more business rules in a graphical manner.
  • AI enabled business logic - This is an important feature which uses Artificial Intelligence in learning the behavior of an attributes and replicate those behaviors according to learning mechanisms.

Application build mechanisms

  • Code generation - According to this feature, the source code of the modeled application is generated and subsequently deployed before its execution.
  • Models at run-time - The model of the specified application is interpreted and used at run-time during the execution of the modeled application without performing any code generation phase.

Deployment support

  • Deployment on cloud - This features enables an application to be deployed online in a cloud infrastructure when the application is ready to deployed and used.
  • Deployment on local infrastructures - This features enables an application to be deployed locally on the user organization's infrastructure when the application is ready to be deployed and used.

Kinds of supported applications

  • Event monitoring - This kind of applications involves the process of collecting data, analyzing the event that can be caused by the data, and signaling any events occurring on the data to the user.
  • Process automation - This kind of applications focuses on automating complex processes, such as workflows, which can take place with minimal human intervention.
  • Approval process control - This kind of applications consists of processes of creating and managing work approvals depending on the authorization of the user. For example, payment tasks should be managed by the approval of authorized personnel only.
  • Escalation management - This kind of applications are in the domain of customer service and focuses on the management of user viewpoints that filter out aspects that are not under the user competences.
  • Inventory management - This kind of applications is for monitoring the inflow and outflow of goods and manages the right amount of goods to be stored.
  • Quality management - This kind of applications is for managing the quality of software projects, e.g., by focusing on planning, assurance, control and improvements of quality factors.
  • Workflow management - This kind of applications is defined as sequences of tasks to be performed and monitored during their execution, e.g., to check the performance and correctness of the overall workflow.

Source: Sahay, Apurvanand et al., 2020

Maximize the value of your mobile investments by prioritizing technology decisions on user experience, business priorities, and system quality.

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Guided Implementation #1 - Set the Mobile Context
  • Call #1 - Understand the case and motivators for mobile applications
  • Call #2 - Discuss the end user and desired mobile experience
  • Call #3 - Review technical complexities and non-functional requirement

Guided Implementation #2 - Define Your Mobile Approach
  • Call #1 - Discuss the desired mobile platform
  • Call #2 - Shortlist mobile delivery solutions and desired features
  • Call #3 - Discuss your mobile MVP
  • Call #4 - Review your mobile delivery roadmap

Author

Andrew Kum-Seun

Contributors

  • Chaim Yudkowsky, Chief Information Officer, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
  • 8 anonymous contributors
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