The Need for Speed…Race to Mobility

Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876, 136 years ago. According to a recent article in MIT’s Technology Review, landline phones took almost a century to reach saturation but mobile phones took just 20 years. Smart phones are on track to saturate at half the rate, while tablets could tap out even faster. Are government agencies and companies ready for the speed of change, have a process and plan for enterprise mobility?

A few good Appianites presented at and attended a recent event on Mobile Government Implementation Strategies in Washington DC. The executive briefing shared mobility opportunities and challenges, and how government agencies are approaching enterprise architectures, communication strategies, and security. The 1105 Media hosted event featured a number of luminary speakers, including:

  • Lee Rainie, Director of Pew Internet and America Life Project, and Co-Author of Networked: The New Social Operating System
  • Tim Schmidt, Deputy Chief Information Office, Department of Transportation
  • Dr. Robert (Rocky) Young, Cyber Security and IT Specialist, Defense Information Assurance Program, Office of the Security of Defense, Networks and Information Integration Department of Defense
  • Chris O’Connell, Vice President, Federal, Appian

Here are a few themes from the event:

The Need for Speed
One of the key themes repeated by speakers at the event was the need for speed. Both Schmidt and Dr. Young mentioned the speed with which mobile hardware devices and software operating systems are coming to market, then taken off the market. The speed and variety of mobile options are presenting challenges to IT organizations to manage, maintain, support, and secure the myriad of mobile devices available to consumers today, as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) becomes more prevalent in the workplace.

In particular, the rapid changes in hardware directly impacts mobile software application development. The traditional time frames of 6-18 months to create and deploy software will miss refresh cycles of mobile hardware, so mobile software apps need to be created faster. In addition, one should factor in support for multiple devices, which will further lengthen the application development cycle.

Appian’s approach to enterprise mobile applications development and deployment is simple and easy. We can significantly speed up the time in creating new mobile-enabled process applications that are enterprise-ready, process and data-driven, and available in the cloud. A recent mobile field inspection project with Starbucks, for example, took only 6 weeks to implement.

With just one-click, designers with no mobile development experience can make a custom form mobile ready for all major mobile devices. Furthermore, these forms are enriched with data validation, complex formatting, business rules, event actions, and multiple language support to provide a rich and dynamic user experience. Take advantage of other mobile features like collaboration, task list, inline approvals, notifications, image and voice capture with Appian BPM Software.

Disposable Apps
Related to the speed in developing apps, Schmidt from the Department of Transportation (DOT) shared the concept and practice of “disposable apps”. Mobile applications get rated, and the lowest rated apps will be dropped from the DOT apps marketplace. In the past, organizations were married to certain applications due to the significant sunk cost involved in creating the app – even if the app was not good.

That’s no longer the case. With more mobile apps entering the marketplace, consumer ratings and low-to-no trial cost, users demand better quality mobile applications. This is increasingly the case for organizations and enterprise users as well.

Appian’s speed in creating apps will help organizations deploy mobile apps faster. Just as importantly, making changes in Appian BPM is quick and easy. If the mobile app needs to be updated to address new requirements, changes could be made extremely rapidly to meet evolving end user needs.

Real-Time Data
Another topic that was brought up in the morning was the use of real-time data. Again, Schmidt from the DOT referenced a recent announcement from the White House about enabling real-time safety data from the data.gov site. In the past, publicly available safety data was typically 3 years-old on average.

In today’s world of instant messaging, 140-character tweets, real-time streaming videos, and live broadcasts, users want information on demand. This includes reports that used to take hours to compile and data that may reside in different systems.

Appian has always supported the use of real-time data for faster decision-making, collaboration, and process automation. The Analytics Engine that comes with every Appian BPM provides real-time analysis of process and task performance across every automated processes in the Appian Process Engine. Users can access real-time reports for better visibility and insight.

Share Apps and Services
Lastly, a key topic is on sharing of mobile apps from other agencies as to not re-invent the wheel and drive down costs. DOT uses an Ideation application that was borrowed from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and it saved the organization both time and money. Indeed, Federal CIO Steven Van Roekel announced the Federal IT Shared Services Strategy last month to maximize ROI, improve productivity, and further national priorities as part of the Federal IT Initiatives.

Appian can drive down costs across the Federal Government and public sector. Mobile-enabled and process-driven applications from Appian can be exported with the click of a button and shared within the federal community or within an organization. Changes can be easily configured to ensure the app will meet a specific agency or program’s mission.  The ease of exporting and sharing Appian apps will save time and money without sacrificing the mission.

If you’d like to learn more about what Appian BPM can do for your enterprise mobile efforts, request a call or start a free 30-day trial of the Appian Cloud BPM today.

Cindy Cheng

Director of Product Marketing