Are Mobile Platform Choices Limiting Enterprise Process Innovation?

It is exciting to see the rapid progress in mobile platforms over the past 10 years.  We’ve moved from a world dominated by RIM BlackBerry and Windows Mobile with little more than access to email, contacts, and calendar, to a new era of brand new platforms and capabilities.  But this massive shift in the mobile computing marketplace has left many enterprises wondering where to place their bets when it comes to mobile investments in the back office.

Mobile Platforms

IT executives should be especially fearful of the seemingly rapid rises and declines of mobile platforms.  Promising platforms like WebOS and once dominate platforms like Symbian have seen their fortunes shift almost overnight and have now been relegated to the near death category.  Investing precious past IT dollars on one of these platforms for an enterprise back office solution might now well cost an IT exec his/her job.    On the same note, investing in one of the hot consumer products by Apple and Google, while not ensuring it meets strict corporate security controls, can have equally disastrous results.

Given these choices, most organizations settle for the lowest common denominator in mobile development – HTML 5 in the mobile web browser.  While HTML5 or a hybrid web/native solution is a practical solution to avoid platform lock-in, it is ultimately settling for an inferior, slower, and less device specific experience that does not truly fulfill the promise of mobile innovation.

Truly powerful mobile experiences unlock the full capabilities of the device that HTML5 cannot touch.  Mobile features like voice capture, image/video capture, geolocation (without annoying pop-ups), etc. and all in a super fast and responsive user interface simply cannot be obtained using HTML5.  HTML5 and Javascript will always run slower than a native application, and the API’s for voice, camera, etc.  just don’t exist for a pure mobile web interface.

Given the current mobile market dynamics, we can’t expect the same platform homogeny that existed with Microsoft Windows in the PC market over the past 20+ years.  Enterprises must start looking towards platforms that enable process innovation across multiple mobile device platforms, while at the same time removing platform specific risk and complexity.

This tenant has been core to Appian’s vision for the future mobile workforce.  The Appian BPM Suite has led the market in ease-of-use in process modeling and deployment, and our approach to mobile is equally as simple and easy to deploy.  Using native client apps for each major device, developers can immediately deploy innovative process solutions without writing a single line of code for a specific mobile platform.

We at Appian are very excited about helping our customers unleash the power of these mobile devices and changing the very meaning of work.  If you’d like to learn more, check out some of our white-papers and recorded webinars.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing