It’s clear by now that there is a hungry audience for applications developed for use on their mobile devices. The hunger extends now well into business and mobile savvy employees are clamoring for apps that extend to business use. Already apps and mobile accessories are taking credit cards regardless of where the transaction happens, business folks want to have similar freedom to access other forms of business transaction using their own mobile device.
Mobile application development and the platforms that support them are maturing and enterprises of all sizes and industries are putting strain on IT departments everywhere. As Charlotte Dunlap, an analyst at Current Analysis, Inc., puts it “Backend integration is the biggest headache for enterprise developers. They are under tremendous pressure to provide the workforce with these mobile apps right now and they have to unlock those legacy systems.”
Legacy systems that are not always easy to integrate and most depend on APIs to bridge the legacy system to provide mobile functionality in a mobile app. As Michael Facemire, a senior analyst at Forrester, Inc., a research firm based in Cambridge, Mass puts it “The Holy Grail is mobilizing the enterprise and adding the ability to manage APIs on top of development tools”.
Amazon Web Services thinks so too.
They recently introduced a cross-platform notification service so that mobile apps can proactively keep their users aware of critical events and relevant information. Their introduction of “Mobile Push” a managed push navigation service utilizes on simple API so that application developers can easily send notifications to Apple iOS, Google Android and Kindle Fire devices.
Yet another example of a major cloud provider pushing the development community to produce more innovative apps, Amazon is letting all AWS customers use Mobile Push for free at first allowing them a million notifications a month at no cost. Above that and they charge you $1.00 per million push messages. “Many customers tell us they build and maintain their own mobile push services, even though they find this approach expensive, complex and error-prone,” said Raju Gulabani, Vice President of Database Services, AWS. “Amazon SNS with Mobile Push takes these concerns off the table with one simple cross-platform API, a flat low price and a free tier that means many customers won’t pay anything until their applications achieve scale.”
This is good for enterprises wishing to build useful applications for mobile business use but the pressure to do it all is still difficult for most IT departments. To meet both the need for attacking legacy system integration while also developing the critical applications your business is demanding you might do well to outsource some parts of both projects. Few businesses can afford to maintain the kind of expertise needed to rebuild old systems to meet new needs and keep a stable of application developers on hand too. Outsourcing the application development to well managed teams of third party developers can allow you to focus your resources on legacy integration or vice versa.
Either way mobile apps are here to stay and their impact on business will only put more pressure on internal IT departments. Seeking outsourced solutions for ‘back-filling” your IT workforce might just be the way to successfully meeting both needs.
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