Introducing App Cloud Mobile
Last month, Salesforce introduced a new strategic mobile technology offering for businesses, in the shape of the Salesforce App Cloud Mobile, having recently been named a leader in Gartner’s 2016 Magic Quadrant for Mobile App Development Platforms.
Salesforce revealed that its motivation behind this announcement stemmed from enterprise IT teams needing a platform that’s agile yet powerful enough to meet the expectations of modern professionals for a social, mobile, and intelligent app experience.
With Gartner predicting that 75% of application purchases supporting digital business ‘will be build rather than buy’ by 2020, it’s no surprise Salesforce has devoted such efforts to make developing enterprise mobile apps easier, faster, and more accessible for both technical and non-technical users.
“By 2020, 75% of application purchases supporting digital business will be build not buy,” according to GartnerClick to tweet
But there are a number of interesting conclusions which can be drawn from this move, outside of Salesforce’s push to become a dominant enterprise mobility platform. I sat down with MobileCaddy Co-Founder and CEO, Justin Halfpenny, to discuss some of the resulting implications on the wider app market which are likely to influence mobile strategies over the coming years.
Impacting the Enterprise
“Firstly, the announcement can be seen as an acknowledgement on Salesforce’s behalf that mobile apps are moving firmly into the mainstream of how businesses of all sizes plan to operate for the foreseeable future,” Justin explained.
“The other thing which is evident from the announcement is that Salesforce is finally giving clear categorisation to the technology choices on offer to their enterprise customers, which will in-turn provide more clarity for IT decision makers looking to understand which mobile app solution is most suitable for their specific requirements.”
Those ‘technology choices’ of course refer to the three different elements which make up the App Cloud Mobile:
- ‘Simple Productivity Apps’ built as Salesforce1 mobile apps
- ‘High-Control Custom Apps’ built as hybrid or native with the Salesforce Mobile SDK
- ‘Highly Scalable Apps’ built as hybrid or native with the Heroku PaaS.
The separation of these solutions, which displays a very hierarchical pattern in terms of complexity and capability, suggests that as businesses begin to depend on mobility to support more critical workflows, the ability to ‘build rather than buy’ apps will become far more necessary.
“What that means,” Justin continued, “is that the market will begin to see a very strong emphasis on a fairly new aspect of applications, which is what we call the app performance. As these highly complex and powerful apps begin to become commonplace in a mobile context, the need to deliver app performance will become a much more recognised requirement for businesses.”
Emphasising App Performance
App performance essentially represents the need to ensure that an app can do its job, without any risk or compromise, post-deployment, and that it will continue to do so throughout its entire lifecycle. Enterprises that are used to more traditional desktop applications supporting their fundamental processes will have to grasp the concept, and the importance of that concept, very quickly, as they transition to a mobile-first business landscape.
“That’s where the App Cloud Mobile is different from the standard Salesforce App Cloud. When an app is on a mobile device, it no longer has the support of the Salesforce server, and it’s in a much more volatile environment with a higher risk of failure. If the app performance is now down to the business, and the business is using mobile apps to enhance truly critical processes, that’s when the importance of a comprehensive, end-to-end solution becomes so clearly evident,” said Justin.
So what does this mean for the professionals that are looking to implement one of these three technology choices within their business, exactly?
Well, it means that if a business leader is in need of a mobile solution which can surpass the limitations of Salesforce’s ‘simple productivity’, they’ll need to look beyond the build and design phases of their custom app, and also prepare to maintain its performance once deployed, while factoring in plans for future upgrades to match the rapid pace of change in the market.
How this relates back to Salesforce’s recent announcement is that the three categorisations of the App Cloud Mobile now make it far easier for IT teams to align their technology choices with their business requirements, to ensure they’re achieving the optimum value from their mobile app investments. By seeing clear lines drawn between the capabilities of a limited, low value Salesforce1 app, and a rich, high performance custom app, it becomes far easier to satisfy the expectations of both users and business leaders with ease.
“It’s becoming increasingly common for enterprise mobile requirements to be focusing on line-of-business apps, which are generally more complex and lend themselves to mission critical processes,” Justin added. “This will fall, most often, into the High-Control Custom App category, putting that emphasis on app performance at the forefront of IT priorities in the immediate future.”
MobileCaddy = Mission Critical Mobility
This represents a significant change in how the mobile app market will be approached by businesses. From a MobileCaddy point of view, it reiterates the core belief upon which the company has been built, and is extremely encouraging to see Salesforce adjusting their perspective on mobile solutions in agreement with the need for complete reliability from an app’s performance.
“MobileCaddy, as a solution, is all about the performance of its mobile apps. We’ve anticipated that businesses will eventually need to mobilise all their mission critical processes, and that simply cannot be done if there is any risk of app failure,” said Justin.
“As a result, we’ve incorporated unique features such as full offline data and logic, customisable UI, performance monitoring and analytics, versionable architecture, and much more, to ensure that enterprises building apps on that higher level of the technology ladder can deliver exactly what their users need with absolute confidence.”
Opportunities for Enterprise IT
In terms of a ‘bigger picture’ trend, Justin sees this as an opportunity for enterprises to now use IT as a key differentiator. Business leaders should begin to look at mobile apps which support critical workflows as extensions of the business itself. When leveraging advanced technology solutions to embed these apps into such fundamental business processes, they’ll provide undeniable advantages in solving either employee or customer-driven points of pain.
“Of course, it’s one thing to build these apps, but enterprises need technologies available to them that are as simple and affordable as they are convenient. MobileCaddy, as a platform, was also built specifically to reduce the cost of developing these apps, not just in terms of initial development, but also in subsequent maintenance and upgrades as well – all with the objective of delivering that desired app performance with affordability, capability, and reliability.”