Let’s face it: The bring-your-own-device discussion is over, and the smartphones and tablets have won.
It’s time to move on to the real challenge: How do you support using mobile devices, particularly when it comes to managing data?
“A new era of development is on the horizon, particularly in the area of data integration,” writes Robert Fox, a senior director at Liaison Technologies. “As the consumerization of IT fully dominates the enterprise IT landscape, many CIOs are concerned with how device proliferation will impact data integration and cloud-based enterprise apps.”
In a recent SandHill article, Fox recounts the evolution of mobile technology and use. The game really changes when smartphones come on the scene, as business users began to access corporate email and other enterprise apps through the phone’s Web browsers and emails apps.
“Cloud-based services also have surged, making it easier to interact with enterprise software and deliver content 24/7 to mobile devices via the Internet,” Fox writes. “This delivery platform also has pushed businesses to extend and improve their applications as the user interface (UI) must be presented via HTML.”
Businesses are starting to adapt as well, particularly since they see the value in being able to extend not only the work environment, but the workday as well. That’s prompting many IT shops to consider how best to integrate enterprise applications and data with mobile devices.
Liaison offers a B2B/EAI cloud-based solution, thanks in part to its previous acquisition of B2B company Hubspan last year, so it’s not as if the company’s unbiased in this position.
Fox overseas B2B/EAI software, which means he’s bringing a B2B integration background to this discussion, as opposed to a more all-purpose approach to data integration.
Why does that matter? Traditional B2B integration by its nature has a longer history of sharing of data outside the firewall with other business partners. In this way, it more closely resembles the kind of issues you’d be addressing with mobile data integration — although, it’s important to note that more traditional data integration vendors will be entering this market as well. In fact, when I wrote about it in 2011, T-Mobile relied on the technology of enterprise data vendors.
In recent years, more B2B companies have been shifting that integration work to the cloud, which again, may better position these companies to move into the mobile space.
Fox points out the following advantages to cloud-based integration:
- Reduced infrastructure costs
- No need to install or manage middleware
- Supports easy connection and interaction between mobile devices and services, “via well-defined RESTful APIs. So much so, mobile devices are now unquestionably a very viable target for integration.”
And then there’s this: If it’s deployed in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about on-premise integration dragging down the mobile app’s speed.
“Going forward, applications that provide rich reporting, business analytics, BAM, audit/log viewing and easy access to data from mobile devices are fast becoming requirements,” he writes. “The future of enterprise applications for mobile devices is ultimately about providing the workforce with the data they need, when they need it and where they need it.”