Most organizations are well aware that mobile devices and applications are changing how they do business with customers and partners, and how their employees accomplish their work. Mobile business apps are developed to provide useful services that are designed specifically for mobile devices, focusing only on the most relevant streamlined capabilities. Well-designed apps also reflect an in-depth understanding of how different people use mobile devices.
The effectiveness of business mobile apps is ultimately about connecting users to the information and data that they need anywhere, anytime. Business data is frequently stored on multiple platforms, inside and outside the firewall, with varying levels of security and portability. End-to-end task workflows may even take place on multiple platforms. Savvy organizations are catching on that the mobile revolution cannot be stopped. It's best to proactively work out how to govern the mobile tools of the workforce.
Data management and governance, as well as flexible data integration processes, are key components of acquiring and integrating cloud and mobile data with on-premises data repositories. Data in the cloud has been a significant challenge for a while, with each cloud service providing proprietary APIs as the main means for connecting to data. But data residing on mobile devices introduces a whole new world of challenges, including serious security concerns.
As the use of mobile devices and apps for business activities continues to proliferate and fragment data, the standing of data integration as a mission critical technology escalates. What has changed for data integration solutions is the demand for more ways to create and use integration processes. To meet such demand, data integration platforms not only need to be high performance, they must continue to innovate ways to connect to data where it lives and then perform any number of actions to take data where it is needed.
Speeding Mobile App Development: API Management Platforms
Agility, flexibility and rapid development are key attributes for the mobile app creation process. Developers of mobile apps have an increasing number of cloud services and platforms that provide reusable components, including numerous JSON and REST APIs that enable data access, as well as the means for navigating security and authentication policies.
Mobile apps both generate and use APIs. On the generation side, APIs that are not well designed or properly built come with a high cost over long-term usage. On the API usage side, in the past, mobile app developers had to embed numerous SDKs directly into the app, which would require constant care and management. API management and integration platforms have been created specifically for mobile app development to orchestrate and enable data integration needs, so that mobile developers don't have to keep re-inventing the wheel when it comes to API creation and usage. These cloud-based integration management platforms cover many of the services that are needed for well-performing mobile apps. Indeed agile API management has become essential for smoothly-running mobile apps.
Governance and Security
As with any data-related functions, working with mobile / cloud data integration and APIs requires comprehensive governance and management, to ensure streamlined usability in mobile apps (or cloud services) while adhering to the overall data governance practices for the organization. If an organization doesn't address API management as a critical component of managing mobile app development and usage, many problems can and will result. Security guidelines are also critical for mobile practices.
Ultimately all data usage must in some way align to centralized management to ensure integrated policies, practices and processes across the organization. While the mobile device may be the activity point, the data used and created is still part of a bigger picture. On the other hand, data management practices and policies have to be balanced with enabling the workforce to make good use of cloud and mobile technologies, to more effectively perform work on behalf of the organization.
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About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitive and on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting