Future-proof your IT Investment with Low-Cost, Low-Code, Multi-Platform App Development
Bring mobile device agility back to your business
Mid-sized organisations are feeling the squeeze when it comes to the development, deployment, integration and management of their mobile applications. Drew Davies, Senior Systems Developer at Panasonic discusses how these businesses can take back control and future-proof their IT investment with multi-platform application design.
Technological advances are providing businesses with a new world of opportunity to reinvent the way they interact with their customers using mobile computing devices and applications. But these opportunities also often require major change and investment. If you are a mid-sized organisation, without the big budgets to employ global systems integrators, how do you compete in this fast-changing world?
Traditionally systems and applications were siloed but this approach has had to change. Today there is the opportunity to integrate systems and capture data at every point of contact with the customer. This data can be turned into competitive advantage if it can be shared across the organisation in real-time. In days gone by, this would have meant months, if not years, of coding, system integration and testing. Fortunately, the emergence of Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAP) has cut years and months to days and hours.
MEAP simplifies the complexity of mobile applications to enable organisations to build, deploy, manage and run applications using a single mobility platform. It makes it easy for anyone regardless of technical expertise, to deploy new apps and software and manage mobile devices.
The challenges facing today’s mobile app developers are many with an increasing number of mobile devices and potential applications. For each new project, there are a number of elements to be considered including data access, security, off-line capabilities, and back-end integration.
In addition, there is also an increasing release cycle of new or updated operating systems to deal with. Android, for example, is driven by a consumer agenda. Updates come regular, on average every 12-18 months, to stay up to date with the latest requirements of consumer technology. However, these rapid updates to the OS can be disruptive for business and dealing with their implications on the business network, applications and hardware can be a major drain on resources without the right tools.
The Low Code Advantage
A MEAP helps alleviate these pressures. It simplifies the development process with intuitive what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) visual app development and testing tools, seamless application automation, and streamlined app distribution services. Delivering applications in multiple languages and creating documentation also becomes a simple point and click exercise.
Single Development, Multi-Deployment
Through the use of an abstraction engine, apps can be built once and deployed on multiple mobile platforms including Windows 10, WinCE, Windows Mobile and Android. The applications are easily adapted to the different mobile devices in use regardless of manufacturer. For example, changing screen size, aspect ratio and DPI resolution as required.
Intelligence at the Edge
The approach also helps businesses transition from using simple to intelligent mobile computing devices in the field. Adding new functionality to applications and hardware such as scanners and readers, GPS navigation, photo and video capture, audio and smart sensors can be quickly and simply achieved.
At Panasonic, our MEAP of choice is the MCL Mobility Platform. Cloud-based, the MCL Mobility Platform is much more than a MEAP, we consider it a MEAP+ - it can bridge to back-end systems, store data, provide MDM functionality and also has its own application development environment.
Used effectively, the MCL Mobility Platform can help place the business firmly in the hands of the operational, rather than IT, people; shifting the business away from a typically technically-driven to a much more operationally-driven approach.
I have experienced first-hand how intuitive it is to design and develop smart meter reading applications for the utilities sector, proof of delivery applications for logistics firms, inventory management applications for warehouses and field engineering applications. It offers a future-proof solution to application development, deployment, management and operation that will give mid-sized businesses the ability to compete with even the largest enterprises.
Header image from Andrey Suslov/shutterstock.com.