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Cross Platform Mobile Apps Development – ‘One size fits all’ does not fit

‘One size fits all’ rarely fits in the real world and the same is true when selecting the right platform to develop mobile applications.  Mobile cross platform development tools are well beyond the traditional hype cycle and actively being leveraged all over the world to deliver real business value.  As new mobile form factors emerge, the ability to quickly, easily and inexpensively extend your brand, your applications, your business processes, and your systems onto the new form factors makes these tools key to enterprises going forward.

 

‘Know thy User’

Understanding who you are trying to reach and what business objective you are trying to achieve with your app is all part of the decision-making process.  As a general guideline, the closer your business process gets to the end customer the more likely you will need to leverage native applications.  These platforms are continuing to evolve as illustrated by the evolution of the Android platform over the past 4 years (see graphic below).  Tool vendors for cross platform development will be eternally playing catch up in terms of features and providing access to the latest device capabilities.  Anything that requires intense demand upon the platform in terms of user experience, interaction, or graphical rendering (i.e. games and augmented reality) will always require pieces of native development to complement the cross platform SDKs.

 

Android Infographic 3.jpg 

 

‘One Size Fits All’ Does Not Fit

Assuming that one platform will meet all your enterprise requirements is a fallacy.  We in IT have tried to do this for years - to control costs and provide stronger governance around applications.   With consumerization, the user expectations around the platforms have set the bar extremely high. The amount of hyper-personalization that is expected within our applications has grown to the point where I have seen very few enterprises being able to effectively leverage this model to its advantage.  Additionally, mobility and democratization of IT has enabled a level of decentralization to spur innovation around processes and business models. Most organizations are seeing this as a competitive advantage going forward and their goal is to enable this.  Very few tools can be all things to all people and we need to keep that in mind with our development platforms as well.

 

If Content is King, User Experience is Queen

Too many times, I see people trying to select the cross platform tool before they have figured out how they intend to address the problem at hand.  I believe more people should focus on figuring out 1) what functionality/content to render and 2) how they will enable the functionality through a powerful user experience that resonates with their intended audience and drives user adoption.  I have never seen an app fail to gain user adoption because of platform or toolset (unless it had functional/performance tools). But I have seen many apps fail because the users did not find the application intuitive and easy to use.  And where is the business value in that? 

 

Key Point:  Must consider Form Factor, Hardware, and Gestures

I cannot stress enough: Designing an app for the iPhone is different than designing one for Android or Windows and expecting interaction design to extend to other form factors (tablets and televisions) is a bad assumption; UI and UX metaphors for operating systems and form factors are different.   Good cross-platform applications look at home on whatever platform; bad cross-platform applications try to look identical regardless of platform,  i.e. if your Android app has a back button on the screen or if you think extending the app to a tablet is a feature; you’re probably missing the point.

 

Based on research, we have seen a high level of experimentation with developers on tools/platform that far outpaces what we have seen historically in PC development.  Cost is clearly a boundary that we all must manage to, but as long as the business focus is maintained – I have rarely seen this to be the limiting factor. Repeatedly, with the clients we serve globally, the business case is what drives the mobility initiative.

 

Mobility is breaking many of the traditional ‘mainstays’ of technology and cross platform is no exception.  Business focus on serving your customers should be the primary focus in tools selection. The assumption that all uses cases will fit within that framework will result in developers focused on technology and not on designing and developing applications that people will want to use.  Check out more on our thoughts in this video by Andrew Mitchell

or at  hp.com/services/es-mobile-apps .

 

This is our second blog as part of the Knowledge Matters program for mobility. You can check out our Mobile Madness. What is my strategy? blog by Darren McGrath on developing your mobile enterprise strategy.  We’re covering key mobile topics such as mobile apps strategy, government and mobility, controlling costs, mobile device management, mobile cloud, and other key topics designed to help you be successful in the mobile enterprise market.

 

I have shared my perspective - I would love to hear yours.

Comments
Cross Platform Mobile Apps (anon) | ‎07-02-2012 10:41 AM

 Fantastic blog! I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your blog is outstanding; the issue is something that not a lot of people are talking intelligently about it. I’m really happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

This blog helps well in understanding the complexity in cross platform mobile apps development. As a beginner in  app development i'm very much excited to know 'One Size Fits All' Does not fit, and now came to know the actual cross platform mobile apps developement. Thanks for Sharing !

AwesomeBytes(anon) | ‎08-13-2012 08:51 PM

Great article, it explains things well.  I'm so glad others are starting to discuss these things in this manner because so many people think cross platform tools are always the best way to go when building mobile applications.  Maybe someday they will be, but right now they're still rough around the edges and don't fit every situation.

 

I've experienced this issue first hand at my prior company.  Before coming over to the awesome side (HP) I was a developer within a small development group doing mainly web application development but I also programmed for iOS on the side just for fun.  Once upper management started bringing their iOS devices into the office (alongside their already existing BlackBerry devices), they began requesting access to the wireless network, then requested some of our enterprise applications be made to work with their devices in a more user friendly manner and also requested new, custom made apps be created for those devices.  I had already researched some of the 3rd party, cross platform development tools such as PhoneGap, RhoMobile, Corona SDK, and Sencha Touch on my own so I was excited to help them out.  I tried to use some of the third party SDK's and tools but found they were more trouble than they were worth in many cases.  We ended up working on native apps instead to offer a much better user experience with much better features for each platform.

 

Some of the cross platform tools and methodologies work great for some situations, but they certainly don't fit all of them.

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About the Author
Bryan Coapstick is the Director of Mobile Innovation at HP. In this role, he is responsible for driving strategic mobility initiatives and k...
About the Author(s)
  • Business Development leader for HP’s Testing Practice in Americas and TaaS Global Capability Leader
  • Anthony works in the ES Apps Enterprise APJ . He is a self-motivated and well-disposed individual. He is a certified SAP FICO consultant. He has over twenty years industry experience in business transformation and Information Technology consulting (SAP). With excellent, interpersonal and communication skills, Anthony is able to influence and motivate at all levels. An empathic team player, He derives fulfilment in contributing towards others' development. Anthony possesses good analytical and problem-solving skills. He is a quick thinker, remains calm under pressure, handles multiple tasks, and accomplishes objectives with excellent time management. He is flexible and accustomed to meeting high standards and deadlines. Anthony possesses practical knowledge of business processes and concepts and has a keen eye for detail. He is aware of the importance of an effective system and quality management.
  • Bryan Coapstick is the Director of Mobile Innovation at HP. In this role, he is responsible for driving strategic mobility initiatives and key industry partnerships to enable clients the ability to leverage the mobile channel to effectively reach their customers. Bryan’s expertise lies with several Fortune 200 companies in both public and private sectors that focus on business technology and emerging strategies. Bryan demonstrates innovative leadership though public speaking, panel discussions and blogging on the various ways mobility is changing our daily lives.
  • Benjamin Romberg has over twenty five years experience in the IT industry, the last twelve of which have been as a testing professional. He has experience as a test analyst, performance tester, automation specialist, test lead, test manager, test consultant and test executive. He has worked on all types of testing engagements ranging from small web based applications through to core system upgrades. Benjamin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Genetics, a Post Graduate Degree in Software Engineering and an Executive Masters in Business Administration. Benjamin now leads HP’s Testing and Quality Assurance Practice in Asia Pacific and Japan.
  • Over the past 5 years, I have participated in the different stages of delivering Microsoft Enterprise Applications to customers as large as 40.000 concurrent users across Europe with a focus on the public and call center sector. During this period, I worked in numerous technical (lead) and business consultant roles. Using this experience, I am currently a certified Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 expert which specializes in guiding enterprise customers and implementation teams through the process of implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.
  • Craig has been with HP for 10 years working on the solutioning side as a Solution Architect. Primarily works with Microsoft technologies and has for the better part of 16 years. This past year Craig has worked mostly with Windows AZURE and the mobility side of Windows Phone 7/8 and Android.
  • Master Business Consultant and Distinguished SE with 35+ years of IT experience, specializing in SOA and Integration.
  • Daniel Amor (EMEA, AMOD, Cloud, Portals, Web Apps and SOA domain expert): Daniel has designed, won, led and delivered large-scale, complex applications-related projects by acting as a trusted advisor to clients. Daniel conducts regular training and client-facing sessions, and he has authored six books and numerous articles in European and US-based magazines and newspapers on IT change. He is a regular lecturer and he speaks on Portals, E-Business and Cloud.
  • Global HP Microsoft Business Applications Practice. Microsoft Dynamics CRM subject matter expert. Based in Manchester, United Kingdom. @DarrenCRM on Twitter
  • Solutions Architect working at HP since 2002 with focus on Applications Modernization, located at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Managing Consulting specialising in Business Transformation and Value Management for Defence, Healthcare, Public Sector, Criminal Justice and Telecommunications.
  • Guido Arndt is since May 1997 business consultant and project manager @ Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services. Main focus is strategic and organizational alignment of logistics, sales and production processes in the automotive and manufacturing industry as well as business performance projects in finance and telecommunication industry. Guido has experience as change agent and transformation manager in people-driven merger & aquisition projects focusing government, consulting firms, manufacturing plants and consumer brands.
  • Horia Slușanschi serves as an Agile Coach leading the HP Agile Mentoring Office and the HP Software Engineering Profession. He is passionate about helping teams and leaders to find joy in work in the pursuit of customer delight.
  • CISSP, Open CA Master Architect Technical Consultant with 28+ years of IT experience specializing in Application Security, Solution Architecture, Portals, Social Business, and Integration
  • Jim has been with HP for 33 years and currently leads a global Strategic Capabilities Management team, with a specific focus on Business Analysis and Configuration Management. Jim also manages a team within the US State, Local, and Education division of HP. He was a member of the IIBA committee that created a Business Analyst Competency Model and he participated in the development of IEEE standards. Jim graduated from Harvard University, the University of British Columbia, and Ottawa Theological Hall. He currently lives in Toronto, Canada.
  • SAP Technologist from APPS GD SAP Practice - Manila covering SAP NetWeaver EP, SAP Mobility and general SAP solutions.
  • WW product marketing manager for HP Applications Modernization and Transformation Consulting Services. 35+ years of IT technology and services experience.
  • Laurence has over 35 years experience in the IT industry and has spent 27 years delivering knowledge management (and before that became fashionable, Artificial Intelligence and knowledge-based systems) transformation projects to clients in Government, Industry, Manufacturing and Telecomms industries. He has developed and implemented knowledge management (KM) strategies for HP's clients and for business areas in HP (for BPO and for our Consulting business) and believes that KM strategy is essential for an effective KM practice.
  • . . Service Systems . .
  • Lori Lewis leads Global Digital and Integrated Marketing for the Applications and Business Services division in HP’s Enterprise Services. The organization is focused on providing clients with enterprise applications services and solutions to solve some of their most pressing business problems. For over 2 decades, she has championed innovative communication approaches to drive and grow market share and build motivated, empowered teams. She is a compelling, passionate ambassador of the art and science of marketing and the amazing results it can achieve when done with integrity and passion. Ms. Lewis’ credentials, track record, and enthusiasm are essential ingredients her team relies on as they work together to establish HP as the undisputed leader in information management and analytics services.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution architect, C# developer, MBA, husband, father, Auburn man. Follow me on Twitter @lucas_is.
  • CRM enthusiast, avid techie
  • More than 10 years of experience in developing effective and innovative marketing and communication strategies. Recently I have studied the effects of social media and disruptive technology on business, marketing, and culture. Follow me on Twitter: @micaelaraimondi
  • Agile Champion and coach. Passion in software development using lean and agile techniques. Software is a people business!!
  • Have 11 years of experience in SAP Consulting, Solutioning and Account management.
  • I have over 20 years of I.T. experience predominantely in applications development. In addition to my I.T. experience I spent 7 years as the Director of Store Services at Canada's third largest grocery retailer.
  • Shafraz Nasser is the Lead Microsoft CRM Architect with HP Enterprise Services in the South Pacific Microsoft Dynamics Practice. His focus is on selling, architecting and overseeing delivery of Microsoft Dynamics CRM based implementations within New Zealand.
  • Shefali Dua is leading Worldwide BPaaS Strategy & Solution Innovation team at HP Enterprise Services as the Solution Innovation Manager. Her focus is currently assisting in planning and delivery of industry solutions for verticals like social media, big data, mobility and security on the HP Enterprise Cloud offerings for CRM Technologies.
  • Steve Petruno is a Product Manager for HP’s Global Oracle Services with over 24 years experience in the Information Technology industry, project Management, Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits, ERP implementations, upgrades, acquisitions and divestitures.
  • I have worked for HP as a business consultant for seven years, providing process, strategy and business transformation advice in the Financial Services and UK Government sectors. As part of this I have used Lean and Continuous Improvement techniques to assess and improve business performance, ensure regulatory compliance and improve environmental sustainability.
  • Tom is the Global Product Marketing lead for HP's Cloud Applications Services. Tom has over 20 years of experience in information technology and a proven track record for implementing innovative client solutions in several industries including government, healthcare, and telecommunications. He thrives on developing services and solutions which result in business process improvement through greater systems efficiency.
  • Vijay Seetharaman is an Enterprise Architect within HP Enterprise Services - Industry Transformation Consulting practice, focusing on Cloud and Mobility


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