The Mobile App Revolution: What's Holding You Back?

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 5.32.17 PMIt’s a #mobileapprevolution! Unless you’ve been living in a cave over the last few years, you know that mobile apps are eating the world.  Apps are consuming your customers, partners, and employees. And even connecting with your products. It’s a call to arms for businesses of every type, size, and industry. The mobile revolution is changing how and where you interact, and the very nature of your interactions. No industry is immune. It’s similar to the rise of the web, but it’s happening faster and taking us new places. It’s giving rise to always on, always available, inherently vocal, overly-sharing consumers. Who—by the way—are 4x more engaged on their mobile devices. And who feel more connected, too.

 This isn’t news for most companies, but there’s still an overwhelming gap between the number of the business apps used by companies and their B2B customers and the proliferation of single purpose, single event use, Angry Birds type consumer apps. Both line of business and IT leaders feel the urgency. And in some cases the line of business is taking things into their own hands in the race to meet customer demands and counter market pressures. The question that is plaguing both is: how can we get there faster than the painfully slow cycle of building desktop applications?

What’s holding companies back from engaging their customers and employees on mobile?

Salesforce customers tell us these are their main obstacles:

 1) Legacy systems

The platforms that powered business ten years ago are not designed to keep pace with today's social and mobile connected customers. Legacy platforms like Lotus Notes, .NET and Oracle were all created before social and mobile technologies took hold. They require complex software stacks to continually upgrade along with on-going hardware maintenance. Desktop user interfaces don’t translate easily (if at all) on mobile devices. Delivering enterprise data securely, and combining with other mobile data even in the presentation layer is hard. These last-generation application platforms mean long development cycles and brittle, painfully slow-to-update applications. Every upgrade ends up another development project. 

 2) IT focus on infrastructure

80% of IT time, resources, and budget is spent on keeping the lights on. Savvy IT departments realize they don’t want to be in the business of infrastructure maintenance. They are changing their focus to lead innovation, creating business value, and driving growth. At the heart of this shift is the cloud, which allows IT to focus on building modern apps that drive business success, without having to manage the infrastructure to run them.

 3) Finding mobile developers

We hear about the challenges of taking current resources and getting them up to speed on developing mobile. We recently asked a group of CIOs what their biggest challenge is. They resonantly agreed that recruiting new development talent is one of the biggest challenges their companies face as they invest in the next generation of software tools. It’s hard to get up to speed quickly on mobile, as new tools and frameworks are constantly emerging.

 4) Building engaging apps

Building apps faster is only one part of the mobile equation. The other key element is knowing how to build compelling ones. If the user experience isn’t great, customers can easily switch to a competitor’s app. And, employees won’t use an app unless it helps them be more productive. While there’s no one formula to making an app more engaging, the best way to make it ‘repeatably usable’ is to personalize it with the user’s data. To do this with legacy platforms typically means struggling with complex integrations, middleware, and APIs.

These are top of mind obstacles for IT leaders and the line of business managers demanding mobile. If you are facing any of these, Salesforce can help. Our new ebook outlines 8 steps to tackling these challenges and building mobile apps fast in the cloud.

Ready to start now? We recently launched new Salesforce Platform Mobile Services to accelerate mobile development. A Mobile SDK makes it easier to connect enterprise data and develop native, hybrid, or HTML5 apps for any device. It includes services for authentication and secure offline storage.             

The game is changing how we connect with our customers, employees, partners. And it’s all about mobile. Fundamentally, IT professionals must not only consider how applications are designed for the myriad devices available, but how they are architected and where they run. The shift toward mobile computing is so prevalent than many application developers are adopting a mobile-only strategy. For business users, this means more productivity, opportunities to access and act on corporate data, and a better experience your B2B customers.

Join the mobile app revolution! The Salesforce Platform can arm you for mobile success.

  Mobile app ebook