Friday, August 08, 2014

Mobile App Design Is Irrelevant - Latest Research

Your mobile app design is irrelevant if your back-end systems can't support the real-time requirements of the user. 

A recent report* by CIO Strategic Marketing Services states that most customer and employee mobility applications are integrated with back-end systems.  Although that is not necessarily a surprise, it is useful to see the average number of apps that are connected to different back-end systems.  Here are the numbers from the survey.

Question: How many of your company's mobile apps for both customers and employees integrate with the following back-end systems? (average number of apps)
  • 4.8 apps per survey participant connect to a CRM systems (including sales, customer service and marketing)
  • 4.8 apps per survey participant connect to an Ecommerce system
  • 4.6 apps per survey participant connect to an ERP (including project management system)
  • 4.4 apps per survey participant connect to a supply chain, logistics or operations system
  • 4.0 apps per survey participant connect to a document management system
  • 3.7 apps per survey participant connect to an accounting and/or financial system
  • 3.6 apps per survey participant connect to an HR (human resource) system
In my recent survey, Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure, eighty participants identified that back-end systems were causing real headaches for mobile app developers.  Here are a few of the questions and their results from the survey:

Question 1: Do you (or your clients') have IT systems that are too slow or incapable of supporting real-time mobile app requirements?  83.9% answered YES.

Question 2: Will your (or your clients') IT environment and back-end systems prevent you from delivering an optimized mobile application experience?  43.2% answered YES.

Question 3: Are your (or your clients') mobile strategies and plans inhibited or limited because of the current IT environment, infrastructure and/or design?  77.7% answered YES.

Question 4: Which components of an end-to-end mobile solution cause the most performance problems (involving mobile apps)?  Here are the top three answers in order of how problematic they are:
  1. Back-end systems 
  2. Internet connectivity
  3. APIs and integration design and performance
Question 5: How important will having optimized mobile applications and user experiences be to the future success of your business? 72% answered "very important" to "critical."

What is the bottom line?  Although it is often more fun and interesting to talk about innovative user experiences and app designs, the foundation for supporting real-time mobile applications must be in place first.  Without back-end system and IT infrastructures that can support a "real-time" environment, you are just putting lipstick on a pig, as we say in Boise, Idaho.

These are the kind of challenges and topics I cover during my Analyst Briefings and Mobile and Digital Strategy workshops.  If your company would benefit from a workshop contact me here to discuss.

*Survey of 414 executives at midsize and large enterprise organizations worldwide
Kevin Benedict
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Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.