Mobile Business Expo – Deploying Enterprise Applications
Recently, I was asked to speak on a panel at the Mobile Business Expo in Chicago, regarding the deployment of Enterprise Applications. Well, beyond email, calendar and address book applications that are prevalent with smartphones, what else is out there? Turns out a dearth services *want* to be mobilized, but we are still encumbered with the supply chain of non-standard handsets, different mobile operators and different software applications that we must contend with. So how do we make sense of it all?
Lots of enterprises would love access to their applications such as business intelligence, supply chain, customers, etc, but simply porting to a new platform is not like getting a WYSIWYG
editor for HTML. The expectations are enormous and the promises have been grand — unfortunately, the return has been lackluster at best. Part of the issue is that the end user is expecting a lot from a small device, over a skinny pipe. The choice of operating systems, programming languages and input methods is still maturing and not necessarily standardizing.A number of years ago, when I was at Sun Microsystems, the mantra for Java of “Write Once, Run Anywhere” that applied to everything from large enterprise servers down to mobile devices. But peeling back the layers you noticed that this simply was not the case. While Java is a good programming language, true portability across platforms and environments needed a lot of tweaking. This same thought seems to extend when it comes to application deployment on mobile devices. In a previous post
, I talked about the different handsets, operating systems, etc and how this fragmented market has too much choice in the market. Currently, I have seen, read and heard about lots of pilot projects, long term Beta rollouts, but nothing that has truly worked. In one of my courses that I have taught on Mobile Commerce at Carnegie Mellon University
, the general consensus is that enterprise applications are a real challenge, but limited Use Cases for status or simple queries. Inputting large amounts of data or displaying lots of information and pictures, just does not seem very practical. On the flip side, a lot of people send really long email messages with their Blackberry or PDA! So for now, we’re still taking baby steps, but I’m sure lots of people are eager and anxious to get full access to data from anywhere. This nirvana will start to come when networks are more reliable, devices have more power, and services are easier to access from a mobile device.