With the explosive growth of mobile applications and services in the enterprise, CIOs and IT Directors are scratching their heads. Once again they are on path to create 100s of new applications across different environments that need to be managed, monitored and maintained. Not again!
To make matters worse, it’s a lot more challenging this time. Development release cycles and the lifespan of the applications before rewrites is much shorter, innovation is much faster and the security threats and issues are much more challenging. Furthermore business managers are still complaining that things are going too slow and taking matters in their own hands with a myriad of different developers, front-end platforms and back-end cloud providers and SaaS solutions. In 3 years it will be time for another unproductive 100m dollar consolidation program.
So what are CIOs doing?
We are seeing an emerging trend towards building mobile capability platforms that can scale with SaaS services, reusable components, open source software and custom app development with multiple vendors. Basically they are identifying common needs around CRM, Databases, Analytics, application platforms, APIs, Business Intelligence, ERP, content management, website (web and mobile), native app development and other services.
There are only a few providers that can provide credible solutions for this and they include:
- Google Cloud
Google App Engine, BigQuery, Cloud SQL, Cloud Datastore, Cloud Storage and Compute Engine, Cloud Services including Prediction, Endpoints and Translation and 1000s of 3rd party apps running on it makes Google Cloud one of the most powerful and scalable solutions available today.
Leveraging the strength and defacto industry standard of the Salesforce CRM offering, Salesforce have built out the services with Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, force.com and 1000s of 3rd party applications.
- Microsoft Azure
Microsoft’s key strength is developer-friendly environments and with Azure they’ve taken this to the cloud. Azure includes Compute, Web and Mobile site development, Data & Storage, Analytics, integration into other Microsoft products and 100,000+ developers and 3rd party apps that can fulfil most of the enterprise needs.
- SAP Mobile Platform
This is the natural choice for most existing SAP customers with a reputation of scale and reliability and partner eco-system for ERP, CRM, Commerce and business intelligence applications. SAP Mobile Platforms is best combined with Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.
To a lesser extent IBM, Oracle and Amazon AWS provide these services as well but neither offer the same end-to-end capabilities, developer support and 3rd party applications as Google, Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce. It’s safe to bet however, that they are all investing in building out their platforms.Also note that all of the platforms above can be combined with native app development and hybrid app development environments such as Phonegap/Cordova and other 3rd party tools for analytics, messaging (push notifications, SMS and e-mail), payments, etc. Other mobile cloud services will continue to exist in specialized areas but our prediction is that the industry will consolidate towards the major platforms listed here as they provide huge scale and cost advantages.
So when and how do you select the best mobile cloud platform?
Don’t let platform decisions slow down your mobile plans. The safest bet in the short term is to pick one or several of the platforms highlighted above. In parallel with this, perform an review of all your mobility assessment needs and choose and design the platform, tools, components and architecture that will fulfil your needs.
Missing platforms on the list? Disagree with the approach? Want to know more? Send us a quick email and we’ll be happy to discuss further.