Part 3: Innovation Blog Series – Embracing Mobile – Your Call

11.12.2012

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Mobile computing’s prevalence and relevance makes it one of the most talked about and ‘disruptive’ technology advances of the 21st century.

It is altering the landscape of new technology development beyond recognition, as well as consumer and organizational behavior.  Consumer demand for mobile technology is the driving force behind the speedy progression of this market, with innovative companies such as Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft leading the way.

Today, business-to-consumer engagement is often represented in the form of a mobile “app”. For example, a banking organization can allow a consumer to check their balance, deposit funds, and interact with many other banking services.  Mobile provides a platform by which an organization can now gather valuable market and consumer research, test new products and services, as well as extend to new markets, faster than ever before.  The platform holds important business value as it is so widespread – nearly every consumer has a mobile device.

Going mobile

Telecommunications is a frontier for pioneering technology. The introduction of “Voice over Internet Protocol” (VoIP) technology was a minor revolution, enabling people to transmit voice data via Internet, LAN, WAN and wireless networks. Overnight, VoIP changed the telecommunications market forever – creating new leaders, and forcing others out.

Mobile computing unlocks new markets for business while connecting consumer and business together like never before. Juniper Research predicts that next year there will be 200+ million more users of mobile based banking services than today. This is a trend which raises the importance of mobile computing as an IT strategy, making IT organizations wonder how to respond.

To add to this, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is also creating significant excitement in the industry. Smart consumers are demanding access to services they can use from their personal mobile devices.  IT organizations are now under immense pressure to work out how these services can be delivered while also adhering to corporate policy and security, and government regulation.

The popularity of tablet based computing has added to this trend.  According to industry analysts, it is expected that tablet device purchases will overtake mobile phone device purchases in the next two to three years.  The mobile computing market and workforce are expanding, which means today’s business organizations need to take notice of the warning signs: ‘If you’re not in mobile, you’ve missed the market’.

What price progress?

Being in the mobile market takes considerable effort. To support a diverse customer base, providers must provide services across an array of mobile platforms. Native apps are device-specific, and development companies will need to develop a separate application for each mobile platform – Microsoft Windows Phone 8, Apple iOS and Google Android to name but three. These duplicate efforts drive up development and maintenance costs. Furthermore, going to mobile expands business demands and will force them to find extra processing capacity to answer the increasing demand. Basically, being in the mobile world is a pricey ongoing pursuit.

Be smart and adapt

Many of today’s core business applications are written in tried and trusted enterprise-class languages, such as COBOL and PL/I.  These applications have served many businesses well for decades.  They are proven, paid for and include much of that core IP in businesses.

However those applications are driven from interfaces that are anything but modern. Adapting how those business services are made available to the new breed of mobile-based consumers is a real technical challenge. There are new paradigms such as JVM and .NET along with new platforms – zEnterprise and Windows 8 – which present challenges requiring functional and performance testing.

The key word here is “adapt”. Adapting will enable businesses to continue successfully, keeping costs down and consumers happy. Everyone’s a winner.

The use of smart technology to make backend services available (for example, using a web service based application deployment model) is essential for modern business-to-consumer engagement. This allows mobile device apps to gain access to critical business services that provide the real value to the consumer.

This also means that the same business function is being provided – whether accessed via a mobile device, a web browser, by phoning up the organization’s call centre or visiting a store.

How Micro Focus can help

Through innovative technologies such as Visual COBOL, Micro Focus allows organizations to tap into these valuable business application services, extending access to the mobile device.  By allowing the same tried-and-true applications to live on in a new paradigm (Web 2.0, Mobile), Micro Focus enables organizations to reduce the new investment required to build a much needed range of mobile services.

Visual COBOL also supports the creation of brand new front-ends to existing core applications, which can then be exported across a variety of platforms, thereby streamlining the process of building out this new delivery channel.

Conclusion

A 21st century organization must have a mobile strategy, not just for internal applications, but also for customers. The demand for mobile hardware and new business services is expanding faster than anyone anticipated. With mobile now acting as another strategic platform, organizations can promptly respond to market change and capitalize on it. This emerging market force is too big to ignore.

It’s time to innovate an effective mobile strategy.  Visual COBOL, through the power of application re-use, delivers your organization a powerful toolset to capitalize on the mobile market.

Are you ready to innovate?

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