Earth to IT: Integration is critical to your mobile strategy

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(This post is part of a series. Read  part one and part two to learn more about the urgent need for Hybrid Integration.)

When I tweeted about my latest integration blog referencing Austin Powers International Man of Mystery, I encouraged people to take 7 minutes out of their days to read through it.  But let’s all be honest. You spent 7 minutes reading the blog post and then the next 35 minutes watching Austin Powers clips on YouTube.  You’re welcome.

One of my favorite parts of Zoolander, beyond the fact that he was not an ambiturner, was his cell phone.  Remember it?  It was about the size of a matchbox.  And beyond that, given that it was 2001, it was funny how attached he was to it.

Derek Zoolander: “Turn off my phone?”
Matilda: “Yeah.”
Derek Zoolander: “Earth to Matilda, this phone is as much a part of me as…”

Now it is 2017.  The question is, “How would you complete that sentence?”  Think about it.  How soon after you wake up in the morning do you check your phone?  How many times per day?  While it is the connectivity aspect rather than the phone itself, your phone is as much a part of you as…

That is why mobile has become such a critical aspect of not only marketing and sales, but of the entire customer experience.  And that means a mobile first strategy for any new system of engagement.  Whether it’s targeted ads for a free orange mocha frapuccino, a customer complaint that the new moisturizer isn’t delivering on the promise to keep them really, really, ridiculously good looking, or even the ability to collect donations for the center for kids who can’t read good and want to learn to do other stuff good too, mobile is the interactive media of choice.

From an IT perspective, making mobile the primary channel to engage with your customers is easy to make happen, right?  Is it as simple as connecting just another web application to your integration bus?  Uh…Earth to IT, all of those really cool mobile customer engagements the business is demanding are going to require you to re-evaluate how you do integration.  When we spoke to the experts at IDC they gave us some great pointers:

  • A security-first design is required for developers creating APIs between back-end services and mobile devices, as well as a build and test methodology to ensure corporate assets are being protected from unwanted access and use through mobile channels.
  • Cloud is the preferred location for back-end business logic and data services accessed by mobile devices, because it is “closer” to mobile devices and available whenever and wherever internet connectivity exists. Placing this logic in the cloud may require another layer of connectivity and replication to/from on-premises if a legacy application is part of the use case.
  • Production APIs must be managed to ensure the back-end services are performing adequately, and as systems are updated or the mobile app is modified, resulting changes are made to the APIs.
  • Session and state management is included in the API functionality, mobile applications and integration technology solutions.

A mobile first approach requires more than just standard integration.  It requires a true understanding of and investment in hybrid integration.  How you connect, and how well you connect, on-premises applications to cloud applications to devices, is critical to your mobile strategy success.

If your organization is one that “can’t do mobile good and wants to learn how to do other stuff good too” then download the IDC Report The Urgent Need for Hybrid Integration or go to the IBM Integration website to learn more about IBM’s view on hybrid cloud integration.

Now I’m off for an orange mocha frappuccino.

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