Obviously "mobile" is a hot topic today. It amazes me to see everyone with a smart phone. I don't think anyone can argue the value that device provides in your hands as you go about your day. Just being able to find your destination on map is of value to those "directionally challenged." In corporate America, it is also obvious that each and every employee of company X has their own smart phone. And more and more technology-savvy employees want to conduct business using these devices. This presents an interesting challenge to corporate America. How can they enable their employees to conduct some aspects of their business using the phones that they already have.
So based on my history with IT shops, here is the typical thinking. The CTO says that they need to provide a mobile presence to their sales managers, let say. "Let's create a mobile application that gives access to their customer information database", for example. Sounds like a great idea. But because this is a new cutting edge project, the effort is done as a skunkworks project, off to the side outside the boundaries of normal IT tools and processes. A group of sharp (and typically young) developers are given free reign to create this app. They go off and so some great work, producing a simple but usable application.
This scenario poses lots of problems. Obviously in the BYOD (bring your own device) world, we are have numerous platforms that must be supported to keep everyone happy. We also have a security issue. Access to the corporate network requires some type of VPN and we are now exposing corporate information to a non-corporate device. I would assume this causes lots of lost sleep.
But in my world, there is also a more fundamental issue. Developing key applications for corporate employees outside of the normal IT controls is not a good practice to follow. Managing requirements, properly testing, and controlling the release process are all necessary aspects to mobile app development. There are definitely differences in expectations of mobile app users in the frequency of releases and bug fixes. But these can be addressed without the exclusion of best practices.
The IBM Mobile Development Lifecycle Solution (IMDLS) product offering was created to help solve this problem. By combining the IBM Worklight solution with the IBM Rational Application Lifecycle solution, the IMDLS brings control and management to your mobile application development efforts. IBM Worklight also provides a first class development environment with tools to allow you to create-once, deploy-everywhere to support the multiple mobile platforms that are out there.