expert tips on integrating mobile and cloud strategies

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Expert Tips on Integrating Mobile and Cloud Strategies

11. Manage poor connectivity to the cloud
Most mobile/cloud developers build mobile apps assuming that the mobile device has a good connection to the Internet all of the time. They make the assumption that the connection will always be there and that users have unlimited bandwidth. They apply the same basic approach they do to building traditional web applications, said Lee Cottle (@Cottletalk), director, VP global head of sales, Push Technology. That s a flawed approach to development. Mobile apps work best with small, timely packets of data that are designed and encoded in the minimum amount of protocol, continued Cottle. Unfortunately for mobile/cloud developers, the Internet was designed for file transfers, not data. Likewise, almost all backend systems were not designed to support large volumes of small data requests, which can, in turn, have an adverse effect on the backend performance. So, cloud providers need to think mobile first.
12. Use Big Data to understand user mobile behavior
Getting insight into user preferences needs rapid analysis of a large amount of information. Leveraging cloud technologies for Big Data solutions to drive improved mobile experience can drive value for both the provider and consumer, said Larry Carvalho (@robustcloud), research manager and lead analyst platform as a service, IDC. Mobile applications can produce advanced analytics to help you enhance business operations, improve user experiences and enhance the internal operation of the applications, said Bruno Scap (@MaseratiGTSport), founder and president, Galeas Consulting. To achieve these improvements, embed the analytical process and results into the user s regular activity flow instead of creating dashboards that a customer has to learn.
13. Map out users and applications for easy access to needed data
The practice of being consumer centric is far easier said than done, admitted Scott Hofmann (@LiquidHub), partner, enterprise solutions, LiquidHub. To be successful, focus on the manner in which the customer wishes to engage. Put yourself in the role of the consumer, or better yet, journey map the customers experience in real time, in order to better design services that support the end goal, that being a positive and rewarding engagement. Part of that design requires understanding the level of network access you ll deliver to both in house and remote employees. Enabling a hybrid IT experience lets workers get LAN speed performance in the office and WAN speed performance on the road to the applications they need, explained Nick East (@Zynstra), CEO, Zynstra. It s important to map out which applications and which data should be centered in which location, based on its primary user community.
14. Ignore server data organization when defining mobile strategy
Since the dawn of personal computers, we ve become accustomed to organizing files in a nested folder format. When trying to retrieve information from our desktops, it seems logical. [For mobile,] the structure doesn t align with how the information is actually consumed. A user friendly mobile strategy ignores this file structure and presents content in a way that maps to business priority, noted Eric Shapiro (@ArcTouch), CEO and co founder, ArcTouch. Define experiences that bring the most useful/valuable information to the front of a mobile app based upon their business objectives, independent of the behind the scenes plumbing.
15. Offload computation to the cloud
Look at what portion of logic, such as the calculations and algorithms, can take place on the mobile device versus an in the cloud system, suggested LiquidHub s Bordogna. Most employees only want to view their data on mobile, said Yuri Sagalov (@yuris), co founder and CEO, AeroFS. They would be happy to see the computation done elsewhere. While the latest mobile devices have impressive new features (e.g., faster CPUs and larger memory), they also have limitations, such as limited battery life and the inability to handle heavy processing. Mobile apps with cloud native capabilities can offload complex data processing to the cloud. The processed results can be made available on any device and in real time, explained Kalyan Ramanathan (@kaylanatwork), VP of product marketing, AppDynamics.
16. Watch your speed
Some people use mobile for convenience. For example, they use their phone to check in on their flight through an app. A B2C company may need contextual customer data to facilitate an up sell in real time on a PC. A B2B company may need a configuration and quotation portal for a sales rep out in the field. In all cases page load speed and data processing speeds will be very different but always crucial, explained Steve Prentice (@stevenprentice), senior writer, CloudTweaks. Speed from cloud to mobile and back needs planning, testing, and constant vigilance.
17. Speed up mobile application development
One of the best use cases for cloud is mobile application development because of the dynamic nature of the content as technology and user preferences continue to change, said Tim Burke (@CarpathiaHost), federal cloud product manager, Carpathia. As developers integrate cloud and mobile, their focus should be first on the business problem that they are seeking to solve not the end vision of the app that they are trying to build, advised Michael Henry (@DigitalRealty), CIO, Digital Realty. This means having a willingness to pivot at a moment s notice, and not being afraid to change focus or abandon concepts that appear to be losing viability. It s a matter of business survival. Overnight a new app or feature can emerge that could completely disrupt or turn competitive revenue models upside down, added Henry.
18. Optimize display for the mobile experience
Avoid purpose building for a specific device or network access, suggested Dan Carney (@llnw), VP, operations, Limelight. Instead, work on a common back end that is the single source of truth and then spend energy on the most appropriate capabilities to tailor the content for consumption on the target device? Each device should be considered another content consuming device be it mobile, desktop, television, etc. Applications need to be architected with a flexible presentation layer that allows them to be responsive: one application that adapts to multiple display sizes and form factors, in the cloud, available anywhere on any device, said Gerardo Dada (@gerardodada), VP, product marketing and strategy, SolarWinds. [As such,] business and application owners are responding to the needs of mobile users by developing flexible presentation logic for web sites, typically utilizing Responsive Web Design (RWD), said M.J. Johnson (@threeeyedtoad), director, product marketing, Akamai Technologies.
19. Utilize productivity suites
One of the easiest ways to get the most value out of your cloud and mobile workloads is to focus on a cloud based productivity suite, such as Office 365, said Todd Schwartz (@GetSkyKick), co CEO and co founder, SkyKick. The Office 365 suite is a great way to reduce infrastructure costs while providing superior access across multiple devices to any document or data stored in the cloud. It s a two for one investment. Enterprises that have started using software as a service (SaaS) solutions are often better prepared for the jump to mobile apps because the needed security controls and technology are already in place to protect against possible sensitive data leaks, added Reed Hyde (@DimensionDataAM), VP, technical product management, ITaaS service unit, Dimension Data. For those comfortable with SaaS, Hyde suggests looking at a cloud based mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) solution: MBaaS has a key role to play in offering an environment of connected intelligence around device management, mobile application usage, and unified communications and collaboration tools all with access to key enterprise systems like ERP, CRM, and SCM.
20. Integrate unified communications
Start with low hanging fruit such as an integrated unified communications (UC) as a service. It s a lower risk proposition focused on improving worker collaboration that naturally incorporates mobile devices in the mix, advised Setu Shah (@setushah2), business solutions manager, Orange Business Services. With UC as a service, an initial cloud infrastructure is put into place that can later be expanded to a wide array of mobile applications, or used to store mobile data in the cloud instead of on the device itself. It s a great first step for figuring out what does and will not work in a mobile focused cloud for your organization when it comes to security parameters, bandwidth levels, and device management.


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