Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms
A mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) is a development environment that provides tools and middleware to develop, test, deploy and manage corporate software running on mobile devices.
Enterprise mobile application development addresses the difficulties of developing mobile software by managing the diversity of devices, networks and user groups at the time of deployment and throughout the mobile computing technology lifecycle. Unlike standalone apps, an enterprise mobile app development services a comprehensive, long-term approach to deploying mobility. Cross-platform considerations are one big driver behind using MEAPs. For example, a company can use an enterprise mobile app development to develop the mobile application once and deploy it to a variety of mobile devices (including smart phones, tablets, notebooks and ruggedized handhelds) with no changes to the underlying business logic.
Platform applications are best for companies that wish to deploy multiple applications on a single infrastructure, scaled to the size of their current mobile field force and available in an online and offline mode. Enterprise mobile app platform provides higher level languages and easy development templates to simplify and speed the mobile application development timeframe, requiring less programming knowledge for mobile business application deployment.
There are many advantages associated with enterprise mobile application development platform. First of all, it can be run on the cloud. Without maintaining separate sets of code, mobile enterprise application platforms can support multiple types of operating systems and mobile devices. This means a company can deploy a mobile application to different mobile devices with the help of mobile enterprise application platforms without having to worry about compatibility. As most enterprise mobile development platforms have a tool set for modifications, creation of custom app extensions is quite easy and convenient. Enterprise mobile application platforms can centrally manage mobile applications and can also help in integration with multiple server data sources.
F.A.Q about Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms
What are the benefits of enterprise mobile app platform?
- Create apps and complex forms for any type of mobile device and OS without having to maintain separate sets of code.
- Create tailor-made apps for specific user groups, giving them exactly what they need; usually, a mash-up of reading/writing access to your backend systems, publicly available web services and device features such as camera, GPS, sign-on screen, etc.
- Requires basic and limited coding skills e.g. HTML and CSS.
- Allows a high degree of re-use of the code and interactions developed.
- Provide the offline capability for mobile users in areas without WiFi or cellular coverage.
- Once the platform is integrated into the important back-end systems, creating new apps and forms can be done in hours rather than weeks or months.
- Enterprise mobile application development services can be run on the cloud and purchased on a subscription basis.
Pros and cons of MEAP
Along with the benefits described above, a mobile enterprise application platform extends beyond fourth-generation language (4GL) tools for app development to use a graphical environment and dedicated script language. The tool makes business apps accessible to users from any location at any time. For ease of IT management, some MEAP products can run as a cloud service.
A MEAP, like any technology, comes with challenges. The initial investment is high - it's expensive to begin with, though the total cost of ownership (TCO) goes down with use over time - and it requires IT to perform additional tasks such as updating content, securing data, maintaining applications with updates and managing user authentication.
In general, a MEAP has two important features:
- A mobile application development environment and back-end web services to manage those mobile applications and link them to enterprise applications and databases.
- A centralized management component that enables an administrator to control which users can access an application and what enterprise databases that application can pull data from.
Sometimes, organizations will use a mobile enterprise application platform in conjunction with enterprise mobility management (EMM) or mobile device management (MDM). MDM manages mobile devices, while MEAP products manage the enterprise applications running on those devices - although there is sometimes overlap between the functionalities of these two technologies.