Enterprise mobility trends: Cross-platform apps are in
In the beginning, choosing mobility software was easy. It was a Windows world, so there was no decision to make in terms of operating systems. Since then, operating systems have evolved, and cross-platform applications have emerged as one of the biggest enterprise mobility trends. Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows each have their charms. The good news is that it is no longer necessary to get married to one operating system and forsake the others.
This may surprise you, but OS fragmentation no longer creates the agonizing decision it once did. Take a look at where it ranks in this chart produced by VDC Research:
Enterprise mobility trends: BYOOS
For a while, the BYOD (“bring your own device”) trend seemed great for some enterprises. Instead of supplying a handheld device, the company could allow an employee’s mobile phone onto their network. Nowadays, however — especially with an increased focus on security — many businesses are shifting to mobile solutions that allow them better control, while still retaining flexibility by employing a variety of devices. We like to call this “bring your own operating system” (BYOOS).
Software developers have responded to this drive toward cross-platform applications. Today, for example, if you have a proof-of-delivery application that you want to put on an iPad — great, you can do that. But if you also want to put it on a Windows 10 tablet — wonderful, you can do that too! There’s a version of the application that runs on a Win 10 tablet. The support is the same.
Cross-platform is the new norm
There is no longer one platform in a company. Everybody has a mix. You have some iOS, you have some Android, you have some Windows. This brings increased adaptability, because certain areas of a business have certain types of users who require certain types of devices. Some of these may be consumer devices running iOS, others may be Android-based rugged devices.
Whether they know it or not, the stumbling block that companies have been hung up on has pretty much been removed. The decision of committing to one operating system is a decision that you may not even have to make these days.
Both cheaper and better
One motivation behind the BYOD (“bring your own device”) trend was a smaller upfront investment. If a company could get by with consumer devices, it could spend less than it might pay for rugged devices. In the long run, however, managing costs over time from scalability, retrofitting, repair and replacement, or security liabilities could negate any savings.
Cross-platform mobile solutions permit more cost-effective matching of the technology to the task. Sales people can go out with iPads to accomplish their missions, but that doesn’t lock delivery trucks into using an iPhone with an expensive enterprise sled. They might use a Windows-based, rugged device instead.
New mobile solutions increase agility
Most of the best applications in the mobile solutions environment — applications for proof-of-delivery, field service, technicians, and so on — are now being developed on multiple platforms. These new software solutions are going to allow companies to expand and morph themselves as they need to change. You’ll no longer be stuck at one point for 36 or 48 months or 10 years. As things modify and change, you can change and modify your business. Something else to consider is that while cross-platform adaptability may not be critical to your specific operations right now, things may change. If they do, having cross-platform applications already in place could make it that much easier to adapt and grow dynamically.
We’d love to hear what mobile solutions problems your company has faced or solved — especially with regard to operating systems. Please add a comment below and let us know what you think.