Complexity Kills so Simplify your Mobile Apps Now

Boston

Migrate Win32 apps with complex user interfaces to mobile apps where each screen is focused on a single task or idea.

The 90s was a time where many developers did their best to create NASA mission control screens. If an app performed ten different functions, they’d see if all those activities could be performed on a single screen. No one ever considered there might be a correlation between those complex screens and the mountain of training manuals and classroom instruction required to make employees productive. A lack of empathy for app users left many employees confused and intimidated by technology. Complexity kills.

You now have a second chance to kill this complexity. In the same way that I want you to break up your large, monolithic Win32 apps into multiple apps, I also want you to do the same for individual screens. Take a look at how many different tasks are accomplished on your complex screens and break them apart into their own screens. Once you’ve created multiple, mobile screens for each discrete function area of a complex Win32 screen, focus on which UI elements you can eliminate. You may find sub-tasks on your new mobile screens that can be further broken out into their own screens. Some designers call this Progressive Reduction. Keep iterating on this process until each screen is easy to understand and has the minimum number of UI elements needed to accomplish a single task.

Improve user productivity by breaking complex screens into multiple, simplified screens to reduce expenses and training requirements by making apps faster and easier to use. What is your company doing to make corporate apps easier to use for employees?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Convert Your Confusing Win32 Apps to Touch First Mobile Apps

Philadephia

Migrate confusing Win32 apps with tiny controls to touch first mobile apps with large fonts and UI elements while including gesture support and proper spacing.

The advent of a mouse connected to every computer gave users a pixel-precision pointing device. Coupled with ever-growing computer monitors and higher resolution screens, UI elements got smaller and smaller. This wasn’t a problem until mobile devices with their small screens became popular. The developers that crammed lots of small buttons and data grids on big PC screens brought those bad UI habits to mobile.

At first, these new mobile developers got away with it because personal digital assistants (PDAs) like the Palm, Handspring, Zaurus and Pocket PC used a stylus with plastic, resistive touch screens. Until the touchable iPhone was released in 2007, many smartphones used a stylus as a replacement for the mouse’s precision pointing. This facilitated tiny, touchable UI elements that were hard to see.

When developing today’s mobile apps (native + web), touchable UI elements like buttons must be finger-friendly and at least 44 x 44 pixels in size. To prevent the “fat-finger” problem, they must also be at least 20 pixels apart from each other. This will vary based on screen size and pixel density. Implementing responsive design principles is also a must. UI elements must scale smoothly to different smartphone and tablet screen sizes and support gestures like swiping. They must also reorient themselves when a device shifts between portrait and landscape and implement “hamburger” menus to conserve screen space.

Improve user productivity by creating touchable apps that are easy to use to get employees up and running while reducing training requirements and expenses. What is your organization doing to improve app productivity?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Make your Apps More Personal and Contextual or Risk Losing Customers

Awaken those one-dimensional, client/server applications to all the sensors found on mobile devices that make them richly personal.

The desktop apps of the 90s could really only sense mouse clicks. While they could communicate over dial-up modems, those apps were unable to discern the world around them until smartphones arrived and became the most personal computing platform ever. Sensors helped make smartphones disruptive and they will do the same for all the apps you’re migrating:

  • Barometer: Apps can detect elevation or changing weather conditions
  • Camera: Apps can take photos, videos, scan 2D/3D barcodes and authenticate via facial recognition
  • Microphone: Apps can respond to commands via Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, or Google Now
  • Accelerometer: Apps can measure steps, switch from portrait to landscape, respond to device position, and control in-app, game or drone behavior
  • Magnetometer/Compass: Apps know direction
  • Gyroscope: Apps can detect movement
  • GPS: Apps know where you are and how to get you where you’re going with maps
  • Proximity: Apps change behavior when your phone is close to something
  • Bluetooth: Apps can pair with other devices, stream audio and respond to beacons
  • Wireless radios: Apps can connect to anything
  • Fingerprint scanner: Apps can authenticate users biometrically and authorize purchases

Improve user experience by taking advantage of sensors that help employees and customers complete tasks more quickly. What is your company doing to enrich its mobile apps?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Reduce Business Risk by Migrating your Legacy Software to Modern, Secure Platforms and Programming Languages

St Louis

Businesses drag their feet when mobilizing line of business apps via legacy software migration thinking it’s cheaper to maintain a codebase than to rewrite.

I get it. Migrating all those apps to mobile seems like eating the proverbial elephant. They cost a lot of money to build, the highly-skilled developers needed to rewrite the code are harder to find than ever, the code isn’t commented and there aren’t any docs. This often leads to IT decision makers putting off these projects, perhaps until it’s not their problem anymore. So why do it?

For starters, your employees will be significantly more productive running your apps on the mobile devices they actually use. Since work is not a place to go but a thing to do, employees can get their jobs done from anywhere. Millennials won’t be chained to a desk and they’re going to use the devices they like best. Face it, those Win32 apps are never going to run on someone’s iPhone and your new generation of employees haven’t ever heard of Windows 95. Not changing is a non-starter as you’ll just miss out on younger talent entirely.

Another good reason migrate all these apps and systems is because they’re running on outdated hardware and software. It goes without saying that this infrastructure has far surpassed its end of life (EOL) and there is absolutely no support coming from the original vendors of the computers, operating systems, software and development tools. I’m actually not 100% correct on this point. There are some giant technology vendors that charge tens of millions of dollars per year to support old systems that reached EOL without migrating. In the end, migrating is significantly cheaper and it rescues your valuable intellectual property from fragile, unsupported, failing systems.

There’s a more ominous reason to migrate your apps. Most data breaches are due to running unpatched, out-of-date, and therefore unprotected software. This includes:

  • Software written before PCs were pervasively open to Internet attacks.
  • Apps that don’t require authentication.
  • Apps that don’t encrypt data at-rest or data in-transit.
  • Apps written before established secure development lifecycle procedures.
  • Un-patched software.
  • Software oblivious to buffer overflows or SQL injection attacks.
  • Software and services built with the assumption that they would always be “inside the firewall” and therefore protected.
  • Apps that don’t follow “least privilege” principles.
  • Apps that don’t work with modern sandboxed operating systems.

This older and often unattended software is putting your company at risk. Individual and state-sponsored hackers are attacking the software of companies all over the world. Valuable intellectual property and sensitive customer data is being stolen daily. Company executives are getting fired. You absolutely don’t want this to be your priceless intellectual property or your customer data. This is a fast ticket to losing your competitive advantage as well as the trust of your customers. Oh, and you might be looking for a new CEO and CIO.

So what’s the game plan?

  • Catalog all your Win32 and Web 1.0 apps and assemble a v-team to take ownership of them.
  • Send out surveys to all your employees to find out who’s still using which apps.
  • Utilize asset management discovery software that scans the company network searching for apps running on Windows, Macs and servers.
  • Pull the plug on apps that don’t show up in a survey or via asset management scanning.
  • Listen carefully for screaming employees and turn those apps back on. I expect you’ll find a good percentage of those apps aren’t used anymore.
  • Eliminate the next chunk of apps by seeing if employees can use a new or different process to accomplish certain tasks. Your business and processes may have changed so much over the years that some of these apps aren’t relevant.

When rewriting the remaining apps, focus less on the code and more on data sources, workflows, user interfaces, performance and latency. I’ll talk later about new ways to connect to data and build new apps. It’s more important to reverse-engineer the way employees perceive these apps to work than how the existing code actually makes them work. This provides a good opportunity to stealthily update business cases.

Reduce risk to your company by migrating unsafe, unsupported, end of life software to modern, secure platforms and programming languages. How rapidly is your company de-risking its exposure to legacy business applications?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Improve Employee Productivity at your Company by Implementing a Hybrid Identity Strategy

Detroit

Identity and Access Management is key to facilitating employee access to corporate and 3rd party resources from any device on any network.

Most of you are well-versed at entering user names and passwords to access social media and banking sites from your desktop browser. Based on the identity you provide; you’re given access to those sites. Some of you in the corporate world might know what it means to join your computer to a Domain. Your company has you do this so you only have to enter your credentials once, while getting access to multiple servers. This is called single sign-on (SSO) and it uses a directory service.

With people moving to myriad mobile devices and enterprise workloads moving to the cloud, the SSO technologies of the past require retooling. To make this work in a heterogeneous world, security tokens using Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) that work with any operating system are needed. A Secure Token Service (STS) is employed to issue tokens to clients on behalf of a secure software service.

Today, you need a cloud-based directory service to manage users, groups and roles. It must provide hybrid identity by synchronizing with on-premises directories so users can seamlessly authenticate whether they’re inside the corporate WLAN or roaming on mobile data networks. Additionally, it must provide users with SSO to apps and services residing in other clouds. Finally, this service must support multi-factor authentication (MFA) which requires something a user has (a phone), something they know (a PIN) or something they are (biometrics) to secure corporate resources.

Reduce risk and improve user productivity by restricting corporate access to those employees with credentials found in cloud and on-premises directories. What is your company doing to provide secure access to its business systems from any device?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Reduce Risk to Your Business by Ensuring Your EMM Package can Block Malicious Apps

Omaha

To prevent malicious apps from attacking corporate assets, get an EMM solution that disables app stores while blacklisting and whitelisting apps.

Despite what you’re thinking, malicious apps may be one of the biggest threats your mobile enterprise will face. You might believe that device encryption, the use of a PIN to logon and utilizing a VPN to connect to your corporate network means your safe. You’re not.

Within the security envelope your device has created, a rogue app could still drive a truck through your VPN tunnel and attack internal assets. Users routinely download apps without paying attention to the list of permissions and capabilities the app is asking for. They can’t be bothered. What could possibly go wrong with the simple drawing app that somehow needs network access and the ability to read your contacts?

While it’s the job of your company’s mobile COE to vet apps used by employees for work, it’s good to have a backup plan. When performing due diligence on EMM packages for your company, make sure blacklisting and whitelisting are supported to prevent users from downloading objectionable apps. Additionally, EMM packages must prevent rogue apps from launching in the event an employee has already downloaded it. To ensure employees can only use a curated, internal enterprise app store, the ability to disable access to public app stores may also be a requirement. Clearly, this flies in the face of BYOD and some employees may reject having this functionality on their device. Containers may be better in some cases.

Protect corporate systems and reduce risk to your company by blocking apps containing code that can inflict harm. What is your organization doing to protect itself from malicious apps unwittingly downloaded by employees?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Reduce Business Risk by Using Employee Smartphones and Multi-factor Authentication to Secure Corporate Resources

Minneapolis

The perception that employee smartphones are a security liability is misplaced. They’re a multi-factor authentication security asset.

It’s clear the things we’ve done in the past to stay secure are no longer sufficient. The pervasive use of usernames and passwords to authenticate with every kind of system on the planet is breaking down. Passwords aren’t strong enough and no one can remember them all. Some companies require something called two factor authentication in order to access their computer systems. This dramatically increases security because you’re required to have something like a smartcard and know something like a PIN in order to gain access. The downside is that everyone has to have a smartcard with cryptographic information on an embedded chip as well as a smartcard reader plugged into a PC to make this work. How likely is it that everyone on a global scale has this kind of gear? Not very.

It makes you wonder if there’s some kind of device carried by almost every human on the planet that could substitute for a smartcard? Seek out cloud and on-premises systems that work with devices to implement modern security features like multifactor authentication. Now when an employee enters their corporate credentials, the system will call their phone and require them to dial in an additional PIN to prove it’s actually them who’s trying to access corporate resources. A bad actor who may have stolen your credentials won’t have your phone to answer the call or know your PIN. It’s also unlikely they’ll have your face or fingerprint if you’ve enabled biometric security.

Reduce risk to your business by having employees use their smartphones to prove their identity when attempting access to corporate resources. What is your company doing to secure its business-critical resources?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Reduce Corporate Risk by Enforcing Security Policies on Mobile Apps with MAM

Oklahoma City

To enforce policies on individual mobile apps, get an EMM solution with MAM capabilities to prevent data leaking from corporate to personal.

Mobile App Management (MAM) allows IT departments to protect corporate data without having to manage the whole device like you would with MDM. Since apps are the delivery mechanism of business data to employees, the thinking is, if you can lock down the apps, you can lock down the data. You may not need MDM anymore.

The BYOD phenomenon has IT departments concerned about the co-mingling of personal and business apps and data. EMM and mobile operating system vendors have tackled this data loss prevention (DLP) problem with variety of approaches ranging from the use of a Chinese wall to proprietary versions of public apps. The MAM component of EMM delivers:

  • An enterprise app store where employees can select internally and externally developed apps and websites
  • Encrypted containers dividing a mobile device into business and personal workspaces where data cannot be shared
  • Ability to allow or block the opening of business documents and the copying & pasting of data between apps
  • Selective wipe of corporate email, apps, data, certs and management policies
  • Secure PIM
  • App wrapping with or without an SDK
  • Apps that prompt for a PIN for devices that aren’t configured to prompt for credentials

Reduce risk to your organization by securing your mobile apps and the data they deliver to your employees with a protective envelope. What is your organization doing to mobile apps and data safe?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Reduce Corporate Expenses by Configuring Devices and Delivering Apps to Users with MDM

Dallas

When you’re ready to deploy apps or provision Wi-Fi, certificates, VPN or email to mobile devices, get an EMM solution to provide MDM.

With the basics of device-level security and policy enforcement covered by Exchange ActiveSync, you’re ready to take the next step in providing value to your employees. Extending access to PIM, delivering apps to devices and provisioning functionality over the air was the reason the earliest mobile device management (MDM) packages were built. I should know since I co-founded the first cloud-based MDM company back in 2003. The space has broadened significantly and is now referred to as enterprise mobility management (EMM) with an evolving set of features. The MDM component of EMM delivers:

  • Support for the most widely used mobile operating systems
  • Software lifecycle management that deploys, upgrades and retires apps
  • Operating system configuration management that enforces the IT policies applied to devices, monitors compliance and provides auditing
  • Simplifies users’ lives by provisioning pre-configured settings for email, VPN, Wi-Fi and certificates via profiles
  • Asset management and usage of devices and apps
  • Telecom expense management
  • Service management and remote helpdesk support capabilities
  • Scalability to support hundreds of thousands of devices

Reduce your expenses and improve user productivity by remotely configuring devices and delivering apps to users without needing additional support staff. What is your organization doing do help employees configure their mobile devices and get the apps they need?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Reduce Business Expenses by Deploying Mobile Middleware in the Enterprise

Vancouver

Mobile middleware provides intelligent aggregation of backend business data while reducing duplication of field data entry.

Requiring employees to connect to multiple backend systems, one at a time, to complete their tasks is wasteful. Furthermore, forcing each mobile app to aggregate disparate data from ERP, CRM, supply chain, and others places results in high latency and is prone to security flaws. Wouldn’t it be nice if an app could make a single connection to an on-premises or cloud-based server to transparently exchange data with multiple backend systems?

Mobile middleware systems make this complicated task a reality. Through the use of adapters that interface with a variety of backend packages, databases, message buses and other systems of record, mobile middleware acts as an intermediary. Just the right data from a combination of systems can be aggregated for seamless synchronization by a mobile app that only has to deal with one server. Since the mobile app isn’t tightly-coupled to any of those backend data sources, they can be modified or swapped out.

This architecture also benefits anyone who has had to enter redundant data into multiple backend systems. Now, the mobile app sends captured data just once and the middleware takes care directing copies of certain data elements to other systems. Field workers no longer have to return to the office at the end of the day to perform duplicate data entry.

Improve user productivity and cut costs by reducing overtime work through the elimination of unnecessary employee tasks. Which mobile middleware systems is your organization putting in place to optimize its processes?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany