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

Improve Employee Productivity by Moving your Win32 and Web 1.0 Apps to Mobile

Pittsburgh

It’s time to migrate the millions of Win32 and Web 1.0 apps that currently run global business to mobile.

Global businesses are run primarily by Windows applications built in the 90s. While apps were created for DOS, the Apple II, OS/2, Sun Workstations, Win16, NeXT, SGI and the Mac in the 80s and early 90s, most were migrated after Windows NT/95 arrived. Y2K taught us COBOL on mainframes are still around. The larger mega-trend stemmed from low-cost PCs coupled to a graphical operating system working with minimal RAM and slow processors. Combined with drag and drop GUI development tools, a perfect storm took over the world of business. The resulting Win32 apps drove a tidal wave of productivity and innovation. Companies still have thousands of them in use today.

Something else happened in the 1990s. A giant network of networks called the Internet, combined with Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, to create the next technology revolution. Web servers arrived and businesses created static web pages to establish a presence on the web and start marketing to customers. The Intranet was born with internal-facing web pages used to disseminate information to employees. Server-side data processing gave rise to Web 1.0 apps that didn’t have to be deployed to employee desktops the way Windows apps did.

The Win32 and Web 1.0 apps are still with us and must urgently evolve to fit in a world where untethered people expect to flexibly work anytime, from anywhere with mobile devices instead of desktops.

Improve user productivity by migrating legacy apps and websites to the mobile devices employees and customers actually use. What is your organization doing to unchain its employees from desktop 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 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

Reduce Corporate Expenses by Mobile-Enabling Existing Business Systems with REST APIs

Portland

Mobile-enable backend business systems by wrapping them with REST APIs that speak the same language as any device, browser or app.

Most backend business systems organizations have deployed over the last several decades have absolutely nothing common. They all speak different languages via myriad binary and text wire protocols. They typically don’t talk to each other and they don’t talk mobile.

This is a big problem in today’s mobile-first world because CIOs expect data from any of their backend systems to be delivered to any device, thus empowering their employees.

Companies are faced with difficult choices ranging from replacing the old systems with new, mobile-friendly ones, rewriting custom systems, upgrading to newer versions if they exist, or moving workloads to the cloud. Many companies are unable to make any of these choices for the same reason they haven’t upgraded their Windows apps from the 90s. Limited budgets.

A lower-cost alternative is to leave these working systems in place but create a RESTful API wrapper around them. You basically encircle these systems with commodity servers or cloud gateways that map proprietary APIs to mobile-friendly APIs. This mapping can be accomplished via code or through connectors or adapters. Now all your existing systems will be able to communicate bi-directionally with any mobile device and more easily interface with customers and business partners. Think of this as mobile SOA.

Reduce business expenses by extending existing workloads to mobile devices rather than replacing those workloads with new solutions. What is your company doing to empower every employee with 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 Business Risk by Utilizing Open Mobile Internet Standards

San Jose

The mobile Internet communicates with HTTP(S), follows an architectural style called REST, serializes data as JSON & compresses with GZip and Deflate.

These different standards weren’t mashed together by a working group. They represent a grass-roots phenomenon that transformed how the Internet communicates.

Data traverses the globe through routers and firewalls via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol HTTP(S). While standards bodies worked for years to create the simple object access protocol (SOAP), the representational state transfer protocol (REST) emerged from a Phd dissertation. REST used the basic verbs of HTTP including GET, POST, PUT and DELETE, to pass messages and call remote procedures across heterogeneous systems.

You probably remember the XML craze in the late 90s and early 2000s. This way of formatting data was self-describing and worked with any system. Unfortunately, it was quite verbose and therefore not as efficient across slower, wireless data networks. Luckily, the slimmed-down JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data format came along and gave us a better and smaller way to serialize data. To further shrink data traversing the Internet, GZip and Deflate represent universal ways to compress everything. HTTP/2 is a game-changer with improved speed and multiplexing. Protocols like OData are based on REST/JSON and are found in many recent technology platforms. You should care about this stuff because it works with any browser, device or server.

Reduce risk to your business by betting on open standards to support all devices rather than taking dependencies on proprietary technologies you don’t control. What is your organization doing to eliminate vendor lock-in by moving from closed to open standards?

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 Risks by Creating a Corporate Mobile Center of Excellence

Create a corporate mobile center of excellence to create processes, establish governance & develop a matrix of supported devices.

Your transformation must begin with your people!

Despite the growing maturity of mobile technologies in the enterprise, most organizations have been unable to put the governance in place needed to make mobility work well for employees and employers alike. When BYOD users don’t know the rules for using their devices at work, it’s the same as having no rules at all.

The most important step you can take is to create a mobile center of excellence (COE) comprised of employees from most of your different business units and IT. This team will create processes that make the best use of your technology:

  • Creating a matrix of supported devices that meet the company’s app, security and management needs
  • Creating a document that spells-out all mobile policies and procedures
  • Defining how telecom expenses will be covered via stipends or reimbursements as well as international roaming policies
  • Performing due diligence on the selection of app development, backend integration and device management packages
  • Defining wireless LAN, WAN and cellular standards as well as negotiating plans with mobile operators

Establishing a Mobile Center of Excellence will not only reduce risk to your company by clearly spelling-out what your employees can and cannot do, but it will also improve employee productivity by eliminating all the “guess work.” What steps is your organization taking to assemble relevant stakeholders to build a mobile COE?

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

Mobile Strategies for Business is Now Available

Book Cover

I’m pleased to announce that my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform Your Business” is now available.

Mobile Strategies for Business is the first book to clearly explain how executives can digitally transform their organization through a simple, step-by-step process.

The mobile tidal wave has permanently transformed the consumer world and now it’s washing up on the shores of the enterprise. This drives the need for an enterprise mobile strategy to mobilize existing applicationsmodernize infrastructuresbuild new apps for employees and customers, and bring order to your environment via enterprise mobility management. Mobile Strategies for Business guides you through this transformation and drives positive outcomes including reducing expensesimproving employee productivityincreasing revenueboosting user engagement and reducing risk.

Based on the top 50 most important enterprise mobility concepts spanning four major topic areas, Mobile Strategies for Business is the first book to clearly explain how to digitally transform your business through a simple, step-by-step process.

You’ll learn how to address the following organizational challenges:

  • How to transform IT infrastructures that are wholly unprepared to deliver on the promise of Mobile and IoT for employees and customers. Learn how to enhance performance, scalability, bandwidth and security to support today’s mobile and cloud workloads.
  • How to reconcile the convergence of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon and the need to keep corporate data secure. Learn how to support the flexible work styles of your mobile employees while keeping everything safe.
  • How to migrate the millions of out-of-date, insecure and unsupported desktop and Web 1.0 apps that currently run global business to run on modern mobile platforms. Learn how to unchain your line of business apps and web sites from the desktop and move them to the mobile devices your employees actually use.
  • How to rapidly build mobile enterprise apps that run on any platform and work with data from any backend system. Learn how to mobile-enable your existing systems and data to empower your mobile employees and reach out to your mobile customers.

Back Cover

Mobile Strategies for Business is a project plan and an implementation guide allowing your organization to digitally transform so it can ride the mobile wave to employee and customer success. Along the way, it builds a future-looking foundation that prepares your organization for successive technology tidal waves that will impact your business, workforce and customers.

What is your organization doing define and execute on a mobile strategy? It’s time to empower your mobile workforce.

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

Enterprise Mobility for 2015 and Beyond

iPhone 6

This last year was full of spectacular moments as mobility continued to consume the world.

We now have almost three billion people online and most of that number is due to smartphones. Mobile apps eclipsed the web as the place people spend more of their time and an estimated 80% of adults will be using a smartphone by 2020. Since the best way to review the most important mobile events of 2014 is through a long, run-on sentence, take a breath and dive in:

Microsoft acquired Nokia, tablet growth slowed, VMware acquired AirWatch, mobile games outsold mobile apps, MobileIron went public, Apple shipped a phablet, Good acquired BoxTone, Gartner’s MDM Magic Quadrant became their EMM Magic Quadrant, Xiaomi ate everyone’s lunch in China, IBM and Apple got together to build business apps, Microsoft brought Office to the iPad, MEAP vanished while MBaaS appeared, Apple launched a Swift way to Pay, HTML5 became a recommendation, Android dominated market share, Apple dominated revenue and the Internet of Things won the hype award. Whew!

With the ‘Year in Review’ out of the way, let’s talk about the things that will make the most impact in the enterprise mobility space in 2015. Expect the ‘Bring Your Own App’ (BYOA) trend to hit a speed bump by corporate mobile centers of excellence that require enterprise mobile apps to meet security standards around authentication, data at rest and data in transit. Mobile developers need to up their game to break into the enterprise. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) companies will continue their move from Mobile Device Management (MDM) to Mobile Application Management (MAM) to data protection and on to Identity and Access Management (IAM). The goalposts will always be moving in this space.

In the smartphone space, low-cost devices will continue to garner the most market share. Remember, once you leave the world of subsidized phone plans, economics takes over. The trick for enterprises looking to use them in corporate-liable scenarios is to ensure the mobile operating system meets security and manageability needs while performing well on low-end hardware.

With millions of Win32 apps currently running most global businesses, large investments will be made in moving these apps to modern, sandboxed, mobile operating systems. Unlike many of the large, monolithic desktop apps built for Windows over the last two decades, mobile apps focus on specific tasks. This means for every Win32 app, multiple mobile apps will be built. Additionally, they will take advantage of device sensors to provide employees with better contextual experiences.

With the back end systems of most enterprises unable to speak the language of mobile devices, let alone support their performance and scalability requirements, upgrading these on-premises systems or moving them to the cloud represents another large investment companies will be making. Some companies will wrap their existing systems in REST/JSON APIs; others will connect them to MBaaS offerings, while others purchase new vertically-integrated mobile packages.

Rapidly shrinking wireless and sensor-enabled chipsets with low power consumption have given rise to the Internet of Things (IoT) with IPv6 ensuring there are enough addresses to go around. When combined with things like streaming analytics, machine learning and cloud scale, this descendant of SCADA and M2M is going to help companies unlock insights that lead to cost savings and new revenue opportunities.

In the end, the promise of personal computing is being realized via small, portable, sensor-filled, picture-taking, supercomputing, payment processing, low-powered communication devices that connect the citizens of the world and that’s a good thing.

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

Microsoft Office is Now Available for the iPad

Today we made the highly anticipated move to bring Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to the Apple iPad.

All three products can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and used to view existing documents.  Via an in-app purchase mechanism, iPad users can unlock the full functionality of the products by subscribing to Office 365 for $99 per year.

Word

Word for iPad

PowerPoint

PowerPoint for iPad

Take it for a spin.

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

A Quick Look at the iPhone 5C/S Event

Here’s a quick rundown of the iPhone 5C and 5S launch from my Twitter liveblog:

Where Apple is leading:

  • The 5S is running on a new, 64 bit A7 processor with a 64 bit version of iOS7.
  • The 5S is twice as fast as the iPhone 5 and supports Open GL/ES for games with desktop-level graphics performance.

Where Apple is playing catchup:

  • The CoreMotion API is a good idea and I had a unified Motion API on Windows Phone “Mango” a couple of years ago.
  • Using the Touch ID fingerprint reader to login to the device and make iTunes purchases is a good idea and I had a fingerprint reader on my Compaq iPAQ over a decade ago.
  • Using a bigger sensor, aperature, and pixels for the new camera helps them catch up to the innovations found in the HTC One but they’re still light years away from the innovations found in the Nokia Lumia 1020.
  • Purchasers of new iOS devices get all iWorks apps for free just like purchasers of Windows Phones have always gotten Microsoft Office for free.
  • As mentioned everywhere on the Internet, the iOS7 UI tries to cobble together the best of Windows Phone and Android Jelly  Bean while eliminating skeuomorphism.
  • The colorful polycarbonate iPhone 5C devices mimic the colorful polycarbonate Nokia Lumia devices.

Where Apple missed:

  • At $549, the iPhone 5C isn’t even close to being inexpensive enough to make a dent in the developing world the way Android & Nokia has.  When I can buy a Nokia Lumia 520 Windows Phone at Walmart off-contract for only $124, the value prop for the $549 iPhone 5C evaporates.  Apple shares have tanked as shareholders didn’t get the low cost device they demanded to boost the iPhone’s declining market share.
  • No improvement in battery life.

Is the iPhone 5S a decent upgrade to the iPhone 5?  Absolutely.  Is it the mind-blowing example of design and technology that we’ve come to expect from Apple?  Absolutely not.

– Rob

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

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