The impact of wearables and connected devices for developers – Part 2

Clearly, wearable and connected devices hold tremendous promise for enterprises. However, while building apps for these devices can present challenges for developers and designers, the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages.

Some enterprises are actually redesigning entire business processes that haven’t changed for decades. Progressive enterprises are shifting to apps designed from the outside in, not the traditional inside out approach. So, it means firms should not structure apps around internal system limitations or around organisation boundaries; this simply propagates legacy processes. Instead, adopt a people-centred design philosophy and orient around the end user personas and what outcomes are needed to let people get their work done.

Also, in the world of mobile-time you may have just 30 seconds to “glance and go” to quickly get information or respond to a customer request while you’re on the go. This means people must reimagine their apps and break complex processes down into the specific micro tasks that can be mobilised – approvals, alerts, etc. This mirrors the “interrupt-driven” work styles, that is the way most of us work, says Burley Kawasaki, SVP Products at Kony, Inc.

Burley Kawasaki, SVP, Products at Kony, Inc

By making simpler and smaller task oriented apps it also drives faster deployments and encourages more rapid user adoption. Don’t replicate or “bloat” traditional web applications – design apps with less features, not more. Instead, break down the traditional definition of app into specific tasks that need to get done.

Therefore, to manage this design and development challenge, many organisations are tackling it by democratising the process of mobile app development, and enabling existing web or mobile developers and designers – and those with no background in programing or coding skills – to easily and quickly build rich, innovative mobile apps.

They are doing so by embracing these new device and form factors, and by encouraging design and development teams to use non-traditional, low-code, cross platform mobile app creation tools that enable them to meet the app demands of the enterprise.

Another related emerging trend is to conduct an internal hackathon – not just for IT, but engaging across all parts of the business. New tools exist that can help non-developers quickly prototype new solutions. Businesses should consider making hackathons an ongoing element of business delivery rather than one-off events. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn. That’s one of the benefits of making this a sustained and continuous process – is that it takes the risk out individual projects.

Ultimately, these strategies enable designers to focus on building and optimising an outstanding user experience (UX) and process instead of learning how to code apps for unfamiliar devices, such as the Apple watch or intelligent control of smart homes or wider industrial IoT or M2M applications.

While there are clearly design and development challenges, these needn’t hinder a firm’s capability to progress and adopt newer technologies, business approaches and advancements.

The next frontier in app development involves embracing cross-platform development. So, if Forrester, Gartner and Kony’s research is anything to go by, there will be plenty of opportunities and challenges; however, it’s only by arming teams with sufficient knowledge, skills, app development tools and strategic direction that truly liberates enterprise app development and enables genuine digital transformation.

The author of this blog is Burley Kawasaki, SVP Products at Kony, Inc.

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