In this blog, let’s discuss about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Proliferation of smartphones and tablets in the enterprise is leading solution providers to offer their services in all possible formats. LinkedIn recently launched its HTML 5 app called Touch, but unfortunately targeted only a select range of devices. With limited device support, its HTML 5 app does not hold much future as it works on only those platforms that already have a native app, a redundant solution.
Many ISVs face a similar challenge – should I build my product on all platforms or, should I take the web – mobile web route? Both have different merits and limitations. One can have the solution engineered for select platforms and hope that these platforms find audience with the end user it is targeting. In the volatile space mobility has found itself in, lack of standards and the rush to support multiple devices are creating more challenges. One option is to go with HTML5 based mobile web applications that can be used with any HTML5 compatible browser, be it on desktop or on devices. This strategy is fraught with its own challenges as it has to live with one limitation that is widely considered as its strength of HTML – a compatible browser!
Mobile devices bring their own challenges in terms of security, ease of use and connectivity. Offline functionalities are gaining ground, and there is an unprecedented demand to use the functionalities on a mobile. Smartphone adoption is also different in geographies and is seeing a shift. Blackberry, once a sought-after device by executives, has lost the edge today. Android has made huge inroads and Windows phone, the new entry, is giving increasing competition to other players, not to mention the use of tablets in enterprises. Form factor, compatibility issues and usability has come to the fore. HTML5 has added to the confusion and businesses find it difficult to realize a policy that would take them to next level in mobility. The need of the hour is to understand where the target customers are leaning towards, and provide a solution that would not only suite the current needs, but also help in developing functionalities and a roadmap for the future.
HTML5 is gaining ground and is here to stay, and so are the native solutions on individual platforms. Product Management, Business, Sales and Customer Support will have to sit together and formalize a policy that would be beneficial both to the organization and the customer. This should take the form of a technical product roadmap which has nothing to do with the functional product roadmap, but lists down the platforms it will support. This also provides direction and agility to the engineering team to build functionality and components accordingly.
Today, IT is being consumerized. Gone are the days where enterprises had standard hardware and devices. Now, everyone has a mobile device, be it a smartphone or a tablet and the demand is forever increasing for the available apps. A good strategy to support BYOD, with or without HTML5, would go a long way in meeting these challenges and help to create a mindshare. This will help companies to create the much needed customer loyalty. Let us face it – Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is here to stay! What’s your take on it?