Its no longer uncommon to see mobile-first strategies for application development. After all, the number of mobile Internet users is growing at a much faster rate than those that access the Internet from non-mobile devices. If you still have doubts about a mobile-only strategy, just remember WhatsApp is a mobile-only service that Facebook acquired for a huge sum.
However, to implement a mobile-first strategy, remember that mobile users have different requirements (and not necessarily a subset of web interface) and contexts. To account for this, you may need a dedicated and capable mobile development and deployment platform.
Your existing enterprise software tools -- such as your Web CMS or Portal tools -- can take you only so far. The argument in their favor is that the these tools separate content or raw information from its presentation. So then if you already have a content management system managing content for your website, then it is just a matter of creating a new template optimized for mobile. But is it really that simple?
Probably not, especially if you want to go mobile-only or mobile-first. Your incumbent web delivery platform will work for very simplistic mobile scenarios. As you increase the complexity -- in terms of devices, operating systems, application capabilities, and so on -- this fails to become a scalable model, and you should start considering specialized tools.
One way to look at enterprise mobile platforms is to determine what they actually do. Consequently, we examine these key categories of attributes:
- Devices & Development Services: This includes support for different types of "apps" (native, hybrid, web), OS and device support, capabilities of development environment and the extent to which they support "native" features
- Deployment & Delivery Services: This category includes mostly mobile middleware capabilities such as cloud services, integration, reporting & analytics, security and management services
Of course there are other evaluation criteria besides the above functional features. This KMWorld article summarizes how to go about evaluating this tools. Of course, our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluations go much deeper and provide an in-depth review of around 20 vendors including Antenna, IBM, Kony, Motorola, SAP, Verivo, Adobe, Appcelerator, Netbiscuits, Oracle and others.