In this second blog in our series on the Venado Enterprise Mobile Stack (you can view the first one here) we’ll talk about the foundation. As with any successful building project, a solid foundation ensures success for everything built upon it.
When we, as the founders of Venado, started creating our process for building mobile applications we identified certain issues that we’d seen in previous customer engagements that we knew needed to be part of the structure. We also identified many others that should not be part of the process.
In one such case we recalled a time where we had built a mobile application for a Fortune 1000 energy company. The application was built, tested and released to production and working well. Then one day, approximately 3 months after release, the customer came to us and said they needed to make a change to the authentication functions because their enterprise architecture group had made a change in policy. We created an SOW and began work on the changes to the application. Not a problem for the application. However, the thought occurred to us that there were likely many more applications making the same changes to accommodate the new policy change, costing the organization tens of thousands of dollars. No one questioned the change or the costs because the recommended changes needed to be made to improve security. However, we questioned the mobile app dev infrastructure.
Wouldn’t it make more sense if there was a single place where these security changes were made and all of those applications could leverage the changes made in that single place? The answer is, obviously, yes. With this scenario, and a few others like it in mind, we knew we needed to build applications that separated the backend development from front end development. To build applications where a change in a security policy could be made in the backend without the need to go to each application and make the change over and over. The answer was Backend as a Service (BaaS).
This Backend as a Service philosophy is certainly nothing new. However, seldom do organizations take the time and energy required up front to establish a solid foundation to their backend development environment. In recent years, a number of tools have emerged as leaders in the area of BaaS. These tools offer organizations the ability to develop functions and services on the backend such as integration points, authentication services, security services, notification services and many more. At the same time, frontend developers can build applications that select needed services or integration points from a catalog of services offered by the BaaS platform. Front end developers don’t wait on backend developers and vice versa, thereby speeding up the process of mobile application development.
In a recent report by Gartner, they identified four key elements in scaling mobile application development in the enterprise. One of those key elements was to “Adopt a bimodal IT approach to create an agile API layer. This will optimize mobile integration and simplify the process of connecting mobile apps to many different types of data sources”. In other words, start with a BaaS platform.
When it comes to implementing this foundation as part of the Venado Enterprise Mobile Stack, we at Venado don’t tell our customers who they should choose. Only that they should choose a solution for this foundation. We have some fantastic partners that we can recommend, however, if our customers already have a solution in place…fantastic! Sadly, we find that in many cases our customers, most of whom are very large organizations, still do things the old fashioned way. The way the company did in the example above.
If you want to build mobile applications smarter, faster and easier, it may be time to change the way you are doing things. We would be happy to help.