Posted by:Ranjani Rao June 7th, 2012

With mobile devices proliferating into the corporate arena in the employee and consumer space, enterprises have to look at mobile solutions and the associated challenges seriously. While mobility offers a number of advantages such as faster ROI, higher revenue, customer satisfaction, and greater outreach, the challenges are also numerous and far-reaching. Devising a mobile strategy requires comprehensive analysis and resolution of the inherent risks associated with mobile devices, and the functional and security side of deployment.

Long, long back, smartphones (typically BlackBerry) were the luxury of top management alone. Now, iPhone and Android handsets have trumped it; and more platforms are emerging. Greater affordability and accessibility have also made smartphones a common accessory of almost every corporate employee. With that, expectations of managing office work on the go via mobile devices have risen. It’s not just about email anymore; we’re talking about apps that integrate with enterprise CRM, ERP and in-house solutions.

Understandably, the security risks are huge. Mobile devices are used for personal tasks too, as well as games and other apps. Mixing business apps with personal apps is always a bad idea. Then, there are the risks associated with the physical loss or misplacement of the mobile device. But that’s just one side of the story.

Enterprise mobile app developers face even more basic challenges. Smartphones used within the enterprise host a range of platforms, support disparate network configurations, and have varying memory and CPU capabilities, display size and resolution, battery power, touchscreens and separate agendas for the future. Mobile app developers are responsible for building apps that work on most handsets, display correctly, and perform up to standards. IT staff, meanwhile, have the task of monitoring these disparate devices, building security policies, and devising solutions that ensure the devices are physically and virtually secure.

The rise in mobile app testing firms is a clear indication of the importance and need of this expertise.

There are no second thoughts about the need for enterprises to build mobile apps. However, mobile strategies need to fit in with what enterprises already have going for their existing apps. Correspondingly, innovators are coming up with complex mobile testing platforms to assist enterprises. There’s a distinct bent towards the cloud where an app can be tested on many mobile operating systems, devices, and networks. It’s not only more convenient but also cost-effective. At times, the expense of testing mobile apps across programming languages using a range of debuggers, emulators, IDEs, cross-platform development tools, and test automation tools can bog down progress. Then there’s also the huge investment of resources towards integration testing with existing ERP, CRM, and subsystems of the enterprise.

It’s critical to start testing mobile apps early in the development phase so bugs are not propagated beyond it. Market leaders could see serious competition from smaller parties in this field but that’s good for the overall development of mobile app testing tools and technologies. The potential is huge. Innovative solution providers can make it big as enterprises look for robust and foolproof mobile app testing solutions.

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