Blog Feed Post

Mobile Expert Opinion: Mobile Platform as a Service by Peter Rogers?

My colleague at Cognizant and mobile expert, Peter Rogers, shares more of his thoughts and opinions on how enterprise mobility is and will evolve in 2014.


I think most businesses have realized the most effective mobile solutions are holistically designed from the outset. That means not just building the most beautiful front end, but also making sure that the supporting enterprise services are provided in a timely and secure manner. This has led to mobile and cloud being tightly integrated for many years, it was just hidden behind a black box inside of a MADP (Mobile Application Development Platform). Now it seems the black box has opened up and we are seeing open, standards based, cost effective and flexible Mobile First services being delivered through the cloud. It kind of begun with Parse who offered remote data manipulation and now we are seeing full life cycle management including real-time analytic visualisations.

Mobile Back End as a Service (MBaaS) falls somewhere in between Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), with the key differentiator being a Mobile First intent. The original offerings like Parse were non-enterprise offerings and largely focussed on remote data manipulation, location services and authentication. Later offering have looked to differentiate their offerings by adding dedicated enterprise connectors and these are classed as Enterprise Mobile Back End as a Service.

In the non-enterprise MBaaS space then we are already seeing lots of acquisitions and new people moving into this space like Famo.us and AppMobi. The closest thing to a traditional Mobile Application Development Platform is an Enterprise MBaaS, but you will not find a portable native (cross platform) solution on the client side. Instead, a lot of the MBaaS vendors offer partnerships with Mobile Consumer Application Platform (MCAP) vendors - which was the original name for portable native or cross-platform solutions. As such technologies like Titanium, Xamarin, PhoneGap and XDK offer the missing client side part.

The next stage of this technology adventure is the business vertical alignments of Enterprise MBaaS. We will start to see specific services being offered for verticals like Life Sciences, for example a Health Cloud. Indeed Life Sciences is probably the least Mobile First vertical and one of the largest areas of R&D budget so we should see some massive changes sweeping in over the next 18 months. It is worth dissecting an Enterprise MBaaS at this stage before we go any further.

Generally speaking if we performed an autopsy on an Enterprise MBaaS we would find the following: a Service Tier for hosting custom servers (such as Node.js); a number of enterprise connectors (such as SAP); some pre-built server-side services (such as social media integration and push notifications); and a security framework that holds it all together.

Throughout 2014 then we will see the following evolutionary steps:
  • business vertical alignment for the sets of enterprise connectors
  • generation server-side services like Cloud CMS and Mobile Data Management
  • more MCAP integrations with greater client-side libraries
  • new and evolving field of life cycle management services.
Within the B2E space then not everybody has accepted the argument of portable native. However, if we look at real-time analytics it offers us the ability to effectively control the B2E ecosystem by monitoring which apps are in use. This in turn enables us to end-of-life applications that are not being used in order to reduce maintenance cost. It also enables us to spot problems with applications being used through crash reporting. We can even start to look at the successful applications and build more of those in order to start looking at application portfolio management; rather than just building apps for the sake of it.

Real-time analytics was born in the cloud and so this is a prime example of a Cloud SaaS that can be used to enrich mobile application management. We can have dashboards that show in real-time when the application is launched, where it is, and even have dedicated crash reporting that shows if an application goes down. In the B2C space we seem to wait until our App Store ratings drop before taking action but this enables us to see what is happening in the field and to release an update before getting a mass of bad reviews.

I see two types of Cloud SaaS that will become more popular:
  • Developer services - I would class the following as developer services: performance management; crash reporting; remote SDK; HTML5-to-Native conversion; JavaScript cross-compilation on the Cloud. 
  • Life cycle management services - I would class the following as life cycle management tools: real-time analytics; dashboards; automated testing on the Cloud; server-side unit tests; template solutions; and easy personalisation. 
The ability to plug existing native applications into a life cycle management framework has to be one of the most exciting concepts for 2014. Sure, there is always integration work, but maybe we will start to see the emergence of tools that can automatically add in integration points into the code for common areas of analytics such as when the application starts, stops and crashes.

I would, therefore, see the emergence of a new form of Enterprise Mobile Back End as a Service that has embraced both developer services and life cycle management services. It also offers some second generation frameworks to support server side development: like offering hosted Express along with Node.js; or having a Cloud CMS; or even a full mobile data management solution. These kind of platforms need a new name to differentiate them.  How about we all use Mobile Platform as a Service.

A Mobile Platform as a Service is the natural evolution of Enterprise Mobile Back End as a Service, and it features:
  • dedicated verticalized enterprise connectors
  • a service tier that comes with supporting frameworks and second generation services like Cloud CMS
  • developer services and life cycle management support for both hybrid apps and native apps with minimal integration required.
These are Peter Roger's opinions.  What do you think?  Agree or disagree? Comments?

Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is an opinionated Senior Analyst at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, SAP Mentor Alumnus, speaker, writer, and mobile and digital strategies expert. He is a popular keynote speaker, and in the past three years he has shared his insights into mobile and digital strategies with companies in 17 different countries. He has over 30 years of experience working with enterprise applications, and he is a veteran mobile industry executive. He wrote the Forward to SAP Press' bestselling book on enterprise mobility titled Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP, and he has written over 3,000 articles.

Latest Stories
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Successful transition from traditional IT to cloud computing requires three key ingredients: an IT architecture that allows companies to extend their internal best practices to the cloud, a cost point that allows economies of scale, and automated processes that manage risk exposure and maintain regulatory compliance with industry regulations (FFIEC, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA). The unique combination of VMware, the IBM Cloud, and Cloud Raxak, a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a co...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Apache Hadoop is a key technology for gaining business insights from your Big Data, but the penetration into enterprises is shockingly low. In fact, Apache Hadoop and Big Data proponents recognize that this technology has not yet achieved its game-changing business potential. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, John Mertic, director of program management for ODPi at The Linux Foundation, will explain why this is, how we can work together as an open data community to increase adoption, and the i...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...