The Challenges Ahead for Mobile Application Development

Analysts from Gartner Inc. and IDC have recently weighed in on the challenges that lie directly in front of mobile app developers and the necessity for these teams to think differently from traditional practices. David Ramel at adtmag.com summarizes these points in a recent article and highlights several obstacles development teams must wrestle with:

  1. Approaches taken within developing for desktop software do not translate in mobile app development – device diversity, network connectivity and other mobile-specific considerations dement that mobile development teams use “functional, performance load and UX testing as well as agile development practices.”
  2. Mobile disruption – the central problem in mobile application development is addressing the variety of platforms and devices that employees can bring into the enterprise. This flood of devices has created a “disruption” of sorts that demands developers are able to distribute to multiple combinations of devices, OS and form factors.
  3. UX matters – Ramel sites that most user complaints about mobile apps have to do with user experience caused by poor UI design, workflow responsiveness. In the world of mobile, function definitely matters, but with a limited amount of screen size, form matters a whole lot more

The advice for development teams: “embrace the Web ecosystem of skills and set up Web developer teams along with existing Java and Microsoft ecosystem developer teams because tools, frameworks and middleware aimed at enterprises are increasingly integrating HTML5 support.”

 

Read the full article here.

 

We’re Hiring!

Sierra Data Systems is looking to add a new member to our team. Do you know someone who might be a good fit?

Position: Web Developer

As a mid-senior level Web developer you will be primarily responsible for working with a small team to develop and maintain an existing large and complex Software-as-a-Service ASP.NET / JavaScript / mobile business-to-business web application. Developing/maintaining other smaller custom business applications is also likely. You must be comfortable with building new products from the concept phase onward, as well as taking complex and challenging existing systems and quickly developing expertise in maintaining/enhancing them. You must be able to follow existing software development processes, understand and communicate detailed project documentation, and generate work estimates. You must be quality conscious, and be dedicated to delivering quality products on time and on budget.

Position Requirements

  • Between 3-5 years of real world experience using JavaScript / CSS / HTML5. Prefer JQuery, Backbone, Underscore, Lodash, Require or other JavaScript library experience. PhoneGap experience is a plus. Since we are in the process of redesigning existing SaaS systems for JavaScript/HTML5 this is the most important piece of hiring criteria.
  • Experience in building native mobile applications on modern smartphone platforms including Android, and/or iOS is a plus.
  • Familiarity and experience with MVC, MVP, MVVM and MVCVM patterns.
  • Knowledge of ASP.NET 3+ web applications using SQL Server 2008+
  • Prefer at least one year of experience using both VB.NET and C#, as well as report development experience with tools such as Crystal Reports or RDLC.
  • Demonstrated aptitude with any the following is a plus: Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio 2012.
  • Dedication and proven track record of delivering working, tested and high-quality software on a schedule. Accuracy in providing time estimates for work goals is essential.
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively.
  • Ability to multi-task and manage multiple assignments in a fast-paced, highly agile environment.
  • Excellent ability to read and understand technical documentation and development specifications and the verbal skills to communicate both with technical and non-technical groups. Strong analytical and problem solving skills. You will be expected to use your analytical skills to fill in gaps in requirements, including speaking to customers and fellow employees to gather additional information related to your assignments.
  • Confidence and curiosity to “take ownership” of a project while maintaining the flexibility to work at the behest of customers, team leadership, and the overall needs and standards of the application when necessary.
  • Exposure to commercial software development lifecycle (SDLC) and knowledge of Agile development methodology.

Position Details

  • Sierra Data Systems is the leading enterprise mobility software company focused on transforming business processes to drive results for field service and logistics operations. The Company’s modular SaaS product, DATArrive™, optimizes business processes increasing the value of mobile employees and giving management the ability to make data driven decisions.
  • Full Time, salaried, 40 hour work week in an office environment. Eventually, there may be an opportunity for some remote work.
  • Position is located in Grass Valley, CA. Relocation support is not available.
  • We are unable to accept those needing or possessing and H1B Visa

To apply, please send a copy of your resume to jobs@sierradata.com

Download a copy of the job description here

Build or Buy?

Building mobility applications in house (or outsourcing for one-off development) has its risks. As taken from the recent issue of Field Mobility Magazine “Field Mobility – Should I Buy or Build?

When an IT organization builds applications, it’s harder to sustain a long-term commitment. When you lose long-term commitment, your product is left behind. With a market that’s moving so quickly, that’s a very big risk. If you decide, “I’ll hire 10 developers and I’ll build this application.” They build this application and you’re very happy. They move to the next project. And 2 years from now, the application is outdated. Then what do you do?

 

What Transportation and Logistics Managers are Saying

Intermec has recently commissioned a new study surveying logistics managers at organizations of over 500 employees within the UK, France, USA, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Apart from the usual findings a few are worth noting:

  • $282,000 – the amount companies expect to save in the next 12 months from GPS technology
  • 92%  – the amount of transportation and logistics managers struggle to meet same-day delivery requirements
  • 60% – the percentage of respondents who believe mobile communications offer the most promising return on investment to their organization

Image

Recommended: New Blog from True Wireless

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.54.03 PMI was glad to see our friends at True Wireless have recently jumped into the blogging world. For those not familiar, True has been a respected leader in the wireless world since 2004, managing the major aspects of the the wireless lifecycle including procurement, billing, deployment, helpdesk and MDM. Some of the recent content from the blog includes:

  • Why you shouldn’t tackle a large mobile deployment on your own
  • 5 reasons to outsource mobility management
  • Security strategies for BYOD

Be sure and check out some of their new content at truewireless.com/blog

Mobility and the Enterprise

An recent infographic created by Zendesk, pulls together some research from Businessweek, Forrester, Gigaom Pro, Frost & Sullivan, and a few others, about the influence of mobile apps in the enterprise. A couple of interesting findings:

  • 72% of small businesses use mobile apps in their operations
  • Sales of web-enabled mobile devices have surpassed sales of web-enabled laptops, notebooks and desktop computers
  • 43% of businesses report plans to incorporate mobile more in the future

You can view the infographic with all the findings here.

Strategic Trends Within Field Services

The results of The Service Council’s Field Service Benchmark Survey reveal some noteworthy trends around strategic actions being undertaken by a majority of field service organizations. Those of note:

  • 72% Investing in mobile tools to provide real-time access to required data and information in the field
  • 67% Integrating new technologies into existing field service operations
  • 62% Improving planning & forecasting related activities
  • 61% Providing additional training to field service technicians and/or dispatchers
  • 56% Automating existing manual field service processes or activities
  • 52% Increasing customer involvement in the field service process via web-enabled self-help

The big idea: many within the field service community are recognizing that despite the increase of technology and mobile devices, it is still pretty much back to the basics with respect to running a successful and profitable field service organization. Mobile technology is only as good as the operational processes it supports!

Disrupting Legacy Systems with SaaS-based Cloud Technology

As noted in a recent article from Field Technologies Online, a disruptive storm is steadily disrupting internally managed hardware,

cloud-storm

software systems and processes as the mobile cloud moves along. These are the conditions:

  • The internet is everywhere – more than 94% of the US has broadband internet coverage
  • Smart phones are the cultural norm – nearly half of all adult Americans now own either a tablet or smart phone
  • Cloud services, such as Amazon and others are faster, cheaper and safer than on site storage and processing
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) has become the go to choice for virtually any organization in the past 10 years. Owning your own on-site servers and software is quickly becoming cost prohibitive and restrictive

Like any disruption in status-quo it brings a whole new assortment of possibilities to the market place:

  • Secure mobile-cloud platforms that let you centralize data storage and easily access, manage, analyze and report on that data anywhere, anytime.
  • Configurable software platforms that let you adapt and optimize business processes continually and bring the agility needed to compete in today’s rapidly evolving landscape.
  • APIs in the cloud that let data flow openly between mobile devices and backend systems.
  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that let you get started quickly and inexpensively, without on-premise installation, provisioning, maintenance, or setup and then scale-up as you grow.

With that in mind, here are a couple of tips: (more…)

Optimism Indicators for 2013

Inc.com has put together a few numbers that are good reasons to be (cautiously) optimistic for the upcoming year.

infographic-2013-indicators

Check out the article here.

Forbes on the Future: Trends Affecting Enterprise Mobility in 2013

2013-enterprise-mobility

With 2012 wrapping up and 2013 a few weeks away the varied top lists of 2012 and predictions for 2013 have made their annual arrival. Among them, Forbes has put together a list of trends affecting enterprise mobility in 2013. They are as follows:

  • 2013 will be the year of the app – Can we possible have a greater focus on ‘the app?’ Forbes states the influx will come as a result of “user friendly” apps that allow non-IT staff to create individual customization to a platform.
  • Business users will drive up app developmentCertainly agree that the “app for everything” world we live in drives expectation for enterprise mobility
  • The digital C-suite’ will be making decisions on the fly – Meaning, c-level leaders will have mobile access to enterprise data and analytics will lead to a true virtual office enabling strategic decision making based on information that can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet
  • Simplicity + speed + scalability = mass adoption – the perfect equation every enterprise mobility software company aims for. However, Forbes claims the potential rise of a PaaS (platform as a service), would allow non IT staff the ability to build away

In short, 2013 will see user friendly applications, driven by business minded individuals, providing strategic decision makers with critical data. That sounds like a bright future.