Click here to close now.


Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Blog Feed Post

Digital Transformation's Impact on Enterprise Mobility and App Design Strategies

Peter Rogers
My friend and colleague, the Chief Technologist of Studio 13 at Cognizant, Peter Rogers, shares his insights on digital transformation and mobile strategies in this guest post.  He digs deep into the technologies involved in a digital transformation and the role of mobility?  This article is a real geekfest so be prepared to think and learn!

There is something strange in the that feeling before a storm. You can feel the electric charge in the atmosphere and that anticipation of the mother of all storms, but, nothing comes. Instead there is just a prolonged feeling of anticipation of something coming down the line that will change everything. This is how it feels with "digital transformation" in the vast majority of companies across Europe today.

The first problem is what exactly is "digital."  For all intents and purposes a company has to define their own meaning for "digital." Most of the definitions I have found seem to hinge around the core concepts of Multi-Channel or even Omni-Channel support for emerging business and technology interfaces. This definition seems to go in a few different directions which may sound familiar:

  • Responsive Web Design being used to hit every channel possible
  • Mobile-First approach being used to target the mobile device demographic first
  • Something called 'Beyond-Mobile-First', which seems to end up in a debate about Internet of Things and touching on Google Glass

Let's now take a look at a few of the trends in mobility today and how they relate to digital transformation.  There are strong movements in mobility towards the concepts of backbone and angular due to the fact they are HTML5 frameworks that offer built in governance. Certainly there is a growing realization that the "30 second App" market is dead and we should instead be focusing on what happens 6 months down the line. Life cycle management is the new "30 second App" and that means frameworks need to support built in governance.

Architecturally speaking, best practices are an API driven approach with a 4-tier architecture supporting data transformation and high end scalability. Whilst many people are looking at accelerators for both the client tier and the service tier (cross platform code, design time APIs, App Factories, templates, Cloud Build farms, intelligent next generation scripting languages and Cloud cross-compilation), we often forget about the data itself.

Angular teaches us not only about Test Driven Development but also of the importance of Data Driven Development which means a data model is agreed upfront and then a globalized development team can work independently against the same data contract. Just as important is the data transformation tier, as championed by companies like MoovWeb with their Responsive Delivery solution powered by Tritium.

End-to-end holistic JavaScript solutions are certainly starting to become commonplace, with embedded JavaScript offering the same stack for implicit wearable devices. An often forgotten factor is mobile data virtualization as championed by companies like KidoZen. Particularly relevant in business verticals with many duplicate and disparate backend systems is the ability to virtualize and abstract data sources along with integrate into complex legacy Enterprise backends using transformational logic on complex system responses. WOW!  What a mouthful!

I often talk about Mobile Backend as a Service as a Cloud technology but I realized I have been underselling it from a business potential. Digital Transformation will need to be enacted through an actualization of Omni-Channel that strongly takes into account the socialization and connectedness of people, powered by a duology of API Gateways and Mobile Backend as a Service.

I have identified three key factors in a digital practice:

  1. Firstly the biggest challenge is the organizational, political and human effects of a digital transformation. 
  2. Secondly, you have to find the right experts in the field (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Business Process Management, Technology, Strategy, Data Transformation) and elevate your current thought process up. The easy solution is of course just to downscale your thoughts and pick anti-expert generalists who view everything on a lower level of cognitive reasoning. I can see lots of organizations sadly settling for this approach and getting average results. 
  3. Thirdly you need to define the channels that you are actually targeting and the love you wish to give them.

Does this sound like your definition of a Digital Transformation and Mobile Strategy, "Multi-channel powered by Responsive Web Design (RWD) or Responsive Design with Server Side Components (RESS) for all the different channel end points. This is achieved by pushing a common presentational layer to all the clients and then allowing the client to adapt it using media queries. RESS allows for a mixture of adaptive and responsive behavior by adding in device families and adaptive knowledge which is shared between the client and the server." If this is your definition, then there is more work to do. Here are some reasons.

Mobile-First made people optimize for the mobile end point first, which had the tangible benefit that the other endpoints are all optimized as a result. However, with the advent of the Internet of Things people are already thinking about "next channels."

The Internet of Things is about the ambient quantification and associated predictive analytics applied to the Big Data models that will couple Artificial Intelligence systems to subsequently guide your life choices. If you think that sounds like mumbo jumbo then just wait till your watch warns you of your blood sugar level.

Beyond-Mobile-First and Omni-Channel means we need to think about all of our channel endpoints and give them all the optimal experience. This pretty much necessitates a client-side rendering approach with (adaptive) Responsive Delivery Cloud Transformation solutions as a fallback for dumb clients (no offense intended). I certainly see cross-compiled JavaScript and JSON as a viable Omni-channel solution and most IoT hardware vendors actually have chipsets that can run embedded JavaScript now.

Future channels include: automobiles; implicit wearable devices; explicit wearable devices; virtual reality devices; TVs; game consoles; eReaders; low end tablets; advertising boards; and even clothing. I actually had a programmable T-Shirt from CyberPunk 15 years ago - you could program different sequences which looked amazing in nightclubs (at least to me).

You need to choose the channel end points which are of interest to you and not all will be initially successful which is why you need to employ the guidance of technology strategists. Explicit wearable devices like Google Glass are financially prohibitive and the implicit wearable device market is fragmented without a clear leader. The automotive market for apps is not in a good shape due to the financial cost of getting an application released due to security sign-offs. Smart TVs seem to offer a bad form of widgets which you cannot interact with very well and the Angry Birds TV App looks quite prohibitive to one's health.

The future architecture looks to be client controlled rendering with JavaScript based frameworks (Angular, Embedded JavaScript, Cross-Compilation through Hyperloop) that pull the JSON data models they need through a combination of Mobile Backend as a Service and API Gateways. The allows a down-scaling of the traditionally heavy Java EE middle tier and a movement away from the expensive and monolithic server frameworks of yesteryear. Node scales far better than anything other than Scala/Lift and that is just the way the market is going.  We also have to consider the real wow factor of iOS 8 was transient channels which can maintain state between different user channel interactions. We will also see a shift from Customer Relationship Management software to Customer Experience Management software and Digital Enterprise Platforms, of which Adobe is leading the way in terms of mindshare.

I therefore propose the following definition of an effective digital strategy:

"Transient Omni-channel with dedicated channels for most of the following: desktop; mobile; tablets; eReaders; wearables; TVs; automobiles; and PoS. The correct channels are chosen by a business consultant who can accurately map your business model with appropriate technology predication. Builds on top of Cloud-First, Mobile-First, but adds in optimized end-point specific rendering for new channels like small screen wearables. This is achieved by the client pulling data through APIs to offer the very best experience; as opposed to the server pushing non-optimized presentational layers. Powered by a 4-tier architecture that utilizes API Gateways, Mobile Backend as a Service, data transformation and data virtualization. Customer Experience Management works in tandem with Customer Relationship Management to deliver Digital Enterprise Platforms. A focus on connected people and the new business models associated with that brave new world. The experience of the people is key and the way you connect to them and gauge their reactions should shape your business if you are to be successful"

~Peter Rogers, Chief Technologist, Studio 13, Cognizant

Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Editor
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies
Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***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 the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley. The program, to be aired during the peak viewership season of the year, will have a major impac...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, will look at different existing uses of peer-to-peer data sharing and how it can become useful in a live session to...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...