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 Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
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, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated 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 was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
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....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).