Mobile from a customer perspective
Mobile development is a rapidly changing area. As mobile devices become more and more capable, mobile operating systems and apps are being written to take advantage of those capabilities. Obviously this means that the development tools and environments are changing equally as rapidly. A few years ago, NetWeaver Mobile was being pushed heavily as the One True Platform. Then SAP bought Sybase and SUP was the way to go while NetWeaver Mobile was rapidly forgotten. More recently SAP bought Syclo and again there’s uncertainty about how mobile development should be done. Then there’s Gateway, which provides an alternative mechanism for interfacing apps to SAP backend systems. And that’s before you take into account all the third party mobile tools and platforms that are out there. I guess this is unavoidable, but it leaves me with a big problem.
If I want to develop a mobile application now, what do I use? I’m going to have to invest in infrastructure and development skills and resources, not to mention licences, and so I’d really like to invest in something with a long life. Something I can use for at least the next mobile project when this one proves a success. History tells me, though, that I can’t do that. Whatever mobile platform I develop with today will most likely be obsolete in 12 months time when I’m looking at my next project. Any re-use of skills or infrastructure is unlikely, and so shouldn’t be assumed in the business case. For me at least, that makes the costs for mobile projects prohibitively high.
I wonder if I’m unusual in this, or do other AP customers feel the same way? Should I be thinking of mobile development projects differently from the way I think about other projects?