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Say “Yes” to Mobile and Avoid the Top 10 Mistakes that could get you Fired!

By now, we all know that there are more mobile devices on earth than human beings, and the key role that smartphones and tablets will play in redefining workplace of the future. Most organizations are in the midst of planning their first few mobile projects to benefit from the mobile revolution. As you get started with your first mobile projects, watch out for these rather common mistakes to make sure your mobile projects are successful… and also make sure that you don’t get fired!


Mistake #1: Bring PC-era thinking to smartphone apps

The most common mistake companies make is to port already existing desktop apps and business process to smartphones and tablets, not realizing that the form-factor and usage of mobile devices varies greatly from desktop. You can avoid this mistake by limiting the functionality of mobile app to what the user really needs.

Mistake #2: Letting back-end systems dictate innovation

If your mobile app development and deployment is constrained by your backend, you can assure yourself there will be little innovation in your mobile apps. You must adopt a mobile-only or mobile-first approach.

Mistake #3: Wrong development methodology

Traditional waterfall development approach used for desktop apps, with lengthy cycles doesn’t work. Mobile required agile development. It is time to rethink your development methodology and re-assess timelines of your mobile projects.

Mistake #4: Try to do too much

Don’t aim for too much. Adding too much functionality is not always the best strategy. Focus on quick-win use cases so your developers are not discouraged by setbacks early on.

Mistake #5: Skillset gap

Most companies don’t have resources to hire new mobile developers. As they rely on existing developers with expertise in developing desktop apps, they must take the time to retrain developers and to equip them with the right tools. Using an open standards-based, platform approach is the way to go.

Mistake #6: Underestimate mobile security and management needs

Developers are not security experts. That’s the reason why companies need to deploy Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions and think about app security early in the development cycle.

Mistake #7: Applications are developed without mobile use cases in mind

True potential of mobile is realized when apps utilize game-changing features of mobile like NFC, barcode scanning, camera, GPS, augmented reality etc. Simply porting desktop functionality to mobile does not make a solid mobile strategy.

Mistake #8: Don’t put users at center of design/solution

Developers generally focus on best and most complete functionality. Somewhere along the way, end-user expectations are lost. Focus on end user behavior and make your mobile apps more user-centric rather than process-centric.

Mistake #9: Picking the wrong mobile architecture

For your particular use case, is it best to choose a mobile web, hybrid or native architecture? It is important to pick a mobile app development platform that enables all three.

Mistake #10: Not looking at user experience holistically

User experience doesn’t just mean beautiful screens. Data latency, additional keystrokes, app deployment and updates add to it. Most organizations underestimate the intersection of mobile app development and deployment / usage. Using an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution that hooks into mobile app development tools will make it easier to deploy, distribute and secure mobile apps. 

Bill Clark captured these thoughts in a free on-demand webinar. You can watch it now. Meet SAP Mobile team at SAPPHIRE NOW to learn more about SAP Mobile Platform and SAP Enterprise Mobility Management solution.


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  • Hi Mahira,

    Excellent list of common pitfalls!

    I especially like #4 (Try to do too much). Don't try to build the app at once as you will get lost in trying to trace an error when testing it. First make a little 'Hello World' app to test end-to-end connectivity and then gradually add features. First basic features like login, synchronization and later on the 'body' of the app. Also when making use of backend functions, make sure you can test them from the backend and the middleware of choice (NW Gateway, SMP, etc.) so you can gradually rule out areas where an error could occur.

    A good design together with users is key to a successful app. It also helps the adoption if the users are regularly being updated on the progress and can play around with a prototype to provide valuable input in an early stage. Methods like Agile and Design Thinking are great for mobile development.

    Thanks for writing this up. It will help a lot of (new) mobile developers!

    Cheers, Roel