Enterprise challenge 2013: Connect mobile to legacy systems

December 19, 2012

2012 may have marked the first move of business to embrace mobility through consumer apps and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) smartphones and tablets, but mobile will take on a different form next year.

The claim comes from system integrator Transoft and enterprise app developer Mubaloo, who recently spoke to TabTimes about the future of mobile in business .

Why mobile is the ‘next step’ for enterprise legacy systems

Following their webinar entitled ‘Legacy and the Enterprise Mobile App’, executives from both firms explained how the next phase of mobile roll-out in business will now hinge on back-end systems.

“Businesses find that they’ve been running legacy back-end systems for around 25 years but they’re bespoke (to a buyer's specification) so they can’t replace them with a package,” said Ed Jones, Transoft's sales & marketing director.

“Over the years they’ve modernized it [the back-end system] maybe with a website, a GUI or a portal, but the next step of that modernization is integration with smartphone or tablets.”

Jones admitted though that mobility is somewhat of a divisive issue at the moment, with many businesses still figuring out why they need mobile and what they can do with it.

Confusion reigns in the business world

All of this confusion represents an opportunity for system integrators like Transoft, which can integrate back-end systems to talk with any mobile device, although the firm thinks that many businesses still don’t know why they need to do it.

“The way to look at this is to think of businesses 15 years ago,” argued Jones. They required the first company websites and it was like the Wild West. No-one really understood why [they had to have a website], they just had to.

“It’s a very similar thought process with mobile apps in enterprise now.”

Mubaloo marketing manager Sarah Weller backed up this point of general confusion by saying that, despite the firm’s focus generally having been on developing enterprise apps, the company is now more commonly engaged in helping business with mobile roadmaps.

“We’re working with larger corporations and a lot more of our work now is not just development; we’re also looking at their mobile roadmap, strategy and doing consultancy. We say let’s look at your challenges, and not be held back because of systems.”

For now though, Transoft’s Jones gives the view that only a small number of forward-thinking medium and larger-sized businesses are looking at integrating their legacy systems with mobile devices in the near future.

 “It’s trending that way but it’s still someway off before going mainstream.”

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