2009: The Year Mobile-Centric Apps Go Mainstream in the Enterprise | Page 3

"We've invested so heavily in this [integration technology] because the integration effort is so often the failure point in mobile application deployments," Wesson says.

The Antenna platform makes it easy to integrate mobile applications with back-office systems as well, Hemmer says.

He also touts Antenna's modular approach, based on service oriented architecture (SOA). The company delivers mix-and-match functional components—signature capture, location-based functions, bar code reading, etc.—that make it easier for customers to develop customized applications without building from scratch.

The kind of mobile-centric approach Kerravala and pioneering vendors such as Dexterra and Antenna are advocating sounds like a no-brainer. But is there any evidence Kerravala is right and enterprises will start to buy in? There is, Hemmer says.

"Because mobility has permeated all parts of the enterprise now, mobile applications have become much more strategic," he says. "So we're seeing a shift from a user-driven to an IT-driven driven purchase decision."

And despite the downturn in the economy, Hemmer believes companies will continue to push forward with plans to mobilize their operations.

"The business benefits are just so compelling. The return on investment is typically in months not years. And by ROI, I don't mean just productivity—those are soft benefits. I'm talking about things like reduced inventory turns, faster order to cash - these are hard-dollar benefits."

Kerravala agrees, although he notes there are some minor downsides to using mobile-centric applications too. It does introduce a middleware layer into your IT architecture and these solutions typically do not include all? the features the original applications offer.

"But I think the benefit you get by running these applications in the mobile environment far outweighs the few cons," he says. "You just get a much better all-round user experience."

The traditional package software vendors have done a poor job of bringing effective mobile applications to market, Kerravala notes, but that may not be an entirely bad thing. It leaves an opportunity for innovators like Antenna and Dexterra to come in and fill the void.

Now, he says, we just need a few more of them to do the same thing in other application areas.

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