3 essential development considerations to align database, mobile app functions

Database functionality is among the background issues that gets neglected in the hype surrounding mobile apps and services. Businesses are embracing mobile quickly – both for internal and customer-facing solutions – and they must figure out how they will move data to the app and keep backend systems secure and up to date along the way. This requires some careful, strategic development as part of a digital transformation strategy.

IT Pro Portal reported that many developers and technology professionals are getting a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to digital transformation. The promise is real and the potential benefits can be significant, but many projects end up creating additional work for IT teams at the early stages and running out of steam before the benefits start to roll in. To counter this potential outcome, IT professionals must embrace digital-first mindsets, something that requires a focus on mobile development. As they do so, the news source noted that leveraging multiple clouds and maintaining IT flexibility is critical.

These tips emphasize the importance of strategic development within the mobile landscape. Organizations that aren't intentional about each development decision can quickly end up with cloud sprawl as disjointed apps and services expand their footprint without direct IT control. Optimizing development strategies and tactics behind the scenes gives IT teams the flexibility and freedom they need to create the mobile apps their users need in a coherent, intelligent way. This depends on ensuring smooth data workflows between databases and apps, as poor integration can lead to performance and security problems that only escalate as complexity grows.

Establishing such robust development capabilities requires a great deal of forethought. Three of the most essential considerations that organizations must keep in mind are:

Database capabilities have a major impact on mobile app performance.Database capabilities have a major impact on mobile app performance.

1. Careful planning is essential
Creating a cohesive customer experience – whether your customer is internal or external – hinges on getting data to the right places. This doesn't just mean ensuring databases feed out to mobile apps in an effective way, it also means updating backend systems as users interact with data and integrating relevant databases so users don't have to spend time on repetitive data entry or run into data continuity issues as they move between apps and devices.

An InformationWeek report explained that effective planning begins with selecting an app framework and sticking to it for core functionality. With that foundation in place, developers can then get more flexible to meet specific user needs. Having the clear plan behind the core app framework serves as a building block for the rest of the app and helps keep the project under control.

2. Set your focus on primary functionality
Mobile apps are often focused on user engagement. They are meant to be convenient but powerful, a difficult mix that puts considerable demand on the graphical user interface. In many cases, this need to focus on how the user interacts with the system leads to a situation in which organizations end up focusing heavily on the bells and whistles of the app to the detriment of the core functionality. InformationWeek pointed out that creating a successful mobile app starts with understanding the business or customer problems you are trying to solve and keeping that primary need in mind as you build the app. It is nice to add more features and capabilities on top of that, but don't let the flourishes distract from the main event.

"Optimizing data workflows for mobile apps creates a great deal of backend development complexity."

3. You don't always have to reinvent the wheel
Mobile devices provide a variety of unique interface, input and usage challenges that traditional enterprise apps aren't necessarily equipped to handle. However, many of the data workflows used by traditional apps can be applied as a framework for mobile apps. Organizations that want to put their mobile development projects on the path to success should be sure to explore whether they need an entirely new app or if they can customize existing solutions to get the results required.

Intentionality resides beneath the surface in all of these issues. Businesses must understand what they want from a mobile app, why they want it and how they can get it. With these core questions dealt with, they can proceed to create an app in an efficient way. These aren't always straightforward issues to address, however, and technology consultants can help organizations get a clear picture of their technical environments and the overarching industry conditions that are surrounding the app development space. With this expertise, consultants can prove valuable in guiding – and even directly helping with – mobile app development.

Optimizing data workflows for mobile apps creates a great deal of backend development complexity, and the right help can go a long way in simplifying the process for IT teams.