Mobile business applications provide many opportunities to companies employing mobile workers and serving mobile customers. The workflows of mobile workers can be improved regarding work efficiency and work comfort. Existing as well as new innovative services can be offered to mobile customers leading to increased sales and customer satisfaction. Here, mobile business applications go beyond mobile applications intended to offer personal information management (i.e., email, calendar, etc. in mobile devices) or Internet access via mobile browsers.
They are tailored solutions engineered to support mobile workers in their specific workflows or tasks and mobile customers in utilizing a company’s specific business services. An airline, for instance, can provide mobile business applications to its pilots or cabin crew members to support them during flight briefings or while serving passengers during a flight. It can also offer mobile business apps to its passengers to book tickets from anywhere or check in without having to wait at the counter.
Mobile business applications pose various challenges that greatly affect their engineering, such as:
- Extremely short time to market, i.e., a couple of weeks from the idea to the market-ready product: Mobile business apps (especially for mobile customers) need to be released quickly before a competitor provides a similar mobile business service.
- High native user experience
- Support of various mobile platforms and devices
- High integration with surrounding mobile ecosystems
- High utilization of unique features of various mobile platforms and devices
The research area Business Goes Mobile at Fraunhofer IESE develops, evaluates, and transfers holistic methods for engineering mobile business applications that cover all phases of the software lifecycle. Particular consideration is given to the challenges mentioned above.