Technology practitioners spend entire careers simplifying, be it removing complexity to make code more “elegant” or rationalizing bloated application portfolios accumulated over time. The driving factors behind this push are self-explanatory: ease of maintenance, scalability, flexibility and cost. Is there ever a time in technology circles, however, when more is actually better?
Consumer mobile applications create great customer experiences by limiting purpose and features. In fact, when feature creep begins to make apps overly complex they are usually split apart, as in the case of Facebook and Facebook Messenger or Foursquare and Swarm. Creating multiple apps would seem counterintuitive to the enterprise IT department (“we should only have one ERP system, therefore we should only have one app”), yet how are the Facebooks of the world able to pull this off in a cost-effective manner?
The answer lies in digital architectures that are designed to be platform and device agnostic. These service layers are built with performance and scalability in mind, and can facilitate interactions from anything from a native mobile interface to a web browser. Elegance is critical at this layer of the architecture so that an easy to understand and use service catalog (API) can be provided to the teams building the great experiences. The service catalog manages the complexities of interacting with core operational systems, and the apps themselves remain none the wiser.
The consumerization of IT has placed a premium on user experience, elevating it to new levels of focus and investment in the enterprise. As frightening as it may be for IT departments to see a sprawling landscape of apps spreading across their organizations like wildfire, more can actually be better with enterprise mobile apps. Does it really make sense for a human resource manager and a sales executive to have the same day-to-day mobile experience? If a digital enterprise focuses on architecture and governance it’s possible to stay true to the principles of technology elegance AND enable great mobile experiences for business users with very different needs. That’s the very definition of the power of digital delivered.