Q&A: Kony's top tips for your mobile app strategy

According to Thomas E. Hogan, chief executive officer of Kony Inc, "mobile is fast becoming a major catalyst for business innovation and process transformation for the enterprise."

This can be seen with the rise of mobile payments, company apps and iBeacon technology to target customers with personalised deals through their smartphones.

We recently had the chance to speak to Jonathan Best, vice president of Europe and Africa at Kony Inc, to learn more about the current state of enterprise mobility and the mobile app landscape.

The full interview can be found below.

  1. Which companies do you think are leading the way in terms of their app strategy?

Rentokil Initial and BBVA Compass are two examples of the leading companies driving a compelling app strategy to transform the mobile experience for their internal and external customers.

BBVA Compass, a leading U.S. banking franchise, chose Kony’s cloud-based application development platform. The bank expects the platform to help it continue to create cutting-edge apps and stay up-to-date on new mobile form factors, operating systems and platforms.

BBVA anticipates that the mobile application solution will help it by streamlining workflows, accelerating development timeframes and lowering total costs of ownership, ultimately giving their retail and commercial banking clients more access and control over their financial lives.

Similarly supported by an advanced mobile application solution Rentokil, the largest commercial and residential pest control services company has an effective app strategy in place to provide salespeople, surveyors and technicians with the ability to file reports and access company data when out in the field. With its strong technology infrastructure the company has an app in place to work with a variety of back-end systems and the different needs of its diverse user base.

  1. What advice would you give to any enterprises looking to venture in to mobile apps for the first time?

Prepare for the future! Even if you start your app thinking that it will be a simple app to a simple data source, it won’t always stay that way.

To drive for a business outcome-focused solution, the typical operational data won’t be in the same system as the analytical or customer specific data, which targets improved customer experience.

  1. What are the main barriers/difficulties most enterprises are coming up against?

Today’s IT departments are struggling to keep pace with the demands of their business to mobilise their enterprise. CIOs are faced with the challenge of rapidly delivering mobile applications for their businesses, however one of the biggest hurdles is that business users, designers and developers don’t see eye to eye when it comes to user experience and interface design, which can cause costly delays and mobile app failures, leaving the business looking for a better answer.

In addition, siloed strategies are a big challenge: Mobile apps succeed when businesses adopt them across the enterprise. Gaining comprehensive buy-in from the beginning, ensuring IT/business alignment, cross-department transparency, and a choice of technology that fits the business model, today and for the future.

  1. Data security is obviously a hot topic at the moment. How can enterprises mitigate the risk of a data breach?

You should never rush to release an app before you have tested it for security issues. This includes testing inlets such as camera, GPS, sensors and the platform itself.

No app is safe from viruses and malware attacks so during testing, avoid allowing users to see crash and debug logs. These are the first place hackers look for app vulnerabilities. You can disable the NSLog statements on iOS, which will increase the speed of the app as well. The Android debug log is typically cleared when a device is rebooted, but an app is vulnerable until that happens.

Technology is constantly improving, and as a result, encryption algorithms become obsolete and easier to crack. If you use weak encryption or decide not to use it at all in your app, then sensitive user information is at risk.

Many apps require users to input sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or personal identification information. Without good encryption, this information can be hacked. The more popular the app, the more likely it is to be hacked. If you want your app to be at the top of the list then invest in good encryption.

Hackers work fast, and they’re always on the lookout for apps that don't release security updates often, and exploit security holes. You need to revisit the app often to perform security updates.

However, patches can take time to reach users, for instance: Apple's approval process can take up to a week. Plus, all mobile device users have to accept and download the patch. If you don't stay on top of new security updates, patches will take time to reach users, putting information at risk.

  1. What trends do you see dominating the industry in the next 12 months?

Traditional apps with separate destinations and dedicated icons will become extinct, and notifications are going to drive the next generation of mobile apps. The result will be notification driven micro-apps or applets.

If you look at the way the iOS, Android and other platform vendors have morphed their notification mechanisms, you’ll notice that they have become more actionable. You can now respond to notifications without even launching the app and instead responding inline to the notification.

For example, if I get an actionable notification from a person on LinkedIn wanting to become a connection of mine, I can reject or accept directly from the notification center rather than cranking up the LinkedIn app. If someone sends me an email, I can read it straight from the notification center and possibly even do a quick response without launching the email app. You get the idea.

This is the same paradigm that will drive app development on watches and other wearable devices. Apps will become deconstructed into use case driven “micro-apps” which will be triggered by notifications.

You enter a Starbucks and you get a notification that asks if you want to order your “usual” and sends the order to the barista. Voila! Enter an airline boarding area and you are notified that your upgrade came through – no need to go to your airline app. Presto!