Adobe Aims To Simplify Enterprise App Development
Adobe wants to simplify the process of developing enterprise apps while making them as visually appealing and as easy to use as consumer apps.
To that end, the company unveiled Adobe Experience Manager Mobile at the recent GSM Mobile World Congress show.
"Mobile apps are integral to the enterprise, yet brands struggle with how to build, manage and deliver mobile experiences that consumers have grown accustomed to," said exec Nick Bogaty in a statement. "Adobe Experience Manager Mobile brings the simplicity, functionality and design that people expect to enterprise apps."
In a blog post last week, Bogaty likened today's fragmented app solution landscape to the situation faced by Web site devs a decade ago or so, before the advent of content management systems (CMS) provided new technology to transform Web development.
"We think that a similar moment is upon us with mobile apps and today I'm really excited to announce a new product, Adobe Experience Manager Mobile, that will allow enterprises to drastically reduce their time to market while making it easier to attract and engage audiences with compelling, actionable content," Bogaty said.
In addition to creating new apps, Adobe said the product lets enterprises leverage existing content. "Adobe Experience Manager Mobile treats apps as a first class citizen in the multi-channel content experience, allowing marketing managers and creatives to populate apps with existing content through template-based authoring," Bogaty said.
The company is providing Content Producer Service APIs to help third-party developers integrate with the new solution, bringing in content from other CMS systems, product databases, ERP/CRM systems and so on.
For app creation -- and the extension of existing apps -- the solution uses rapid application development techniques to make app targeting iOS, Android and Windows. "Using intuitive design tools and frameworks, designers and marketers can quickly create beautiful screens and nuanced navigational structures, all backed by native working code," Bogaty said. "This results in rapid time to market to beat today's inefficient workflows by 50-70 percent."
For extending apps -- or bringing modern functionality to legacy apps -- the solution leverages Apache Cordova technology. "This means enterprises can devote development resources to extend applications to access device sensors, local storage and all the other mobile components that make apps sing," Bogaty said.
Adobe Experience Manger Mobile provides a unified dashboard to manage apps of all kinds -- even those built with other systems.
It also comes with built-in Adobe marketing services, freeing developers from the need to integrate such services with point solutions that require API and SDK maintenance over time.
"Adobe Experience Manager Mobile comes with critical marketing services from Adobe Marketing Cloud so you don't have to worry about integration points and ongoing maintenance let alone contracts from multiple vendors," Bogaty said. "As an example, customers can get up and running with Adobe Analytics within minutes of logging into their accounts for the first time, and we will integrate more Marketing Cloud services in the coming months."
According to Adobe's Web site, all of the aforementioned functionality results in a four-step workflow: create an app experience by pulling in existing assets or creating new content; connect app to data by integrating with third-party APIs and business systems; manage and publish apps across all platforms and devices with the dashboard; and measure the impact of the creations with built-in analytics.
"Brands seeking to increase customer engagement and loyalty know just how important it is to deliver standout mobile app experiences," the company quoted IDC analyst Melissa Webster as saying. "All too often, however, mobile app initiatives remain separate, siloed efforts with little connection to the rest of the brand's digital experiences -- driving up costs and reducing business agility. It's time to make mobile apps an integral part of digital experience delivery. Adobe Experience Manager Mobile combines content, management and publishing functionality into one offering that empowers marketers and lets brands realize the full value of their mobile app investments."
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.