Salesforce.com, Mashery execs stress engagement for mobile enterprise success

Summary:Mashery's CEO compares a good API to a transit system, asserting it should deliver the user far beyond just a landing page.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Success on mobile platforms isn't as simple as sizing down a marketing strategy or a website, which is a concept that many business of all sizes are still trying to comprehend.

There a number of decisions that business leaders need to make -- namely how they are going to connect with both customers as well as their employees.

Speaking at the MIT Technology Review Mobile Summit on Tuesday morning, Salesforce com executive vice president Kendall Collins said that mobile follows up the cloud and social as "probably the third and most significant shift of trying to redefine work in the enterprise."

"The mobile web is not how people want to interact with your brand and your system," said Michels.

Collins cited a 2012 Gartner study that found employees spend more than four hours per day working on mobile devices, which encompass tablets, smartphones and laptops.

Furthermore, he pointed toward a 2010 Gartner report projecting that 90 percent of enterprise apps will be desktop and mobile by 2017.

However, Collins described this statistic as "daunting," questioning whether or not these apps will even be any good.

If the apps aren't engaging, Collins argued, the data and connections are weaker -- and more importantly, less valuable.

Oren Michels, CEO of the now Intel-owned API and infrastructure company Mashery, commented prior to Collins' presentation that that if the mobile experience doesn't deliver "a determined wish," whether its an enterprise or a consumer app, you're going to lose business.

Yet Michels hinted that making the app engaging means it can't live on a mobile web browser.

"The mobile web is not how people want to interact with your brand and your system," said Michels, explaining that the point of building an online business and experience is taking people where they want.

But you have to do it in a way that people won't get frustrated with it, Michels warned.

The bottom line, according to Michels, is that a website that runs on mobile -- either crammed down or optimized, is not going to help you get to where you want to go.

"This is not how people interact with their phones," Michels remarked.

Being the CEO of a business dedicated to API management, Michels posited that a well-developed API is like a good transit system -- meaning it should take the user and deliver him or her beyond just a home page but to where that person needs to be.

"An API connects material," Michels said, asserting that a successful mobile app should know the user's context and create applications that pull from a variety of different services to create what the user needs.

Michels concluded that if your business hasn't developed an API model yet, it's time to figure it out.

Topics: Mobility, Collaboration, Enterprise 2.0, IT Policies, Social Enterprise

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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