This post was originally written by Mobile Man.
The way companies support their employees has shifted dramatically in recent years. The advancement of cloud computing and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends has made it possible for workers to use their personal smartphones and tablets to access work-related content from anywhere through the Internet, regardless of their physical location.
As staff members bring their own Android, iOS or Windows Phone gadgets into the office, businesses should consider ways to support these varying platforms with customizable mobile applications. Firms promoting BYOD can take advantage of cross-platform development, which can make it easier and faster to create apps for these operating systems.
A cross-platform approach using Android controls, iOS controls and Windows Phone controls means that employees, regardless of the device or operating system being used, all have access to business-specific apps for their respective platforms.
BYOD is Quickly Becoming the Norm
The support of BYOD is expected to become even more widespread moving forward, making cross-platform development a boon for firms with workers using Android, iOS and Windows Phone. According to a Gartner report, nearly 40 percent of companies will no longer issue corporate-owned devices to workers by 2016.
"BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades," said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs."
The research firm explained that CIOs can drive innovation throughout their businesses because BYOD increases the number of mobile application users. Apps can branch out from traditional email and communications offers to punch lists, HR, time sheets and site check ins, among others.
Although the advantages of BYOD are immense, Willis indicated that some challenges remain. The business case for BYOD must be refined moving forward.
"Most leaders do not understand the benefits, and only 22 percent believe they have made a strong business case. Like other elements of the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, social and information), mobile initiatives are often exploratory and may not have a clearly defined and quantifiable goal, making IT planners uncomfortable," Willis explained.
Willis encouraged organizations supporting BYOD to ensure they showcase to the entire company how BYOD can benefit the firm.
Feature phones are giving way to more powerful and capable devices such as smartphones and tablets. As more employees insist on using their personal Android, iOS and Windows devices in the workplace, companies will have to support these staff members with various business applications. Rather than create only one app for a particular platform, firms can take advantage of cross-platform development to produce highly visual and functional apps native to these operating systems.