Backend-as-a-service (BaaS) companies can help enterprises to eliminate much of the complexity surrounding app development.
While it is important for an enterprise to carefully weigh the options before deciding whether a BaaS solution is right for them however with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement continuing to pick up seam, BaaS appears to provide a suitable balance where IT or non-IT staff can have access to critical data while continuing to meet the required data security standards.
BaaS should, at a bare minimum, provide fully managed IT departments with a more efficient model for deploying apps within the company, allowing them to develop apps faster and more efficiently, while also potentially using a lower-cost programming resource to “construct” the required apps using the existing infrastructure as opposed to a high-end, high-cost app developer.
For those enterprises who have opened their minds to the possibilities that the mobile revolution presents and adopted standards for BYOD, BYOS and BYOF etc, BaaS can present even greater opportunity to leverage the skills within the company to develop apps which will deliver improved access to information along with improved productivity and collaboration.
Although some programming expertise is required to develop apps using BaaS, the provision of pre-built APIs can quickly add features such as login systems, social integration and push notification, greatly simplifying the process for anyone with the necessary knowledge.
While BaaS will certainly receive considerable resistance from traditional IT departments that are threatened by this technology, Enterprise IT is evolving to the point where IT might not be the only ones capable of developing corporate apps and may lead to companies developing their own Enterprise App Stores where IT serve as the gatekeepers to the store, undertaking the process of QA on apps before release to employees, much like Apple and their App Store approval process.
One of the important questions is whether companies what their non-IT workers developing apps. Employees certainly have the best understanding of what information they need and how it should best be presented, there needs to be a level of control exerted over how much time employees may spend during business hours developing these solutions to prevent this opportunity from becoming a black hole.
Marketing departments could present a perfect use-case for Baas as they most likely go outside of IT already to build promotional mobile apps and there is a great benefit to being able to create a lot of apps quickly and the move to BaaS could allow them to even build consumer-facing apps around brand campaigns or events.
While it is true that BaaS is in its infancy when it comes to Enterprise IT however companies such as Cloudmine, Parse, Kinvey, FatFractal and Stackmob are already providing solutions to mid-size and Enterprise businesses with each offering different price-points and feature sets that would suit most businesses starting out with BaaS.