While there are multiple options available to choose from when deciding on multi-channel strategy, it is very important to consider the following points before making any decision:
Cost of ownership
Ease of development
Remember the difference between mobile application and multi-channel websites
Cost of ownership
If your company is a consumer-facing company, and you are looking to provide mobile apps to your users, then you may decide to either outsource the mobile applications development to a third-party development company, or own your own Enterprise Mobility Platform (EMP), such as IBM Worklight.
If your company is looking for an initiative such as "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD), then owning EMP makes a lot of sense. The cost of ownership is not just the one-time development cost, but hosting, ongoing maintenance, supporting multiple devices (smart phones, tablets, etc. of varying sizes), device security, application data security, back-end data connectivity and security, updates to the applications, and support for different operating system versions and flavors (e.g. Android).
If you plan for EMP, the total cost of ownership includes software license cost, hardware cost, and development and support, but most of the security and application-management-related concerns can be addressed by the framework itself.
Ease of development
If you are not looking for 100% native applications, then hybrid mobile or mobile-optimized web applications are easy to develop and manage options. The Facebook app on popular smart phones and tablets is a classic example of a hybrid mobile application. It allows users to upload their photos from phones or tablets and post them. IBM Connections also provides native and hybrid mobile applications for smart phones and tablets for enterprise social networking. WebSphere Portal Server, along with its responsive web design, development tools, and IBM Worklight provides an ideal platform for hybrid mobile and mobile web apps leveraging the common code base. Because it is based on industry standards, it helps you in the long run to optimize the cost of maintaining the code regardless of whether you have to outsource the development or have an in-house development team.
Remember the difference between mobile apps and multi-channel websites
WebSphere Portal Server, IBM Web Experience Factory, and IBM Web Content Manager (WCM) provide capabilities to develop multi-channel websites. A multi-channel website is a common website that has been developed to suit the display of desktops, kiosks, smart phones, and tablets. Typically written in HTML, it can be accessed online (and offline using HTML5 or leveraging hybrid mobile capabilities).
The use of a touch-screen interface gives the mobile site the ability to hyperlink a phone number so that the user can click-to-call. The user can also take advantage of geo-based mapping. On the other hand, mobile apps are downloaded from device-specific portals (Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World) and installed on a mobile device. Content can be drawn from the internet or downloaded offline. This is an important distinction.
Finally, a mobile/multi-channel website is searchable via search engines and shared through hyperlinks. If you want to give your users a highly engaging experience such as gaming, executing local rules and logic in offline mode, and direct sales operations, then native applications are the better choices.
The multi-channel government website demo built for this document takes you through different scenarios and use cases. These examples showed you some of the patterns of developing multi-channel applications leveraging WebSphere Portal Server, IBM Web Experience Factory, IBM Web Content Manager, and IBM Worklight Consumer Edition. In addition to the technologies mentioned, we also explained how CTC4 and responsive web design approach inherent to WebSphere Portal Server v188.8.131.52 and IBM Web Content Manager can help you achieve exceptional multi-channel experiences
for your users.