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MBaaS links mobile apps with legacy infrastructure

In this podcast, we chat with the CEO of MBaaS provider Kinvey about why he thinks MBaaS is key to keeping up with modern mobility.

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: Modern Mobility: Goals first, mobility management second:

Enterprise mobile apps are useless if they can't access corporate data or back-end systems. And building that access into apps isn't always easy.

Enter mobile backend as a service (MBaaS), a cloud-based approach that uses application programming interfaces to bridge the gap between legacy infrastructure and modern front ends. We spoke with Sravish Sridhar, CEO of MBaaS provider Kinvey, about this emerging technology. Sridhar founded Kinvey in 2010; the company now has close to 50 employees and several high-profile customers in the pharmaceutical, energy and manufacturing, and media and entertainment industries.

What does modern mobility mean to you?

Sravish Sridhar: People that use technology to improve their lives are starting to do it more on the go. Modern mobility is all about, how do you bring value to an end user where they are, when they want [it] and in a very useful, contextual and precise manner?

What are the biggest challenges facing your customers?

Sridhar: The space is moving really fast, and it's really hard for them to figure out what the right solution is, what the right technology is, what the right skill set is. They still don't know what these use cases and applications are going to be. They're trying to come up with a strategy that almost has to predict the unknown. Because mobility is moving so fast, the speed at which both IT and the business has to execute is starting to increase. How do you hire the people and put the new development and release and compliance processes in place?

What challenges do you face at Kinvey?

We can't cater to the lowest common denominator; we have to cater to almost any [app] somebody can throw at us.
Sravish Sridharfounder and CEO of Kinvey

Sridhar: We don't know what kind of apps companies are going to build on us. We can't cater to the lowest common denominator; we have to cater to almost anything somebody can throw at us. Our biggest challenge is a question of being very focused on how we scale the business from a vertical market standpoint.

Do you see a common thread as to why pharmaceutical, energy and media companies are most in need of MBaaS?

Sridhar: In each vertical, there are many business processes that lend [themselves] to on-the-go computing. Pharmaceutical, for example, they have field sales reps, consumers that are on the go, people in factories and warehouses documenting and managing inventory. And the same applies for all of the other verticals.

Listen to the full interview in this clip from the Modern Mobility Podcast:

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This was last published in March 2015

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How do you ensure mobile apps can access legacy back ends?
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  • First, prior to purchasing (or downloading, if it's free), we contact the creator and ask them specific questions about the back ends in question. We also ask about their support for the product - if they won't patch it for us in the event of an incompatibility, we're not going to buy it.
  • Secondly, we do thorough testing once we've acquired the software, and occasionally create a bridge of our own to help ensure future compatibility.
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What products/technologies do you use to create bridges on your own?
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We code the bridges from scratch (or, on occasion, ask the either the creator of the app or the creator of the back end to code them for us).

There are too many potential program combinations for a perfect one-bridge-fits-all approach, but since we know how the bridges were originally made and added, we can go back and change them later on if need be.
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