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Mobile admins pucker up and try to 'KISS'

On the TV show The Office, Michael Scott imparts a key piece of advice to resident office oddball Dwight Schrute: “K-I-S-S. Keep it simple, stupid.” Dwight sees that mantra as great advice even though it hurts his feelings every time.

Similarly, mobile business apps are all about keeping life simple for users. That means IT should offer mobile versions of complex apps that go beyond email and file sharing. Unique mobile apps will emphasize native device features and not just transfer desktop experiences to mobile devices, according to Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research, in the March issue of Modern Mobility.

A big part of being productive on those apps is making it easy for workers to communicate. IT can turn to mobile unified communications tools, which are often available as mobile apps in public app stores.

Enterprise mobility vendors also seem to be heeding Michael’s advice. Apple in June 2014 rolled out Swift, a new programming language to replace Objective-C and simplify iOS application development. With Swift, developers don’t have to use as much text to code commands, and real-time app previews and evaluation commands help prevent them from making mistakes.

Microsoft’s recent purchase of Xamarin also makes app development easier. With Xamarin’s multi-platform tools, developers no longer have to create separate apps for Windows devices. Instead, they can build an app for any OS and integrate it with any other OS.

Beyond the world of app dev, Google is boarding the simplification train with Android for Work. Prior to the release of Android for Work in Android Lollipop 5.0, advanced security and management features were different depending on the device manufacturer. This variation led to serious fragmentation and made Android device management difficult for IT. Android for Work helps provide standards because the platform is part of the OS itself, so IT pros can work with a single, common management framework.

Simplicity is at the top of the priority list for everything from mobile app development to Android security. Even if Michael’s advice is usually less than stellar, the KISS principle is one area where the self-proclaimed world’s best boss has a point.