One question’s been popping up a lot lately here at Propelics: What’s the difference between the typical desktop support process versus the support process for mobile? And what is it, exactly, that makes enterprise mobile application support so much more difficult than traditional desktop and web application support? Here, then, are the most significant differences between these types of applications and the ways in which they must be supported, as gleaned from my combined decade of experience in desktop and mobile support.
Traditional enterprise environments are designed to be accessible via desktop and web Applications, hence they’re available as endpoints for desktops and laptops computers. These environments require continuous, steady support, which generally proceeds thus: a user facing an application issue calls a 1-800 number and expects to resolve his issue by following the troubleshooting instructions provided by the Support guy on the phone. How are most issues fixed? Usually by either resetting a domain password, clearing the browser cache, providing application training, or reinstalling the application. For more complex scenarios that fail to resolve the issue in the first call, the problem is advanced to the Application Support Team to ensure it gets fixed right away. Here users will typically wait a max of 4 business hours for the issue to be resolved. The architecture and composition of desktop/web applications are what make this possible.
Desktop applications are traditionally limited by the hardware on which they are run. They must be developed for (and installed on) a specific operating system, and they may have strict hardware requirements to ensure they function correctly. Care to guess how many times a user changes his desktop (or laptop) computer during his tenure at a company? Or even how many times he’ll update his operating system? The answer may surprise you. None! Accordingly, the update schedule for the average desktop application is going to be just as sluggish.
Web-based applications are those accessed via a web browser. These types of applications utilize resources available over the internet—including storage and CPU processing power for “thin clients” (machines with limited capabilities)—enabling the use of complex applications delivered from a centralized infrastructure.
Mobile applications, on the other hand, let users perform business tasks from any location, regardless of the circumstances (intermittent or zero network connectivity, bad weather, full sun, etc.) These applications streamline complex business tasks and processes, provide employees and other users access to corporate data, gather and submit real-time data, and consolidate that data into one single source of truth.
Support for mobile applications carries its own unique challenges. Like desktop applications, mobile applications are limited by the hardware on which they are designed to run, must be developed for—and installed on—a specific operating system, and have strict hardware requirements that must be met to ensure that they function correctly. The biggest difference between desktop and mobile apps is that mobile technology moves much more quickly and the two most popular operating systems—iOS and Android—are continuously being updated by Apple and Google. An average of 8-10 OS updates are released annually and new device hardware releases happen at least twice per year. These factors directly impact the functionality and availability of mobile applications.
The fact is, mobile possesses considerably more failure-points than typical enterprise web applications. A mobile app’s behavior can be impacted by connectivity or by something as seemingly innocuous as user-settings and preferences or by external forces such as MDM/MAM policy revisions or by the expiration of an app certificate. Further, each app acts as a stand-alone installation and users may install updates inconsistently. To complicate matters, administrators can’t simply remote into user devices to view a problem. And while individual apps may crash, outages—caused by a failure of either integration-services or host-systems—will impact your entire user-base.
While these are important factors to consider, they are not a complete list—not by a long shot! The complexity of mobile app architecture is primarily due to all the systems integration, network capabilities and OS requirements. Not to mention the enhancements and change requests from the “voice of the customer” which represents all users working with the application on a daily basis, each of whom expects the highest quality experience from the service provided by the mobile app.
To help you face these many new and complex challenges, Propelics provides robust support for all mobile app complexities and failure points, including proactive management of app-store and in-app feedback as well as enhancement tracking and prioritization along with tiered bug triage.
Our SLA Based Platform Support includes:
- Tier 2 and Tier 3 support
- Available 7x24x365 coverage
- Remote application upgrade/patch deployment
- MDM/MAM administration
With Propelics, mobile support means users are automatically supported before they even realize they have a problem! It’s a true service desk at the pace of mobile. For more information about our Service Desk and Support services, please reach out. We’d love to hear from you.
Mobile Technical Support Manager at Propelics