Mobile-first could be a mobile-bust, warns Pegasystems chief


Many organizations are adopting a "mobile-first" strategy for their web and app development, seeing it as the best way to break down silos and beat the competition in the mobile space.

In fact, Microsoft touted its recent mobility and cloud initiatives as enabling "mobile-first, cloud-first" for the enterprise.

But a mobile-first strategy could backfire and create more silos and dysfunction in organizations, warns Alan Trefler, CEO of business software firm Pegasystems.

"This whole mobile-first thing is replicating a failure that we saw 15 years ago, when the web started kicking off. Companies with great pride would say, 'Hey, we set up almost a separate division or separate whole organization to run the web.' What happens then if you overbuild in that individual channel," Trefler tells Forbes contributor Joe McKendrick in an interview.

It took years of "painstaking integration" to bring the website, the call center and the physical retail location together on the same page, Trefler relates. "Now companies that are going mobile-first [are] about to fall into that same trap," he adds.

Trefler warns about the same thing for a "cloud-first" strategy. "All the data, and all of the processing that sites behind the cloud ends up also ends up creating additional silos," he adds.

Instead, organizations need to take care of the back-end architecture so they can support any device and channel. "The thing that's missing from companies is they've abandoned the thought of having a model-driven architecture," he says.

Of course, Trefler has an interest in promoting a focus on back-end architecture since Pegasystems sells business software that integrates back-end systems. But he does have a point about the danger of focusing on buzzwords instead of taking a holistic approach to digital transformation.

For more:
- read Trefler's interview in Forbes

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