What is MBaaS? A look at mobile back-end-as-a-service
Web and mobile applications cater to different devices and offer very different experiences. However, their back end needs are surprisingly similar. Both web and mobile devices need to effectively integrate with a variety of software and technologies, ranging from social networks to cloud storage and other enterprise apps.
Mobile Backend as a service (MBaaS) is a way of providing that back end integration. But what is MBaaS, exactly, and how does it fit into the larger architecture of enterprise mobility? Though some see it as a subset feature of a mobile enterprise application platform, the role MBaaS plays in enterprise mobility is growing quickly, and companies are coming to understand the vital role it plays in their daily operations — not to mention its ultimate impact on the user experience.
How businesses benefit
In an enterprise environment, MBaaS supports the integration of a wide range of software tools, data sources and aspects of a company’s operation, along with seamless connections between the business side and the user interface. The following are some ways MBaaS strengthens existing mobile frameworks:
- Synchronized data
- Push notifications
- Seamless app and software integration
- File sharing and transferring supported through cloud services
- Improved performance analytics
- User profile management
The right MBaaS provider can help a company save both time and money through more efficient operations. Instead of requiring a unique API for a range of mobile back-end services — thus demanding a time-consuming integration process — MBaaS requires a single API that can be easily integrated. This simplified approach also improves organizational security by creating fewer seams in your software. Fewer moving parts also means fewer maintenance needs over time.
With MBaaS, it’s easier to develop apps and build mobile infrastructure for the enterprise. Integrating new features can take place quickly and with fewer errors. Server management and back-end access through the cloud can make life easier for IT and other enterprise professionals, while certain tasks such as scaling are managed through the service itself. Your data is also constantly optimized and synced, requiring less management and giving your company better analytic insights than ever before.
Finding the right provider
As VentureBeat pointed out, there are many MBaaS providers on the market, and each of them offers different strengths and areas of specialty. Enterprise brands will want to review their options before they settle on a provider. First and foremost, an enterprise should seek a provider that specializes in the enterprise development of MBaaS.
Any vetting process should start with brands evaluating their own needs. What is the MBaaS functionality that is most important to your company? Service needs can depend on the types of devices and hardware you support, the need for support for HTML5 and/or hybrid apps and the app development framework you’re using in your company. Enterprise leaders should work closely with your IT experts to identify which characteristics of an MBaaS provider are the most critical to your operations.
Of course, you also need to find a provider whose fees and fee structures work for you. Some charge per app, while others charge according to the size of the business. Some charge a flat monthly fee, while others have sliding-scale fee structures that can change as service needs go up and down. You’ll need to find a provider whose services fit into your budget.
Business decision makers need to evaluate their business needs and problems to determine where MBaaS can support their mobile aspirations while staying in budget. MBaaS may seem like an extra layer of technology, but a well-deployed service can actually simplify your mobility while improving its performance.