Farren Roper, head of FNB Connect ISP and business operationsFarren Roper, head of FNB Connect ISP and business operations

There is no such thing as a silver bullet when it comes to dealing with next-generation enterprise applications.

So said , managing executive for application services at , speaking during the ITWeb- Application Services Executive Forum, in Johannesburg, recently.

As more and more apps find their way into the enterprise, there is a need for different enterprise solutions to solve the challenges these apps pose, Cook said.

Thus, organisations must come up with innovative solutions to challenges presented by apps. “They just have to take note that there is no silver bullet. It’s all about taking advantage of the existing investments that you have and [knowing] how to leverage them to provide a business solution.”

He also noted that apps were being used more in enterprises as a result of the explosion of smartphones and tablets.

“The concept of bring your own device is a reality,” he said. “We know that some organisations still issue you with corporate phones, and in most of these instances, most of these employees have two phones – a corporate phone and a personal one.”

is often asked questions from clients, like: “How do we manage the explosion of these devices into our organisation? How do we secure them?”

“Realistically, we can’t stop an employee from bringing an iPhone into the enterprise, and you can’t stop them from connecting it to your mail server and any of your enterprise back-end environments.”

Instead of going the complete enterprise governance way, where the devices are locked down so they are unusable within the enterprise, organisations must find a middle ground, where it makes sense to control some of the information while still allowing employees to enjoy the true benefi ts of the device.

Cook suggested organisations make use of mobile device management platforms. “These are important in monitoring the device in instances that it either gets stolen or lost.”

He also noted the smartphone generation, or legacy apps, which are still relevant. He gave an example of COBOL [Common Business-Oriented Language], one of the oldest programming languages, whose demise started in 1973.

“According to an announcement from application modernisation company Micro Focus, there are still about 220 billion lines of active COBOL code in enterprise applications today. It also claims that COBOL still powers 70% of the world’s businesses,” he noted.

Also speaking at the event was , head of Connect ISP and business operations. He spoke about an banking app, which has recently been made available to non- clients, and now boasts over 400 000 active users.

Roper revealed the app, which was unveiled in 2011 as the first banking app in SA and Africa, was voted SA’s best app developed in 2012.

He added that was voted the best innovative bank last year at the BAI-Finacle Banking Innovations Awards.

“This means we work harder; it means what we did this year won’t matter next year; it means we are going to have to come up with something better than the groundbreaking innovations we’ve had before.

This means we will be looking for new ways to make our customers’ lives a lot easier, every day. Just like we have always done.”

He attributed the exponential growth in the number of active users to the innovations team at the bank. “We are always innovating at . We regard ourselves as rebels in regards to innovations, as we do not want to be caught by the ,” said Roper.

Paul Steenkamp, head of employment branding and innovators at , said innovations at the bank are growing because employees who come up with the best ideas are rewarded.

“We are always embedding, protecting and nurturing a culture of innovation at ,” said Steenkamp.

According to Roper, the secret behind the success of the app was being able to create value, usability, adoptability and desirability for users.

The growth in the use of smartphones in SA has also resulted in huge demand for the app, he noted.