Simple answer: no. But if you’re a developer building the next great consumer app in a hurry, it probably won’t hurt. MBaaS (“mobile backend as a service”) solves some pretty prickly problems for the start-up developer. MBaaS offerings like Appcelerator, CloudMine, FeedHenry and StackMob deliver the basic components for storage, messaging, notification, user management and so forth that mobile developers need, making it easy for developers to set up and operate the backend for their applications.
But let’s say you’re not a bad-ass consumer app developer. Imagine you’re a mild-mannered enterprise dev looking to make a solid app for your field sales organization. What does MBaaS do for you? Maybe the right question is what does MBaaS not do for you? Answer: it doesn’t get you access to the one thing you need as an enterprise developer – enterprise data.
Enterprise apps need data like plants need sunlight. It could be customer records, documentation, pricing information, inventory levels or a myriad other things. But that data is stuck in the enterprise, inside of SAP this and SharePoint that and database the other. No amount of simplifying interactions with AWS will get that information into your hands to build the super-compelling apps employees need access to.
Enter mobile middleware like Layer 7’s SecureSpan Mobile Access Gateway. Getting the stuff that’s locked inside the enterprise into the hands of devs is a middleware problem. It’s about information sharing. It’s about opening up but in a very targeted manner. MBaaS has some great ideas for making a mobile developer’s life easier. Enterprise devs want the same benefits but with the added benefit of access to enterprise data. I joined Layer 7 from a prior gig at RIM to help that happen. Stay tuned for details.