I recently read this article (Apple Quietly Embraces The Business To Business App Market) and it exposes some unique trends and ideas concerning the integration of business process with vendors, partners, and supply chain actors.

As stated in the article, according a study released earlier this month, Apple’s iOS is becoming the most popular platform for enterprise app development – with 53.2% of developers picking iOS for corporate app development compared to 37.4% of developers standing behind Android. RIM’s BlackBerry, the old guard of enterprise mobility, came in a distant fourth behind Windows Phone with only 2% of developers supporting it.

This is not surprising. iOS is gaining steam in enterprise not so much because of iOS as it is simply a means to some really productive touch devices that help people get work done faster and more efficiently. Certainly, this can be said for all smart phones and tablet devices, but in Apple’s case, it is more pronounced because of a variety of enterprise support mechanisms that provide seamless ways to deply apps securely.

Is XCode Really the Right Approach for Mobile B2B Solutions?

I was surprised there wasn’t a mention in this article of Apple’s wholly-owned subsidiary, FileMaker, Inc.

Above all, FileMaker Pro (and FileMaker Go) represent [arguably] the most ideal approach to creating discrete business-to-business apps. It provides a development framework and an iOS deloyment approach that is far more streamlined than native apps written in XCode, and FileMaker Go apps can be deployed through an enterprise app store.

With hundreds of enterprise app requirements on the horizon, how will businesses cope with a shortage of experienced XCode developers, a significant friction to moving apps into the App Store, and the effort required to develop high performance web apps?

Runtime app frameworks are the answer.

A runtime app is a native app that interprets instructions provided in the form of scripts, configuration attributes, or other data elements. The app acts as a solution framework that can provide specific application features.

FileMaker Go is a runtime framework that makes it possible to run very complex [custom] apps utilizing organizational data and content. The apps are built using Filemaker Pro on the desktop and the resulting runtime app definition is executed on iOS devices within the native app framework known as Filemaker Go.

Runtime frameworks tend to offer the most promising avenue for B2B enterprise app solutions. The adoption of this approach will be rapid because there are so few alternatives available for businesses to quickly become mobile-enabled in cost-effective ways. And most B2B enterprise apps are data-centric and FileMaker is a first and foremost a database environment. And best of all, the only code required is whatever the runtime framework needs to execute the app. As such, the deployment packages are relatively small and can typically be handled over 3G networks; even Edge networks.

Microstrategy for iPhone and iPad, is a BI run-time framework designed to completely avoid code – apps are assembled like Legos(TM) in a reporting model. FileMaker apps are built in a similar fashion, although, scripts are necessary for more complex apps. But the overall FileMaker Pro development environment is visual and very easy to work with. FileMaker Pro is cross-platform as well; it supports Mac OS and Windows, making it ideal for building and testing mobile enterprise B2B solutions.

It’s quite possible that the future of mobile apps for internal and quasi-external business use will be developed mostly from business logic components that allow companies to rapidly design, deploy, and change how mobile work is done.