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What is the best approach for the following scenario:

1) A publicly available app (available in app stores) which is used by end users to make use of services offered by multiple companies.

2) These companies maintain their services also using a mobile app.

I'm not sure on how to solve the second part. Having one app for both enduser and admin functionality, secured by username/password doesn't sound like a good idea. This would leave the only option of developing a separate admin application for the companies.

What is the best approach to deploy "admin" like mobile apps to companies only, for Android, iOS and Windows Phone?

Some additional information:

Public App ----> Servers -----> Multiple Company Apps

The public app shows all companies offering their services. An end user uses the public app to order something from a specific company. The order is sent to our servers. Our servers send the order to the associated company. This order is displayed on the company's admin app and given the option to accept the order.

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    Are you describing an "in-house" app? Apple has a program for that: developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise Oct 27, 2013 at 16:53
  • Yes, something like that, but I assume in-house means only for your own company? This app will be used by multiple companies.
    – supercell
    Oct 27, 2013 at 16:54
  • Well, your question is a bit under-specified then. Normally the way you add capabilities to an existing application is with in-app purchases. Can you describe a little bit about the application, and how it works? Oct 27, 2013 at 16:55
  • I see, but that would mean any end user could purchase the "admin" functionality. The thing is that both application are completely different from each other. The "end user" app should be available to anyone. The "admin" only to companies and preferably not available through the app stores.
    – supercell
    Oct 27, 2013 at 17:00
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    Oh, so the company doesn't manage the data; you do. Well, I don't see the problem here, then. They're just ordinary apps in the app store, an admin app and a user app. Security and membership are managed in the usual ways. You need something like a manager approval screen, just in case some random unknown person tries to buy the app and subscribe to some company's membership. Oct 27, 2013 at 17:22

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Given that there are some many thousands (maybe millions) of mobile applications for everything including store locators for every StarBucks coffee house ... the recommendation is to move away from specific mobile applications.

That is, the best-practice I have seen for efficiency and use is to have web-applications versus downloadable mobile/PC installs.

All smart phones have web-browsers. Using the user-agent header and other information, automatically (or offer) differentiate the full-screen application from one with a different layout for tablets (CSS has "media queries" that do a good job of this without changing content) and a 'reduced functionality' mobile application (also leveraging CSS media queries for a layout that works well for small mobile screens).

Traditionally 'full' consumer/PC applications versus more specialized use-cases for mobile phones may include similar components but the latter usually less with a simpler navigation and more focused features where people will actually use a phone.

For example, most people will not fool with trying to place a complicated commercial order for a retain store chain on a phone. However, they might use it to check order status or shipping confirmation.

So in summary - avoid client/server architectures that require distribution of applications to different devices and stay with a centrally managed structure, differentiating the client (user-agent) accessing the application, serving up style and content that is appropriate for that device.

As for the admin versus buyer use-cases, these may be different components of the web-application, with more security for the admin side (two-factor authentication is strongly recommended commensurate with the risk of the admin application having access to many buyer organization's information).

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  • this post is rather hard to read (wall of text). Would you mind editing it into a better shape?
    – gnat
    Nov 5, 2013 at 3:56
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    Reformatted but, to paraphrase an example on brevity: "What is the answer to Global Warming?" Brief answer: "Reduce temperature". Nov 6, 2013 at 14:04

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