Enterprise mobility in an organizational context, deals with the practice of enabling individual’s to work out of the office and using mobile devices and cloud services to work collaboratively and perform various business tasks thereby rescinding the “need to sit in the office” work culture.
This ‘mobility’ presents a number of opportunities and challenges to global businesses. Despite the initial fear of spiraling costs caused due to the spreading of mobile technologies and putting sensitive data at risk, organizations have begun making an effort to align available information and communication technology resources, which encompasses any form of medium used record share and broadcast the information (virtual and physical) and various technologies like mobile, internet, etc. with strategies for commercial growth. In particular, they are looking into mobile applications to offer incremental benefits to their ecosystem which cumulatively have a transformative effect on their business.
The growth of enterprise mobility as a practice has been a phenomenal journey so far. In very short time mobility management has shown enhanced business potential and workforce productivity increase. Although many global businesses have already initiated their mobile journey, there is often a lack of clarity as to the key stages of this journey and their implications.
As IT consumerization becomes recognized in enterprises, sound architectural choices need to be made in a future-proof manner. In addition, information is typically spread out in several business processes and backend systems and the right approach is required to integrate these multiple backend systems.
Approaches and Considerations for Enterprise Mobility
Most of today’s large organizations deploy mobility in an adaptable manner, using technologies that address a specific set of workers or a specific requirement. Many of these initiatives yield benefits to the organization. However, they often have scalability limitations
Following are a few of the limitations and characteristics of opportunistic mobility:
• Solutions address specific business requirements due to which the broader mobility issues and needs are not coered adequately for the organization.
• Projects are initiated before establishment of policies and the requisite administrative/ management tools required to enforce those policies.
Despite these limitations, mobility initiatives act as evidences to concepts and demonstrate the value of mobile and wireless technologies for users if this approach is applied knowingly and in a controlled manner. The first step to creating a more integrated approach is for businesses to understand how mobility is critical to their success today and in the future.
Basic Principles to set the Foundation for Enterprise Mobile Application Success
For many developers, the biggest challenge for launching mobile applications is to establish the right mindset in the first place and to set the foundation for a sustainable, responsive and flexible mobile enterprise capability. The following principles may help enterprises lay the right foundation for any application mobilization program:
• Lay a mobile foundation
Think mobile first. Deploying applications on mobile devices requires a fundamentally different mindset than just moving existing desktop-based application or mobilization of paper-based processes. Successful mobile application deployment starts with the ‘reinventing’ of the actual business process being mobilized and its relationship with adjacent processes.
• Think agnostic
Designing and managing a long-term and sustainable mobile application capability will require applications to be agnostic of the different OS platforms, on which apps will run and of the back-end systems they utilize. While OS-specific solutions may be appropriate for very tightly defined user roles and use cases, more generically deployed OS solution that does not incur higher costs for support, development and maintenance is the answer to long term sustainable model. Consider Hybrid applications, Web applications and SaaS solutions as ways to make implementations easier and less investment-intensive.
• The fine balance between Scalability and User Experience
One of the important factors for an application to be considered is the user interface. Control of the user journey is paramount as this is where it is decided whether the customer will return to your application or not. Therefore, it becomes imperative to ensure that the user experience for critical enterprise apps is as good as that for consumer apps. Further, in lieu of this goal, the IT departments need to invest in developing an interface that not only provides the necessary functionalities but also makes applications easy and acceptable enough for employees accustomed to seamless and well-integrated consumer apps.
• Build in security from the start
Yes, the mobile workforce presents a huge opportunity but along with potential security risks. This risk is related with the security of sensitive corporate data and of the handsets themselves, as well as the management of voice and data costs. Hence, one has to carefully consider the degree and type of security required, plan from the first step of the development of the application and thus make sure there are contingencies in place to handle a security breach if it occurs.
From a strategic point of view, Enterprise Mobility opens up a world of opportunities for enterprises, to transform their existing processes and adopt/adapt to new ones, strengthening their competitive stance. Practically, it allows them to get a grip on their mobility costs — largely unknown today — and to better support their users through standardization. Indeed, the core of the enterprise mobility strategy must be the users: what they need, profile-by-profile, to work efficiently and effectively on behalf of the organization as a whole.