Empowering Enterprise Mobility – Considerations for enabling apps on mobile devices : Part 2


In Part 1, I talked about taking a people centric approach to mobility and the four phases of building the blueprint or strategy for mobility. Lets delve a little deeper into each of them

Preparing the enterprise for mobility

Today’s enterprise IT need to be agile to cater to the changing landscape. This needs a certain amount of preparation to move the organization forward. Following are some of the most important considerations when preparing the enterprise for mobility:

Define your business goals

Preparing for a mobility journey needs to begin with a clear definition of the business goals and objectives (Short term and long term). At the end of the day, IT is a cost center and must define the ROI on mobility.

Consider some of the following as you define your business goals

  • The value you want to provide for your employees, customers and vendors
    • Enabling a certain %age of mobile workforce
    • Increasing collaboration amongst employees, vendors and customers
    • Increasing Productivity with modern tools and technologies
    • Making key information accessible – anywhere, anytime with greater user experiences
    • Reducing customer response time, faster resolution to issues
    • Providing business insights to decision makers on the go.
    • Accelerating growth by reducing time to market for key solutions.
  • What budgets would you need to execute your strategy? Who are the stakeholders?
  • What are the risks and dependencies?

This considerations vary from industry to industry, size of the organization and other demo-graphics. However establishing a clear goal and a set of objectives is imperative for the way forward. 

Mobility Profiling

Understanding your workforce is the foundation for building a robust plan for your enterprise mobility strategy. Consider the following for mobility profiling:

Considerations

Importance

  • What is the %age of mobile workforce today
  • What is the expected growth in the next 2-3 years?
  • Helps define the ROI of the mobility initiative
  • What devices do employees use today?
  • This will help define target platforms and target devices that IT needs to support now
  • What are the minimum device capabilities employees should consider while buying a device to use for their official work
  • Setting a certain standard will help optimize experience and minimize IT support.
  • What are the key activities that employees need to have access to while on the go?
  • What is the loss of productivity when access to these applications is not available
  • This will help define what applications will deliver most impact to users
  • What kind of training would people need to be embrace mobility
  • Training is key to the success of any initiatives.
  • Identify a department or a set of employees that will form the “Elite Early Adopters”.
  • Employees should come from varying job roles.
  • Early feedback will help make amends before wider roll-out;
  • Varying job roles will ensure equal importance to all employees as needs differ from role to role

While most people know how to use smart devices, they need to be told how to use them smartly.

Mobility profiling is the keystone for defining the strategy. It will help assess and improve employee productivity and satisfaction, customer engagement and cost reduction.

Preparing LOB apps to expose data and business logic securely:

Most enterprises have a combination of home-grown line of business applications such as Leave, Vacation management, applications built on top of products such SharePoint and customized ERP implementations such as SAP etc. Therefore, it is imperative that these LOB Apps be prepared for mobility.

Enterprise Mobile apps are not necessarily a new breed of LOB apps, instead these are existing LOB Apps that are consumed by the users outside of the enterprise firewall with enhanced features and functionality. The new breed of apps are typically analytics and insights based on data generated by the traditional LOB apps

Challenges

Solution

The following type of LOB apps pose a challenge for enabling mobility :

  • Self-contained applications with little or no interexchange of data.
  • Interactive apps that integrate with other systems that are not service enabled – .Net Libraries, COM Objects etc.

De-couple applications from the UI. In today’s world, the UI to the application could be the browser, mobile applications, native applications etc.

Service enable LOB applications, consider EAI and EII and implement a strong middle-ware solution that enables exchange of data within the enterprise and externally.

Leverage the cloud

 Define target platform to support

The mobility ecosystem is massive. The operating systems itself are largely fragmented with multiple version of the OS to support. Esp. with Android, many of the OEMs have their own implementation of the OS in addition to the OS itself being available in multiple versions. Supporting all these versions wouldn’t make practical sense. Therefore, the recommendation is to follow a general rule of three

  • Support the Top 3 Operating System that your workforce uses
  • Support the latest version in each OS, encourage users to update the latest version
  • Build OEM level relationship with Top 3 Device OEMs
Considerations

  • Ensure that you test these devices such that corporate policies can be enforced and meets the needs of the business (e.g. Data encryption, Bluetooth / Audio Jack/USB connectivity to printers, biometric readers etc.
  • Would you recommend devices that your workforce should buy
  • Think of the usage scenarios of the workforce– Consuming Content, Creating Content, and feeding content to LOB applications.
  • Educate users about security, compliance, policies and procedures
  • What is your device procurement strategy? Would you offer company owned IT Owned Devices in addition to BYOD?
  • What would be your support strategy for such devices
  • What will be your security strategy for BYOD or IT owned devices. What policies would you enforce on the devices

Monitoring, Success Criteria & Metrics

An enterprise must monitor its implementation closely. It is imperative to define success criteria for mobility initiatives and periodically measure its implementation towards a certain metrics aligned to objectives stated earlier

Considerations

  • What has been the ROI, Cost Reduction
  • Increase user engagement
  • Workforce satisfaction
  • Mobile workforce effectiveness
  • Productivity increment
  • Work Life Balance- This is important as you enable your team to take work home
  • What is your feedback mechanism?

In Part 3 of this series, we will evaluate aspects of application development & deployment.


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