Mobility as a concept is not new: it first appeared on the business scene decades ago. What catalysed its progress as a business tool was the appearance of smart mobile devices, including the smartphone and tablet. Smartphone enabled applications gave birth to the domain of enterprise mobility, which is now forging a path to new ways of doing business.
The facts and numbers for the mobile market are outstanding: Over 900,000 apps in Apple’s App Store, 850,000 apps in Google’s Play Store, up to 145,000 in the Windows Phone Store and 120,000 in the BlackBerry World (Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM; as of June 2013). These apps are consumed by more than 1 billion smartphones on the world market, predicted to be over 1,7 billion smartphones in 2017 (IDC, 2013). Up to 80 % of the time on mobile devices is spent inside apps while 50 % of mobile phone users use mobile as their primary Internet source (Super Monitoring, 2013).
With the power of mobility growing by leaps and bounds, it pays to have well defined approaches to leveraging this to the organizations’ benefit.
1. Start with an enterprise mobility strategy
Enterprise mobility began as an approach to making the corporate websites compatible with mobile devices which the customers/partners and other stakeholders are likely to use when accessing online content.
The situation has now changed to an extent where it has gone much beyond mobile optimization of corporate websites.
A well-defined enterprise mobility strategy addresses both the employee side and the client side aspects of mobility: it is about how employees will leverage mobility, and how mobility can help customers go through a smooth transaction experience.
2. Choose between Corporate Owned Device (COD), and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD)
Both COD and BYOD have their advantages. With the COD, infrastructure is deemed critical as the internal user remain in the control of the enterprise. With BYOD, the flexibility of users choosing their own devices for work is retained.
3. Define a unified user experience for mobility
Regardless of the choice between COD or BYOD, it is imperative to define a unified experience for all users, both within and outside the enterprise. The best way to achieve this is to work with a mobile application development services company that has wide exposure in user experience (UX) design for multiple platforms.
4. Choose a mobility platform
Fragmentation in the mobility sector is a risk that all organizations have to consider. A proven approach is to establish an organization wide, universal mobile infrastructure. This ensures that all company-relevant information can be processed on a mobile basis using the existing interfaces. It also ensures that there is a ready approach to integrated various enterprise platforms and connect to various backend systems (e.g. SAP, CRM, SRM, ERP or database server).
5. Design and build mobile workflows for web, hybrid or mobile app clients
Usage scenarios for mobility are diverse, so it is best if the mobility strategy factors possible workflows for traditional web usage, web usage through mobile devices, and usage through native mobile apps.
6. Deploy enterprise apps on both internal and external repositories
Apps should be accessible to the user community, both internal and external, through easily accessible repositories. For external users, the best repository would be the app store.
7. Adopt a rapid deployment and update strategy
The mobile world is used to more frequent updates; so traditional update frequency of weeks or months will not find favour with users. Each release cycle should contain a set of smaller features which can be developed in a few weeks or less. Each release cycle can be a logically complete set of features which could be released if desired.
8. Analyse mobile usage metrics
Usage metrics hide a wealth of information since they reveal transaction trends. Mobile apps can also be used for passive tracking of user behaviour, much like how cookies are used in a desktop web scenario.
9. Ensure enterprise security compliance
Mobility brings flexibility and improved efficiencies, but along with it brings the risk of misuse of data. Secure handling of corporate data is an area of immense importance.
10. Choose an application development partner who brings demonstrated expertise
Since mobility is an option open to all organizations, rolling out a mobility strategy calls for the expertise of a mobile application development and support partner. Having a reliable partner, future-proofs investment in mobility. It also ensures that precious company resources are not burdened with non-core business aspects.