Businesses want increased productivity and efficiency, employees are looking for a flexible work environment that allows them to use their mobile devices, and the RACE is on for enterprise mobility. Players small and large are battling for the starting grid.
Organizations must connect with employees, customers, and partners in new ways and across new devices and applications. The rapid development of mobile technology undoubtedly has its own pros and cons for companies, but we cannot deny the fact that there are many companies that are embracing this mobile revolution to keep up with the rapidly-growing mobile world.
Here are some facts to support this analysis:
- Today, more than 187.9 million workers are mobile.
- 80% of Fortune 500 companies have deployed or are deploying the iPad to their workforce.
- By 2015, 37.2% of the total workforce will be mobile – that’s 1.3 billion people.
- According to a survey conducted by IDG Research Services, 70% of the organizations surveyed said that they are either currently using enterprise applications, or will be using them in the near future.
If you are looking to join the march of progress and tread carefully when adapting your company to Enterprise Mobility, we will guide you through the MUST KNOWs of an Enterprise Mobility app.
Now the question arises: Should you develop a cross-platform app, or choose a platform for your Enterprise Mobility app? The market is dominated by two gigantic mass players: Android and iPhone. This directs our attention to the fact that the mobility app will have to work on at least these two devices. The alternative possibility is to offer an app for only one particular platform, and many companies have opted for this approach, but it turned out to be an expensive choice compared to developing cross-platform applications. There are various approaches in the market that one can choose to follow. Using a native development language can be a costly choice, so the best solution is to choose cross-platform frameworks like Appcelerator Titanium, Phone Gap, and Sencha to develop your application. These frameworks will help you take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3, and will allow you to access native features and deploy the apps to multiple platforms.
2. Consistent Connectivity
Consistent connectivity to the Internet plays a major role in making an enterprise app successful, and does wonders, just as we expect it to. Internet connectivity is one of the major concerns for an enterprise mobility app when its users are working on the go. Consistent access to the Internet is needed to ensure connectivity between businesses and employees (B2E), businesses and consumers (B2C), businesses and businesses (B2B), and machines and machines (M2M). This is achievable only with stable and consistent 3G coverage from a major nationwide carrier that offers superior services. Undoubtedly, enterprise apps can also work on EDGE, but mobile
workers demand high-speed Internet connectivity.
3. Employee Privacy and Security
A Citrix global survey indicated that nearly all respondents will have a BYOD policy in place by 2013. Security at the business’s end and privacy at the employees’ ends are two of the most important factors we should keep in mind when developing an enterprise app. This means that you must disclose the types of data stored on the mobile device that the Enterprise Mobility application can and cannot access, so that there is transparency between the company and the employee.
Managing mobility has never been more complicated. Today’s IT organization needs to secure and control a myriad of employees, apps, and devices. Good Enterprise Mobility management solutions allow enterprises to manage diverse mobility needs holistically. As mentioned before, this information needs to be disclosed. However, the most important thing that you might need to have is the ability to wipe the contents of the device. Remote wipe is not something new, and the iOS and Android platforms have already had it for a while.
4. Controlling the application, not the device
The best way to manage an enterprise mobility app is to create a cross-platform app to ensure that you are controlling the app, but not the device. By not controlling the device, you ensure that the personal data within the device remains untouched and secure with the user.
In addition, securing the device is more difficult than securing an app, especially when you are working with different platforms and different devices. The focus should be on the data stored in the application and not the other data stored on the device. This means ensuring that the data in the app is secured and is sent through an encrypted connection. A VPN (virtual private network) is a good example of a secured channel. Securing your application correctly means that other people cannot tap into the confidential data that is sent to and from your employee.
5. Features required in an Enterprise Mobility application
With the Center for Telecom Environment Management Standards reporting that 78 percent of organizations allow employee-owned mobile devices in the business environment, and enterprise IT spending for Apple® iPad® tablets alone set to reach $16 billion in 2013, mobile devices in the enterprise are not only skyrocketing in volume, but are also expanding beyond the executive suites to rank-and-file employees.
- Fragmentation of mobile device platforms
- Centralized, consistent app security
- Federated identity and SSO
- The right security for the situation
- Enterprise integration
- Communication protocols such as SIP
6. Measuring the Cost-Benefit of an Enterprise Mobility application
The last concern, but not the least, is the cost associated with acquiring the app. For many organizations, the high costs of enterprise mobility applications are one of the biggest barriers to acquiring new solutions. The majority of enterprises are looking for mobility solutions that don’t require significant upfront investment. There are other, more cost-effective solutions available in the market, which, in the long run, will make a visible difference in your business’s revenues.
Advantages of having an Enterprise Mobility application
An enterprise mobility app enables employees to gain quick and constant access to their workplace, even when they are not in the office. This constant access offers employees more flexibility, which is directly proportional to their productivity. This makes employees available and responsive at all hours, and company data can be transferred back and forth among employees through a secured channel.
Offering employees the freedom to work with their personal devices, instead of making a certain platform compulsory, helps to foster a healthier and more productive work environment.
Disadvantages of an Enterprise Mobility application
Everything has pros and cons, including the concept of an Enterprise Mobility application. The biggest problem is information security. Company information will be traveling outside the office in a digital form and can easily be replicated by anyone, including your competitors. In a highly competitive environment, it is highly advisable to put some serious security features on the application, and that can cost a lot of money.
This, then, brings us to our second point: money. Developing an application that can work across multiple platforms can be costly, and its maintenance can also be a little costlier. However, as mentioned earlier, the cost-benefit of an Enterprise Mobility application needs to be highlighted so that the investment produces rich rewards.