Technology has come a long way. Companies have moved from mainframes to PCs and then to internet and further to mobile devices. This has been a part of their business transformation of innovating and reinventing their business process. CIOs have been continuously adopting to these phenomenal changes in the enterprise.
A recent report from McKinsey show that 56% of CIOs reported a strong demand from their staff to support a wide range of mobile devices. Nearly 77% of CIOs said that they are planning to allow their employees to use their personal mobile devices. Almost all the CIOs said they are planning to do more than 25 mobile applications in next 2 years.
Mobility is driven by user adoption and constant innovation. Its revolutionizing the whole business process. Most of the CIOs mentioned that providing mobile access to core business areas like ERP or CRM have a major impact on business productivity enhancement. Most of the studies show that mobilising CRM or ERP has helped companies really drive business process innovation and enhancement of overall productivity. Enterprise mobility can automate processes and make them more efficient. It can potentially help companies cement the gaps in their ERP/CRMs.
However, CIOs believe even though mobility has the potential to greatly enhance business performance, there are challenges that need to be overcome while implementing the mobility strategy. Security and scalability continue to be the most bigger challenges in the mobility implementation.
There are four challenges CIOs face from scalability perspective – compatibility with multiple mobile devices, integration capability with diverse ERPs, compatibility with different networks and carriers and robust architecture of the platform they choose to chart their mobility strategy.
- In the age of BYOD adoption, supporting multiple mobile operating systems continue to be one core factor that CIOs need to consider while drafting their strategy. They need to look and adopt a platform which can natively support multiple mobile operating systems, not just smartphones and tablets, but also feature phones to some extent.
- The second critical factor is supporting multiple ERP, CRM or legacy platforms. One of the key success factors is how does a CIO is able to use and port multiple applications on the same framework which integrate into diverse enterprise apps and address discreet user groups within the enterprise.
- Third critical factor is how does the application framework works with different carriers and networks. These are as diverse from 2G , 3G and 4G. There also is lot of disconnectivity and blind pockets in the geographies that these carriers handle. For a successful mobility implementation, CIOs need to look at a framework which is completely agnostic to the carrier and the network available and at the same time it should also be able to offer complete offline capability to the app being ported on the framework.
- The forth critical factor is how scalable and robust and secure the underlying platform is. Today in the age of BYOD, where employees continue to use their personal devices to access enterprise platforms, its imperative for the CIOs to have a very strong authentication mechanism and ability to secure the data while its over the air. Most of the enterprises today have a strong security within their data centers and ERPs. The challenge is how well the CIOs secure the access to these mobile devices terminating their connections from public networks. Thera are various encryption and encoding technologies available today which could deployed seamlessly in the mobility implementation. The underlying framework needs to be architected on SOA (service oriented architecture) guidelines to make it extremely modular and scalable.
The need of the hour for people is to look from a more holistic and multi-layered security model in mobile security rather than fragmented security. CIOs should concentrate more on integration and interlocking solutions to streamline their security solutions. To deal with concepts such as BYOD, solution providers must have a broader set of solutions to address the needs of a large enterprise and CIOs need to ensure implementation goes well.
Although there are certain challenges in the mobility space, with more companies embracing enterprise mobility owing to increase productivity and customer satisfaction, CIOs have to constantly examine issues such as cost, security and governance and see how to bring better business values with the newer range of applications and devices in the mobility space.