18 misconceptions in Enterprise Mobility


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Choosing the right mobility strategy is key for enterprises to leverage the latest technology trend and stay competitive. More often enterprise tend to either prolong the decision on mobility strategy or adopt a short sighted approach. The rapid evolution of mobile technology and its proliferation into enterprises is unprecedented, which led to many misconceptions in the mind of enterprise IT. This document clarifies the misconceptions enterprises have in mobility strategy.

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18 misconceptions in Enterprise Mobility

  1. 1. Mowbly White Paper: Does Your Enterprise Have A Mobility Strategy? Top 18 misconceptions in enterprise mobility strategy 1
  2. 2. Introduction Enterprise Mobility is one of the top strategic technology trends in 2014 for most organizations, Gartner says. What exactly is a strategic technology? Gartner defnes it as follows, Gartner defnes a strategic technology as one with the potential for signifcant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote signifcant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. Strategic technology could be an emerging or existing one but defnitely impacts the organization’s long term plans, programs and initiatives. Enterprise mobility though been around a little while, is still an emerging trend posing great challenges for enterprises to strategize on it. At Mowbly, we have been meeting and discussing with CIOs and IT Heads from diferent domains like BFSI, Retail, Logistics, Manufacturing etc. on their enterprise mobility strategy. Interesting patterns emerged during our conversations regarding the implementation of mobile apps in enterprises. We also observed similar set of challenges and misconceptions across domains which led to some enterprises focussing more on tactical wins. More often, these tactical wins morph as a mobility strategy veering the enterprises of their mobility vision. This post summarizes the mobility misconceptions we observed in enterprises that potentially jeopardize their mobility strategy and at worse, hold them from moving forward at all. If you see yourself positioned in one or more of the following scenarios listed below, it is a warning sign that either you don’t have an enterprise mobility strategy or have been a pawn of business circumstances. So, do you really have an Enterprise mobility strategy? Read on to fnd and check if you are heading in the right path. 2
  3. 3. 1. Customer facing apps is all that is there 2. Restricting mobility to core business alone 3. Reactive mobility initiatives yielding to business pressure 4. Mobile app landscape refects backend system fragmentation 5. Mobile website is my mobility strategy 6. A Cross platform dev tool framework is the crux of the strategy 7. Delegating mobility strategy to service vendor 8. Wary of security in enterprise mobility 9. Adopting a virtualization solution 10. Assuming mobility does not concern B2B enterprises 11. Citing lack of mass mobile usage inside the enterprise 12. My users are not tech savvy to use mobile apps 13. Squeezing legacy devices into mobility strategy 14. Shying away from investing in a mobility platform 15. Dependency on software application vendors 16. Procrastination due to ongoing backend initiatives 17. Traumatized by a failed mobile initiative 18. Budget constraints holding me back 3
  4. 4. Customer facing apps is all that is there The frst app that enterprises think of in their enterprise mobility strategy is a customer facing app, for the very valid reason that it is an additional channel to generate revenue. Smartphones being the most personal devices, the customer facing app will give a greater leverage than any other investment enterprises could possibly think of. Typically the app is built in-house or through service providers and rolled out to users through various marketplaces. Some enterprises tend to focus more on customer apps. This renders their mobility strategy incomplete. A balanced mobility strategy must cover all stakeholders in the enterprise including employees, partners and customers. The implementation of the mobility strategy can be phased, but being contented with customer apps is not a good sign. Balanced mobility strategy must cover all stakeholders a.k.a customers, employees and partners 4
  5. 5. Efective mobility strategy must focus on apps that provide non tangible benefts apart from core business apps. Restricting mobility to core business alone When it comes to internal mobile apps, it is quite natural that enterprises give priority to the core business apps in their mobility strategy. Core business apps quickly reward enterprises with greater business impact and competitive edge. But if the enterprise mobility strategy is based only on apps that fall into this category, it will prove a short sighted approach. Enterprises must look into other possibilities such as fringe apps for business workfows, productivity apps, employee engagement apps etc. that could provide non-tangible benefts like productivity gains and improved employee satisfaction. An efective mobility strategy must aim to leverage the power of smart devices of the employees and partners to the enterprise advantage in every possible way. It is good to start with core business apps, but enterprises must ensure that the investment they do in this efort is strategic and enables them to roll out non-core business apps with less overhead in future. Focusing only on core business mobile apps or difculty in churning out new apps seamlessly means the strategy and investment need a revival. 5
  6. 6. Reactive mobility initiatives yielding to business pressure Since recent years, CIOs and IT Heads increasingly are active in business decisions, thanks to the rapid technology growth and adoption in enterprise IT. IT innovation has changed the way enterprises conduct business and transformed them into signifcantly more efcient companies. Enterprise IT has progressed from an entity doing mere execution of business apps to nerve center of business driving innovation through apps. Enterprise mobility is a great opportunity for IT innovation if it is proactively driven by the IT leaders in the enterprise. In the earlier stages of mobility adoption, business demands tend to drive the mobile apps needed for the enterprise. Business invariably would focus on the revenue points of your enterprise and hence yielding to only business app needs proves reactive. Enterprise mobility is a wholesome strategy targeting every possible area in enterprise, which means enterprise IT must take the reins in its hands and drive it. Being proactive is the key to greater innovation and successful adoption of enterprise mobility strategy. Enterprise IT must be proactive in its mobile apps strategy apart from building apps for business needs to be successful 6
  7. 7. Fragmented app landscape with multiple apps from multiple vendors does not lead to wholesome mobility Mobile app landscape refects backend system fragmentation Enterprises have made substantial investments on multiple software and systems like ERP, CRM, MIS, BI tools etc. for their core business operations. Some of these enterprise software products updated themselves to extend support for smartphones and tablets as mobile websites and native apps. If an enterprise mobility strategy depends primarily on usage of such apps, it means the enterprise is slipping into a fragmented app environment with serious challenges. The major challenge is customization support for these mobile apps based on the enterprise needs. Also, enterprise workfows typically need users to access or transact with more than one enterprise system to complete a task, which is not going to be seamless in this case resulting in poor user adoption. Depending on fragmented mobile apps is a serious issue for a wholesome mobility strategy in the longer run. 7
  8. 8. Mobile website is my mobility strategy In the last decade, one of the primary investments most enterprises made is web enabling their IT systems. This has created quite a few web apps for business workfows in any enterprise. Internal websites became a norm for enterprises to expose content and functionality to employees and partners. This was an important trend in making the enterprise connected to the rest of the world. It is highly likely an enterprise that is successful in web enabling chooses to go mobile web only for its mobility strategy. Mobile web apps are achieved by extending the existing web apps to mobile browsers by updating them to a responsive design. Responsive website is touted as the most cost efective option for quicker roll out of mobile apps. Mobile website never can be a long term enterprise mobility strategy for many reasons and the primary among them is that it is still not an app available on the device, hence user experience takes a heavy toll. Leveraging native features of the device is inevitable for high user adoption. Indeed, the smarter way is to go for a hybrid app approach that gives you benefts of both native and responsive website. Gartner says that by 2016, more than 50% of enterprise mobile apps deployed will be hybrid. Does your enterprise stick to mobile website ideology still? Its time for it to revive the mobility goals. Mobile or responsive website cannot be a long term mobility strategy, as leveraging native features is critical for high user adoption 8
  9. 9. Cross platform SDKs are only development tools and are not adequate for a comprehensive mobility strategy A Cross platform dev tool framework is the crux of my strategy Some enterprises adopt hybrid app development approach and use cross platform SDKs like PhoneGap to build mobile apps. The hybrid app approach is proved to be the most cost efective way to build enterprise mobile apps. The key point to remember is that enterprise mobility strategy is much more than developing apps. App development is only 15% of the real need, a typical enterprise mobility strategy involves comprehensive deployment, security, management and monitoring functionality without which the strategy is absolutely not scalable and this means a need for additional investment on mobility software products. If your enterprise assumes that adopting a cross platform SDK to solve enterprise mobility, the journey will not take it to the right destination. 9
  10. 10. Delegating mobility strategy to service vendor Enterprise mobility being relatively newer than other technologies in enterprise IT, it requires time and talent to devise and implement a successful enterprise mobility strategy. To bridge this gap, enterprises typically engage IT service providers to help them embark on a mobility strategy. IT service providers with all good intentions would recommend an approach for mobility in your enterprise, but there is a very high probability that the proposed strategy is constrained by the service provider’s skills and capabilities. Indeed, there are cases where enterprises that are associated with multiple service vendors for diferent applications ended up having specifc mobile extensions based on the vendors’ priority. This is a more serious case than the fragmented apps scenario we discussed in the earlier part of our post. As the owner of the mobility strategy, the onus squarely lies on enterprise IT team to take a well informed decision on the mobility strategy that suits the enterprise and get the IT service providers aligned to it. Delegating the enterprise mobility strategy to service providers might have serious repercussions in the long run. Outsourcing strategy usually does not work and more so for mobility 10
  11. 11. With new platforms and tools handling security in mobility strategy is not difcult. Non adoption or constrained strategy are more riskier than security itself Wary of security in enterprise mobility Many a times the primary concern that surfaces during enterprise mobility discussions is security. Security requirements typically include authorized access to enterprise apps, access to enterprise data, storage of data in users' devices, enforcing corporate policies etc. With the advent of new platforms and tools, security is no longer a bigger concern as it used be a couple of years before. If your enterprise mobility strategy is primarily constrained by security requirements, it is mandatory that time and again it is reviewed based on the innovative solutions in this area to leverage the maximum out of your mobility investment. There are instances where enterprises hold themselves from embarking on a mobility strategy citing security constraints, which will prove to be a greater risk of non-adoption than the security constraint itself. The pith and core of security is that it is always a moving target, as new technologies arrive so are the security threats. Enterprises must understand this and implement a suitable mobility strategy for them. Non adoption of mobility or a frozen security based strategy are not the right answers for your enterprise mobility strategy. 11
  12. 12. Adopting a virtualization solution One of the interesting solutions from enterprise desktop computing that made its way into enterprise mobility is virtualization. Virtualization is touted to be a quicker way to provide secure access and space for corporate information in employees’ devices. It provides a secure container on the device that allows access to existing enterprise desktop. There may be other out-of-box enterprise apps like mail, calendar etc. bundled with the container or additional device management apps, depending on the vendor, which would enable you to get onboard faster. Indeed, virtualization comes with a substantial investment. However the catch here is that virtualization primarily focusses on security and ignores user adoption. Success of your enterprise mobility strategy squarely lies in users adopting your apps. Apps that are made for specifc desktop OS cannot provide seamless user experience as their counterpart built for mobile devices. Also, such apps can’t leverage the native features of the device which users expect to have and eventually lead to a reduced usage. If an app doesn’t qualify to be migrated to a smartphone app, say because it is a legacy app, then virtualization could be a solution. Adopting virtualization doesn’t make mobility strategy complete. 12
  13. 13. Also, what virtualization fails to answer is the apps part of your enterprise mobility strategy. The investment on virtualization can be maximized only if there is an active road map of mobile apps. And these roadmap apps aren’t just the existing desktop apps or document management systems but apps that you innovate for your business workfows. Designing and developing mobile apps for business workfows spanning multiple enterprise systems is not an easy ride if the enterprise hasn’t invested in a mobility platform. Hence, virtualization can only be a stopgap solution until you board on a mature mobility strategy. Also, virtualization poses a risk of vendor lock in, which might paralyze your mobility strategy in longer run. Exposing desktop apps on mobile can only be a stopgap solution until you board on a mature mobility strategy. 13
  14. 14. Enterprise mobility doesn’t mean only customer facing apps and B2B enterprises must embark on a mobility strategy Assuming mobility does not concern B2B enterprises Enterprises where the core business is based on B2B have a greater tendency to relate enterprise mobility to consumer facing apps. Since B2B scenarios don’t need customer facing apps, some of these enterprises totally ignore the need for a mobility strategy. The status quo in most of the B2B enterprises is business through emails or point solution web apps. Business workfows in B2B scenarios typically span across the value chain involving more than one enterprise and the human interface points in these workfows are perfect candidates for mobility. Enterprise mobility for B2B could be a greater leverage with an always on channel across the supply chain enabling quicker decision making and improved collaboration. The benefts of a such a mobility solution will be manifold compared to the discrete email, sms and web solutions. Are you a B2B enterprise and don’t have a mobility strategy yet? May be it’s time to break the status quo and experience the advantages of enterprise mobility. 14
  15. 15. Citing lack of mass mobile usage inside the enterprise Another misconception some enterprises have is that enterprise mobility would not return on the investment made if there is no large scale usage of mobile devices in the enterprise. B2B enterprises which don’t have feld operations or customer facing apps typically fall into this category. Mobile apps provide non tangible benefts like productivity gains, quicker decision making and user satisfaction which cannot be discounted based on the number of smartphone users in your enterprise. Indeed, the strategy can be adopting a specifc set of core business users say for example senior management executives and enabling them to be on the latest KPIs of the business and make decisions through mobile apps. Bottom line is that enterprise mobility strategy must not depend on the number of devices it serves but on the value it generates. Enterprise mobility strategy must not depend on the number of devices it serves but on the value it generates 15
  16. 16. Tech savviness of users is not a barrier for enterprise mobility. Indeed, mobile apps are the perfect ones for less tech savvy users My users are not tech savvy to use mobile apps Relating tech savviness of enterprise mobile app users to enterprise mobility strategy is one of the serious misconceptions some enterprises have. The misconception roots from the reality that feld level employees in many industries are semi-professionals. A key point that these enterprises fail to notice here is that mobile apps are very diferent from desktop apps in gaining user adoption. Smartphones too sooner became the most personal devices of users, which is a refection of simplicity, user friendliness and intuitiveness of the app ecosystem on these devices. Smartphones indeed played a major role in consumerization of IT than any other technology you could think of, again a sign of higher user adoption. If your enterprise mobility strategy is designed with an assumption based on tech savviness of users, you are ignoring a potential user base that could be greatly leveraged for your advantage. Enterprises hence should adopt mobility strategy as their primary app delivery mode and build apps that are user friendly and intuitive. 16
  17. 17. Squeezing legacy devices into mobility strategy Enterprises of certain domains say for example, logistics where feld service plays a major role in the business, might have a substantial investment done in legacy mobile devices, if they have been in the market for a long while. Typically these enterprises try to extend their investment on legacy devices to their current enterprise mobility strategy along with the smartphones and tablets, which is quite valid from business point of view. But it happens at times that the seriousness of the constraints these legacy devices put on your mobility strategy go unnoticed. Implementation of such a dual strategy is doomed to fail considering the wider spectrum of devices to support with profound diference in their capabilities. The more ideal way is to manage them as separate strategies and eventually phase out the legacy devices support. Hence, it makes a greater sense to decouple the legacy devices from mainstream mobility strategy to ensure success in long run. Mobility strategy that treat legacy devices and smartphones alike is doomed to fail 17
  18. 18. Mobility strategy that doesn’t invest on a mobility platform cannot be efective and may fail in long run Shying away from investing in a mobility platform Enterprise mobility is much more than just building apps. The ecosystem of enterprise mobility involves multiple stakeholders - developers, IT admin and end users. A proper implementation of enterprise mobility should ensure greater adoption of all these stakeholders. Typical requirement of the users are, • Developers need a robust and fexible environment to build and test apps for a variety of devices. • IT admin needs complete freedom and control on the mobility deployment and seamless deployment of mobile apps coupled with security and management. • End users like seamless consumption of apps, greater app experience and a non-intrusive security. Going by the traditional way of building point based solutions will not address these requirements and hence is a sure path to failure of your strategy. The right approach is to choose a Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP) that ofers you a complete system helping you in development, deployment, management and monitoring of your apps. Hence for an efective mobility strategy investment in a mobility platform is the key. Have you enterprise done it? 18
  19. 19. Dependency on software application vendors A typical enterprise IT landscape would consist of business software ranging from legacy systems to the latest web based solutions. Enterprise mobility strategy would need mobile apps across these software and systems. As explained in the Fragmented Apps section earlier in this white paper, enterprises would want to leverage the mobility ofering of these software from their vendors. However, not every system is capable of being extended to mobile devices and even in possible cases, the mobility road map of the vendor would not align with yours. If your enterprise has such an IT landscape, which is very common, it is best to refrain from depending on the application vendors for your mobility strategy. Rather, if possible, your enterprise must demand the vendors for service interfaces for their applications which can be used in the mobile apps to integrate back with them. Enterprises might also need to possibly work on parallel systems to extend legacy software onto mobility, like building abstraction layers or web enabling them. Waiting on the application vendors for your enterprise mobility strategy is a bad sign and you may not want to be blocked by a couple of software whose vendors have no plans to migrated them to smartphones or tablets. Mobility extensions of apps from software app vendors can't be a wholesome mobility strategy and waiting on them puts your enterprise in a risk of late adoption 19
  20. 20. Tying enterprise mobility strategy to specifc IT initiatives is a constrained approach which will delay mobility adoption and puts enterprise at risk of losing competitive edge Procrastination due to ongoing backend initiatives Enterprises always have a need to keep their backend infrastructure, systems and apps up to date. The trigger for updates could be many such as a new product initiative, migrating to latest hardware, software upgrades and so on. Such IT activities are a common story in many enterprises, but some enterprises tie these IT initiatives to their enterprise mobility strategy. The unfortunate result is postponement of enterprise mobility strategy till the IT initiative is completed and running successful. A proper enterprise mobility strategy must not depend on any specifc IT initiative as the opportunity for mobile apps is across the enterprise. Any delay in enterprise mobility strategy puts your enterprise at a risk of late adoption, a more serious state to be in considering the competitive edge mobility can ofer. 20
  21. 21. Traumatized by a failed mobile initiative At times a failed mobile initiative in your enterprise could become a barrier for adopting a mobility strategy. The reasons of the failure can be many like inappropriate timing of rollout, wrong type of app (website or native), poor choice of functionality, no value add to user etc. A right mobility strategy would enable you to rebound faster from such a failure situation. Say, if you had a mobility platform in place as part of your enterprise mobility strategy, the impact by the failure of one app will be far lesser and you can always move on with further apps on the platform. This may not be the case if you mobile initiative is a point solution based app. Aright mobility strategy with a mobility platform in place is essential to rebound faster from failed mobile initiatives 21
  22. 22. Mobility strategy is an absolute necessity to be competitive. Enterprise IT is responsible to communicate the possible ROI to management and get the budget Budget constraints holding me back Enterprise mobility as any other IT investment has its own capital expenses and operational costs. The major entry barrier is the expense involved in procuring devices which is mandatory as mobility strategy in an enterprise cannot be based purely on BYOD. The cost of smartphones is drastically falling down and probably a phased purchase of devices could help your enterprise to get onboard with little overhead. The other costs involved are of the mobility software and operational expenses. A yearly budget of minimum $20K seems a typical requirement to run an active enterprise mobility strategy sans procurement of devices. In most enterprises, this spending can be a little part of the other expenses incurred like software licensing cost, marketing expenses etc. And mobility is sure to provide returns to the enterprise manifold, if a proper investment is made. If your enterprise is held back in mobility strategy by budget constraints, it is the responsibility of the enterprise IT to project the return on investment the mobility strategy can ofer to the management. Considering mobility is the top trend starting from 2014, a substantial investment on mobility strategy would help enterprises to be more competitive. 22
  23. 23. Conclusion Enterprise mobility started gaining ground since recent years and has evolved as a mandatory investment for enterprises in order to leverage the latest technology trend and stay more competitive. Choosing the right mobility strategy is key for enterprises to be successful by delivering rich user experiences to all stakeholders in the strategy. More often enterprise tend to either prolong the decision on mobility strategy or adopt a short sighted approach. The past experiences of enterprise IT in adopting various technologies in the last decade has a greater infuence on their decision on enterprise mobility. The rapid evolution of mobile technology and its proliferation into enterprises is unprecedented, which led to many misconceptions in the mind of enterprise IT. The frst step is for enterprises to clarify these misconceptions and understand the pros and cons of diferent mobility strategies before they conclude on one that suits them. 23
  24. 24. Authors Sathish Kumar CoFounder – Chief Architect, Mowbly Vignesh Swaminathan Founder – CEO, Mowbly About Mowbly Mowbly is new age mobility platform that enables enterprises embark on a wholesome mobility strategy. The platform is trusted by popular brands in BFSI, Aviation and Manufacturing domains. Mowbly helps enterprises to develop, test, deploy, manage, monitor and analyze multiple mobile initiatives using a single solution through its cloud based and on premise ofering. With Mowbly, enterprises can achieve a self sustained mobility strategy and extend their existing IT investments seamlessly onto mobility. Mowbly is a unique single stack mobility solution available in the market that can get your enterprise a higher ROI and greater user adoption. For more information, please visit www.mowbly.com and connect with Mowbly on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. © 2014 CloudPact Software, All rights reserved. 24