Though early adopters of enterprise mobility have reaped these rewards, many organizations are proceeding slowly and with caution in order to learn from the implementation experience of others before developing mobility roadmaps.
Getting enterprise mobility right requires prioritization, striking appropriate balances and making thoughtful tradeoffs. A good starting point is gaining an understanding of the way customers and employees are using (and want to use) mobility, as well as the likely ways that it can be introduced.
Next, organizations must gain a clear understanding of business processes, customer interaction processes and how employees work. This will enable them to leverage the capabilities of mobile devices to optimize how they work across functional silos and maximize business benefits with customers and partners.
The enterprise mobility strategy should focus on creating a comprehensive mobility agenda that defines the objectives and ground rules for screening competing business areas that demand attention for mobility enablement. The criteria could include the potential for creating or strengthening the competitive ability to create new revenue streams by remedying long-felt customer and/or employee pain points.
Further, companies should optimize investments by closing the gap between business unit demand for mobility and deployment readiness. A governance policy should be instituted that lays out with strategic clarity all corporate imperatives, including the BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) policy. A guiding body should be formed to drive the agenda, Ã la a mobility center of excellence.
Providing Freedom within a Framework
We believe that organizations should consider providing the freedom of choice demanded by the wave of technology consumerization, albeit within an overall framework that balances the forces craving independence with the organizational need to maintain appropriate control.
Organizations must be cognizant of the diversity present in the mobile ecosystem, which poses unique move-forward IT and business process challenges. Factors that will be paramount to the success of mobility deployment in any enterprise include scalability, reigning in support and development costs, extending existing security structures and operational procedures. IT leaders need to play the crucial role of marrying business needs with technology requirements, while providing business units with the freedom to extend mobility to business solutions that meet business and customer requirements. A framework that is structured, well defined and scalable will support this freedom, which we term “Freedom within a Framework.”
Four components that constitute the framework are:
Technology: Components (hardware, software and services) required to support new devices owned by employees and customers.
Governance: Policies that govern the device lifecycle, use of business networks and data.
Compliance and Security: Tools, policies, data containment, device strategies, and organization and industry-specific mandates that need to be met.
Support: Skilled personnel to manage mobility and its related applications for employees and customers.
By using this framework, it is possible to provide customers with innovative services through native and mobile Web apps that enhance the user experience, productivity and utility.1 The framework (seen above in Figure 1) provides business units with the necessary components for the development of market-driven solutions in a standardized fashion. The framework helps organizations prescribe guidelines for app design, development, testing, usability and security.
Build or Buy Dilemma
A key decision point is whether to embark on embracing enterprise mobility with in-house resources or buy these through an arrangement with an external service provider. Pursuing the in-house path to mobility requires organizations to have the wherewithal to bear significant upfront cap-ex investments and be willing to contend with technology volatility and a lack of skilled resources, among other issues.
The Case for Cloud and Managed Services
Cloud-enabled, mobility managed services enable enterprises to enjoy the rewards of enterprise mobility without the risks of infrastructure ownership or the burden of supporting the resources required to develop and maintain the applications. One of the advantages of this approach is to convert the fixed costs associated with providing enterprise mobility services to variable costs that best align with demand levels. Organizations are also better positioned to address device and operating system heterogeneity, as well as other complexities, including the continuous need for upgrades to remain in sync with ever-evolving device, software and network advancements.
Enterprise Mobility: The Road Ahead
Enterprise mobility is no longer an option, but rather a critical business requirement. Winning the future will require companies across industries to embrace mobility platforms that unlock productivity and competitive advantage and optimize ongoing process changes that span the core operating model. Whether organizations are expanding existing architectures or starting fresh by building or acquiring new IT infrastructure via managed services, they will need to tread carefully by making tradeoffs that balance the aforementioned risks and rewards that co-exist with today's business constraints and tomorrow's demands for anywhere, anytime information access.
Organizations that delay embracing the inevitable proliferation of enterprise mobility may find themselves hamstrung by inflexible legacy systems environments that put them at a severe disadvantage compared with more adventurous and risk-tolerant competitors. By taking a gradual and measured path, organizations can more effectively rewire their operations and survive ongoing business challenges, while embracing tools and techniques that power new organizational structures and facilitate more collaborative and real-time ways of working.
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1 A native app is a software application written specifically to work with a device's operating system and functionality and is usually managed through an app store. Mobile Web apps use a mobile browser, with access to the Internet to display a Web application or mobile URL customized for devices.