Making Enterprise Mobility Deliver

Making Enterprise Mobility Deliver

Faraz Syed, CEO of DeviceAnywhere

Faraz Syed

DeviceAnywhere on the growth of enterprise mobility

By Faraz Syed, CEO of DeviceAnywhere

Mobile enterprise is one of the fastest growing segments of the IT market with revenues to reach $133 billion by 2014. However, despite the promising growth prospects, IT decision makers are faced with a number of challenges which need to be addressed before being able to tap into the full potential of this flourishing market.

Companies looking to extend IT services onto connected devices often cite the fragmentation of operating systems as the biggest challenge, but this ignores the plethora of hardware, protocols, standards and connectivity options that we also have to contend with. As users look to evolve their mobility strategies, new players are entering the sector and the diversification of products, applications and services continues to increase.

Fragmentation Beyond the OS Wars

Despite multiple initiatives to consolidate the number of development platforms the issue of a splintering ecosystem is one of the most obvious challenges facing an organization’s IT department. A recent report by ABI Research suggests that businesses will need to support an average of five operating systems, a massive challenge when you have the multiple versions of each platform and the desktop environments they previously developed for.

Ensuring support for a single or multiple operating systems is however only part of the mobility challenge and only ensures the product functions, but what about making it perform?

The explosion of Smartphones has meant that IT departments also have to consider different screen sizes, processors and input methods when implementing a mobility solution. This challenge has further evolved with the introduction of additional connected devices within the enterprise, such as tablets and satellite navigation systems, which ensure delivering a consistent user-experience becomes even more complicated.

The final challenge is perhaps the most obvious and often the most overlooked, the variety of ways that users are required to connect while on the move. Whilst Wi-Fi, 3G and in some cases LTE connectivity are becoming commonplace, organizations need to consider what options will be available when end-users are in the field.


Growing Demands of the Enterprise

The functionality of enterprise products developed in house or by third parties, has also grown increasingly complex as organizations look to take advantage of the mobility opportunity. While basic email and access to the corporate database are to date the most popular mobile services, IT decision makers are increasingly looking to add additional capabilities.

According to a recent research report conducted by Yankee Group, unified communications, customer management applications and sales force automation apps are currently the most popular enterprise functionalities to be extended to the mobile platform. But this is just the beginning.

We have seen a significant trend amongst organizations looking to deploy machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions that allow wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same ability. The most popular deployments being monitoring systems that provide real-time updates to consumers or employees. The possibilities are however endless and as a result the market is growing quickly and its potential for the enterprise sector is yet to be fully realised.


Making Mobility Work Harder for Longer

As a result, the challenges facing IT decision makers go far beyond fragmentation and simply getting the product to work is just the first step. Other issues such as provision of IT support, applications deployment and the ongoing management of those services quickly become pivotal in the long term success of mobility programs.

This is due to mobile enterprise applications, as is the case of traditional desktop applications, constantly undergoing a state of transformation due to shifting employee responsibilities and requirements. Changes in corporate systems, mobile operators, operating system upgrades and even worker demographics can also prompt further modification of applications.


It’s All in the Planning

As more complex applications are being rolled out on to mobile applications, organizations need to adopt a new approach to ensuring delivery of a reliable, flexible and long-term mobility service. Where testing has in the past been seen as an uncomplicated part of the development process that simply ensures the product works, this cannot be the case in mobile.

Testing should be split into three clear sections: Testing functionality is the first step in ensuring the delivery of a mobile solution. Operating systems’ SDKs often include a basic emulator that can ensure the product works; Testing performance is fundamental to the short term success and adoption of the mobile solution. This needs to be performed on physical devices and real life solutions to guarantee productivity on the move; Ensuring long term performance requires ongoing monitoring of the mobile product. This not only needs to occur when upgrades to the hardware or network take place, but also routinely to ensure they simply function.

By taking a long term view of development, testing and ongoing maintenance organizations can not only ensure that their mobility solution functions, but achieves its ROI objectives in both the short and long term.

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