The mobile solution and its ecosystem are huge, rapidly growing and moving forward faster than expected. Mobility seems to have the highest impact on enterprises today. Managing a real-time enterprise, enabling a mobile workforce, and understanding the value of data driven decision making has become critical for organizations. Enterprise mobility allows you to operate efficiently, reduces cost, increases productivity, improves sales, provides flexibility and above all abides by organization’s business strategy and security compliance.
Smartphones and tablets are used everywhere. The increasing popularity of these devices is changing the way businesses look at their device strategies. As per industry statistics, 50% of Fortune 100 companies are using iPad commercially and 80% of Fortune 500 are deploying or piloting iPad. Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide and by 2015 over 80% of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones. By 2015 media tablet shipments will reach around 50 % of laptop shipments. Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems will continue to be the leaders and Windows 8 will likely be in third place.
With the increasing popularity of smart devices, enterprises are fast adopting these devices to enable their workforce. More employees are now using their device with enterprise applications to manage their daily tasks and workflows for basic and department-specific activities such as store inventory, update customer information, close on sales deals, schedule meetings, request or approve purchases, monitor regional sales, verify delivery dates, manage time sheets & expenses and more.
In our previous blog – Enterprise mobility: trends and significant learning in 2012, we discussed on how 2012 has been a year of transformation in enterprise mobility market. In 2013, there will be greater association of some of these trends along with some new ones, which will continue to shape the mobility landscape. This will help decision makers change the way they engage with rest of the business.
Key Factors to Consider this Year:
It is interesting to note, there are various blogs available on the internet about how evolution in mobile technology is changing the enterprise mobility landscape. You will find articles on this topic with mixed views from many thought leaders and bloggers. However based on our research, experience and customer requirements for this year, these are the top five factors we look at, which will shape up the enterprise mobility landscape in 2013. Many of which are in-line with Top 10 strategic technology trends defined by Gartner for 2013.
1. Mobile Technology Strategy and Design will continue to be the primary focus
Mobile market is fast evolving. In enterprise mobility ecosystem which includes employees, partners and customers, all connected through various devices on multiple platforms makes CIO concern about information security risks and uncertainties while adopting mobile technology for the organization.
Before getting into the actual implementation – a good mobile technology strategy, design and roadmap is critical for a mobility solution. The elements necessary for implementing your enterprise mobility solution will be already available by the mobility service provider you select. However, answering the questions of which technology option to choose from, for which device platforms to implement for, which features & functionality is useful for your application, which technology will continue to enhance (mobile web app or native app), what is the right architecture for integrating mobility into your existing systems etc. will offer the most competitive advantages. If the mobile technology strategy & design is in-line with enterprise-wide strategy and compliant with the information security standards of your organization, then this will ensure that you have selected the right technology architecture for your mobile application and will help scale-up on a long term.
2. Customization of Applications will play a significant role
There are multiple tools to create consumer and enterprise facing applications, but Garner says “for the next few years, no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several”. At present, the most popular mobile technology and architecture options used are native, hybrid, mobile web app (HTML 5) and these will remain popular for a while. However, there will be a long term shift away from native application development to mobile web application development as HTML5 becomes more capable. Nevertheless, as smartphone continue to evolve, the native applications will not get completely phased out and will always offer the best user experiences & most sophisticated features within the device.
A good practice would be for you as an enterprise to look at your processes and build applications tailored to your business needs and processes to ensure maximum productivity gains.
3. Integration will continue to be a challenge
Enabling mobility in the organization is highly impacted by the consumerization of IT and BYOD. Many organizations are recognizing the need to support both corporate-issued and employee-owned devices. Due to constant revolution in mobile technology, the enterprise mobility solution providers are enabling their platform and services to adhere to business standards.
Several solutions are available by various mobility players and this will continue to rise. The strategic value of enterprise mobility at present is not too much about the development tools you are using but the focus should be more on the business models and process you need to enable, the kind of integration supported by your organization. The key to your business success will be the ability to support existing enterprise systems and integrate with emerging advanced CRMs, business intelligence, social networks, messaging systems, security systems etc. only which is suitable for your solution.
We expect this to get more complex this year. But it is critical that you identify the right technology integration required by your enterprise to ensure long-term solution.
4. Measurement & Analysis of impact of the Enterprise Application on the business will become more significant
In this fast moving mobile market, decision makers are struggling to understand the areas where they should be investing. To achieve high productivity and evaluate ROIs decision makers (CIOs, CEOs) will focus on the impact mobility will have in their everyday operations. It is expected for them to handle critical tasks as well as make faster and more informed real-time decisions. Measuring and analyzing the performance, cost and usage of the application will become more important. We think, if the performance is measured on regular basis and action is taken to enhance the application performance, your organization can achieve high productivity sooner than expected.
5. The need for a Simple, but Scalable and highly Secure Application will remain
Most enterprise applications include integration to customer’s backend systems such as messaging systems, application servers, database systems, CRMs, ERP Systems and more. Since corporate data is confidential, it is evident that a secure exchange of data between employees and customers is a must. Building a solution which adheres to organizations business logic and standards is critical to the organization and shall continue to be the primary requirement.
Other parameters which many enterprise users require are the enterprises applications should be simple, easy to use and scalable. For a good user experience simple but useful features is required. Therefore, you should consider features and functionality most useful for your users, specific to your organizational needs and also should have the roadmap in place to add new features in phases. On the server side also, the solution should to be able to support more number of users as and when there is increase in number of employees within your organization. Building the application in an iterative manner will continue to be the trend and is recommended.
It will be interesting to wait and watch what 2013 has for all of us in the enterprise mobility space. Do share your thoughts.