Enterprise Mobility - 10 Critical Success Factors
Organizations are today keenly looking at mobile enabling their Enterprise Applications such as CRM, ERP, SCM, HCM, BI, E-Mail, Document Servers, to name a few, for access by their Employees, Partners and Customers. While most of the Enterprises are quite mature enough on the Desktop application front, they are currently in the early or exploration stage, when it comes to Enterprise Mobility. In this article, we will delve into the Critical Success Factors to be considered for Enterprise Mobility, which Organizations will find it useful, to start with.
2. Target Devices and Mobile OSs: With a wide range of Mobile Devices (Smart Phone, Tablet, Phablet...of different screen sizes) and Operating Systems (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Window Phone...), mushrooming in the market, organizations have to decide on the target mobile devices and OSs, which they will support. We can start supporting a small set of target mobile devices and then gradually extend it to a larger range of mobile devices.
3. Enterprise Back End to be Mobile Enabled: Enterprises need to have a definite strategy on the priority and phase wise mobile enablement of their back end information/systems, for access by their Employees, Partners and customers, as different target users may need access to specific category of information (e.g. Sales information for Employees, Supply information for Partners, Order information for Customers).
4. Type of Mobile Applications: We have Browser or Thin Client Mobile Apps, Native or Thick Client Mobile Apps and Hybrid Mobile Apps. With the advent of HTML5/CSS3/JS technology advancements, Browser or Thin Client Mobile Apps is gaining popularity. When we look at rich UI/UX and usage of native features, Native or Thick Client Mobile Apps are preferred. When we need the best of both native and browser based features, Enterprises can go in for Hybrid Mobile Apps.
5. BYOD: Bring Your Own Device, is gaining popularity, with Enterprises wanting to enable Employees to use their personal mobile devices, at work. However, support BYOD policy in an Organization, means ensuring security of enterprise information/data accessed by the Employees and privacy of personal information/data available in their own mobile devices. This is where Mobile Security, MDM, MAM solutions stem into picture.
6. Mobile Security: Mobile Security is vital, when it comes to Enterprise Mobility, spanning across multiple levels - Device Level Security, Application Level Security, Network Level Security, to name a few. Biometrics, Login Name/Password, Encryption/Decryption are different techniques employed in enterprise mobile security, related to user identification, authorization and authentication.
7. MDM and MAM: Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) are critical components of Enterprise mobility, which organizations need to consider, especially when the BYOD policy is implemented.
8. Mobility Middleware: Enterprises have a choice of going in for direct browser based/native mobile application development or through Mobility Middleware. Typically, in scenarios when one backend application is to be mobile enabled for access by a particular mobile device type, then direct mobile app development option is explored. On the other hand, when multiple back end applications are to be mobile enabled for access through a wide range of mobile devices/OSs, Mobility Middleware is the best option, which saves significant time, effort and cost, by supporting device diversity and ready to use adapters/connectors, for various enterprise applications.
9. Scalability: Any mobility solution that an enterprise selects, should be scalable enough, for the next 3 to 5 years, in terms supporting the maximum number of users, back end enterprise applications, device diversity, new mobile operation systems, to name a few.
10. CAPEX and OPEX: When it comes to planning their enterprise mobility solution road map, organizations have to look at Capital Expenses (CAPEX) and Operational Expenses (OPEX), in the short term and in the long term. Initial investment and recurring cost, in terms of infrastructure (e.g. Hardware, Software/License) cost, service provider expenses, AMC/Support cost, upgrade cost, must be taken into account.
While the above mentioned critical success factors for enterprise mobility are good enough for organizations to start with, there are other emerging trends in mobility like on-premise vs. hosted solutions, open source vs. licensed solutions, enterprise app stores, extensive usage of gestures / peripherals / wireless connectivity in mobile devices, to name a few. Organizations need to keep track of the current developments in the market, to progressively enhance their mobility offerings to their Employees, Partners and Customers, to stay ahead of the competition.