We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the World’s been turning

If Billy Joel was to include the Mobile Revolution in this popular song, it probably would be the longest song in history! We have all witnessed or rather are witnessing the mobile revolution. Mobile is perhaps the only technology that has affected each one of us at an individual level. It is the one technology that has revolutionized different aspects of our lives, be it personal or business. The progress made by this Industry has made it the fastest adopted technology ever.

The mobile industry is continuing to see rapid growth in connections, subscribers and data traffic. A recent Forrester report predicts that, “42% of the total population globally will own a smart-phone by the end of 2015”. As Web-connected smart-phones and other devices become ubiquitous in business, the volume of data they consume, churn and circulate will be significantly high and cannot be ignored.

Every enterprise is trying to have its foothold on this new dimension in the field of business. Enterprise Mobility is on every organization’s strategic roadmap. In the Accenture CIO Mobility Survey carried out amongst 400 IT professionals, more than one-third of respondents cited mobility as one of their top-two priorities, and 75 percent put it in their top five! Most industry sectors are riding on this wave and are digitising and mobilising their products and services, reducing costs and providing compelling new experiences for consumers.

Enterprise Mobility is however a complex and daunting task. Moreover there are many dimensions to it that need to be carefully understood and addressed before building the organization’s strategic road-map towards mobility. Some of the key dimensions related to it are platforms, devices, technologies, features, network models and exploration of application use cases.

Let’s take a look at these different dimensions that enterprises need to consider for mobility.

MEAP Platform: With a wide variety of mobile devices, user groups, and networks, the development of mobile software can be extremely difficult. It is therefore imperative to have an open MEAP platform that handles different devices during deployment and through their entire lifecycle of the mobile solution. Having a robust and secure MEAP is beneficial because it ensures compatibility between different devices.

Mobile App Development: The ultimate success factor for every mobility project is the User Experience it provides. It is often observed that business- to- consumer apps have a much better UI compared to business- to-employee interface. The poor business to employee interface however can have adverse effect on business; users may opt for "Shadow IT" activities which may in turn increase security risks.

Secondly the mobile device market offers a wide plethora of choices and heterogeneous options that poses a challenge too. Mobile Apps need to cater and fit into this wide market and adopt itself as per the needs and criteria of different devices.

Devices: In today’s corporate world, employees are equipped with the latest devices leading people to demand that they be able to use their own technology at work. This requires IT to support a growing number and wider range of device types in their enterprise infrastructure.

One of Forrester Research analyst notes mentions that, tablet sales are expected to rise from the 56 million units sold in 2011 to 375 million in 2016, with 750 million tablets in use by then. Forrester expects that one-third of these tablets will be purchased by businesses[1]. In addition, a wide variety of devices that provide alternate methods of access will also flourish including set-top boxes, internet TVs, appliances, and wearable personal devices. All these devices will demand support from the business, and therefore a multi-device strategy is necessary to be integrated into existing applications and architectures.

Native, Web or Hybrid Apps: Another major consideration while developing mobile strategies is whether to build native, web or hybrid apps. All three options have pros and cons, and all have the potential to change the entire mobile game plan in a particular scenario.

Native apps use all the capabilities of underlying mobile platform deliver the best user experience and a great performance. The platform specific nature however is the biggest hindrance in sharing the application and therefore increase cost significantly in the heterogeneous environment.

Then there are web apps developed based on HTML5, Javascript and CSS that promises to deliver a uniform user experience independent of Device, Browser, Form Factor or the under lying mobile platform. This option would significantly reduce the development cost.

The final option is to harness best of both the worlds by rightly inter-mixing the native and web apps. This allows business to re-use code and build fasters and economical apps. Hybrid apps are built using cross-compatible web technologies, such as HTML5, CSS and Javascript which are the same languages used to write web apps. They also use some native code to allow the app to access the wider functionality of the device to ensure an enhanced user experience.

Security and Risk: With the increase in convenient handheld devices and mobile phones, security becomes a major concern while implementing Mobile strategy. Access to sensitive applications and data that may be stored on the device or in a private/public cloud becomes unavoidable. Moreover the number of different security capabilities supported across different operating system types and versions makes it difficult for security and management vendors to provide uniform policy enforcement across all devices. In such a scenario cloud security can provide respite and must be considered as a component of the organization’s overall mobile strategy.

Build or Buy: While the above points are some of the key aspects to consider for Enterprise Mobility, one of the most fundamental decisions is whether to build or buy any mobile deployment. Some organizations see a perceived benefit in building their own application as it encompasses all the features they need, however the experience and insight that a specialist company brings in is far more beneficial. A specialist solution provider brings in domain expertise along with experience and insights that can help enterprises quickly achieve their set milestones and objectives.

Moreover established solutions providers are more tuned with the latest trends and new developments in the Enterprise Mobility field and can help organizations embrace change and adopt new technologies deftly. So finding an able and experienced Enterprise Mobility Partner who can plan a sound long term strategy for an enterprise’s mobility goals is crucial.

Enterprise Mobility is a new road that companies are treading and these are just some of the points for consideration amongst many others. As every company hits this arduous path they would need an able partner as navigator and that’s us. We @CloudIOPlatform would like to drive you to your Enterprise Mobility objectives and goals. You can rely on us for a smooth ride.

To know more about us visit us at cloudio.io or write to us at platform@cloudio.io

[1] https://www.forrester.com/Frank-E.-Gillett