First, your mobile employees who transport goods and conduct site visits got the technology they needed, tracking locations and scanning barcodes with purpose-built devices and single-function apps. Then your customers downloaded your friendly, sociable app onto their phones to transact and interact with you.
Now all your employees want to use their Apple and Android devices at work, and you’ve got that endorphin rush that comes with picturing how an IT intervention can improve customer service, boost productivity and take some cost out of operations.
So it’s time to add a mobility strategy to your IT roadmap if you haven’t already. My guess is, you haven’t.
Around 80 percent of companies surveyed two years ago said they intended to support two or more mobile operating systems for tablets and phones. But from what I can see, most companies who have adopted BYOD are doing so for the basics like email and calendaring.
The big gains, however, can be had by giving your back-end legacy systems a mobile interface, allowing the right person to access and update your datasets. When a customer-facing employee can access your CRM, or someone in supply-chain can access your ERP, you’ve got a refined process. Give me access to both, and I can close the sale during the nice-to-meet-you handshake.
The fun parts in creating a mobile strategy are pinpointing who can be given the ability they should’ve had all along, and how you can re-engineer that process to save time and money.
The tough part is deploying the right application. Do you look to off-the-shelf solutions or put your developers on it?
The big software players are pairing up to bring compelling solutions to market.
Apple and IBM rolled out their first batch of iPad and iPhone enterprise apps last December. Now they’ve released a new set, bringing the total to 22 apps targeted at healthcare, travel, energy, law, banking, and finance.
If you choose to develop your apps in-house, more power to you. I guarantee development will take longer than you plan. You’ll have an app designed around your unique requirements, but building it into your infrastructure to support real-time interactions with your ERP, CRM and other systems will take time.
With all the development of these single-function apps going on, we may even see some advancement in agile development methods. That’s a side note.
Now here’s the elephant in the room: security. With each employee bringing their own devices, an organization’s security becomes important to evaluate. Can you trust a mobile device unless you control all the data and apps on it? Is sensitive data kept on an app like Dropbox or Evernote? Is the device used in less-than-secure Wi-fi networks? Is its OS kept up-to-date?
This is a subject for another day. Adoption of cloud, mobility and big data technologies expose organizations to new levels of risk. In fact, the risk seems to be hindering adoption.
Do you have an enterprise mobility strategy? What are your unique opportunities and challenges?