5 Mobile Strategy Musts
By George Mashini, CEO, Catavolt
In today’s challenging business environment, crafting an effective and sustainable enterprise mobility strategy has become a tough endeavor. Miss something in the development stage and you’ll end up with dissatisfied internal users who can’t access the data they need, or worse — a security breach of sensitive company information.
As you create or update your enterprise mobility strategy, here are five key components every mobility strategy must address.
1) Consistency of the user experience: The one thing consistent about today’s enterprise mobile users is inconsistency of device preference. Despite platform debates, users all want an uncompromising experience—one that makes access to the data they need simple, elegant, and
capable of easily switching from smartphone to tablet to web browser.
With more than 100 million smartphone users in the U.S. and 90 million tablet users expected by 2014, bring your own device (BYOD) is a reality. To meet user demands, the best strategic approach as you execute your strategy is to make development of a seamless and adaptable user environment a high priority. That doesn’t mean building for the lowest common denominator among the devices, it means delivering a solid user experience that transfers seamlessly across platforms.
2) Data Aggregation: When it comes to mining corporate databases and ERP systems, single-source applications aren’t enough. The best mobile solutions pull data from multiple systems and deliver real-time actionable information that enable users to add, delete and modify the data stream as needed. Sales reps, for example, may need bundled customer interaction data extracted from CRM software, product availability and shipping information from the ERP system, and billing information from the accounting system.
Creating a mobile application as a single source, real-time decision support tool can give a competitive advantage. An investment in the tools that support easy data aggregation can go a long way, so consider data relevancy, scalability and reliability as you build your mobile solutions.
3) Flexibility: Users demand sophisticated access to information, want to choose their device and are impatient with lengthy development efforts. With ease of downloading apps via the App Store or Google Play, users expect the same level of flexibility from their corporate IT developers. If they don’t get it, an increasing number will “go rogue,” bypassing IT in favor of convenience.
To remain effective, IT developers need a strategy that adapts to user needs while protecting corporate assets, stays ahead of mobility trends without exceeding IT resources and budget, and finds ways to deliver key solutions faster than traditional multi-year developments.
4) Security: In addition to protecting the device itself and guarding against cyber-attacks, IT must also protect against the smartphone users who inadvertently and regularly violate corporate security policy. For the IT executive, maintaining data security in the world of BYOD devices that live outside the protection of corporate firewalls requires planning and forethought.
Building security considerations into your mobile strategy should happen at the beginning of development efforts, not at the end. Many security experts advise a two-part approach as core to the protection of corporate assets: dramatically limit the data stored on the mobile device and encrypt the data flow between back-end systems and the mobile device. A key challenge is balancing the need for security with the demands of users who rebel against security protocols that limit data access.
5) Maximization of the Device: What is often missed is ensuring the application takes full advantage of the mobile device. Do your mobile apps, for example, change perspective when the user rotates their smartphone or tablet or exploit the voice recognition and search capabilities? If not, you’ve just taken a giant step backward in user experience.
Enterprise mobile application development must exceed the core functionality and lowest common denominator approach of mobility strategies. To maintain the highest user satisfaction, solutions must be designed to maximize today’s mobile device platforms and built in a way that makes it easy to upgrade as new mobile functionality comes online.
Obviously a comprehensive mobility strategy needs to go beyond these five elements, but you must start here. By expanding your strategic approach, you move from an acceptable strategy to one that delivers corporate value and consistent user satisfaction.