Putting Mobility To Work
By Andrew Borg
New mobile application models are leading to growing adoption rates in the enterprise.
Enterprise mobility is being transformed by the emergence of new models for mobile application software that are distinctly different from the models of the past.
These are no longer restricted to middleware-enabled bridges to back-end legacy application suites such as sales or service automation (SFA or CRM), or enterprise resource management (ERP). The emerging mobile software model seen in the new mobile app stores scrapes highly targeted information from wherever the data may be stored, be it behind the corporate firewall or across the Web.
These new lightweight applications are particularly adept at delivering specific information exactly where and when it is needed. Although mobile versions of many enterprise applications have been available for several years, until recently the adoption rate has lagged well below 40%.
New mobile application software models have recently arisen which have led to a far greater adoption rate. These new "off-the-shelf" applications, many of which are available from online app stores, serve to extract specific data from behind the organization's firewall or across the public Internet, and deliver it in a highly interactive and focused User Interface (UI), designed explicitly for mobile devices.
Mobile application early adoption enablers are the application technologies that Best-in-Class companies are using to enhance their business, but which have not reached majority adoption as yet. In Aberdeen's December 2009 study, "Enterprise Mobile Strategies 2010: More Mobility, Same Budget," enterprise application stores and mobile enterprise software emerged as early adoption enablers, indicating how Best-in-Class companies are taking steps to provide the necessary software tools to all of the mobile devices that they support.
Best-in-Class companies have begun to think of mobile devices as application-driven productivity machines. These organizations are making renewed efforts to deliver new mobile versions of core enterprise software, such as ERP and CRM, allowing all employees to access important data and business workflows regardless of their location.
Meanwhile, enterprise application stores were adopted by Best-in-Class companies almost three times more than by Laggards. This "app store" concept allows employees to use the same software delivery model that has been successful in driving mobile application usage and adoption among consumers. The enterprise application store provides access to all of the financial, analytical, operational, sales, and marketing solutions that mobile users need to be productive. The employee then assembles a personal application suite that fits his or her unique job requirements.
Best-in-Class companies understand that this is how the most popular consumer smartphones are being used, and are looking to capture a direct business benefit as a result: better-connected and better-informed employees who, consequently, are more productive.
Andrew Borg is Senior Research Analyst, Wireless & Mobility, with Aberdeen Group, Boston.