Exposing Mobile Value

By Nick Borth, Product Manager, Motion, Infor — March 11, 2013

Today’s CIO faces a major challenge when it comes to integrating mobile applications and services into the enterprise environment. Whereas mobility is not a new concept in the IT department, many forward-thinking CIOs are beginning to realize that this pillar of modern technology is only starting to meet its project potential throughout the business.

 
The origin of modern mobility can be traced back to the introduction of connected devices in the early part of the last decade. Enterprises were fortunate to have a provider such as BlackBerry that could handle any software implication—such as providing a vertical “stack” to extend corporate email and secure devices as they left the “four walls” of the business.
 
New Mobile Issues
As smart devices continued to evolve, CIOs have turned their attention towards more critical issues such as security, fragmentation and cost-versus-savings ratios. This process has traditionally been time consuming and, to date, has had little impact or relation to core business systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) or human capital management (HCM). Until now, this line of thinking has served as standard practice.
 
As businesses gain a better understanding of the mobile phenomenon, they can begin to tackle the next level of mobile granularity — business applications.
 
To this point, most mobile-enabled enterprises have employed one of two tactics for driving mobile apps into the line of business:
  1. Licensing packaged applications that are delivered by software vendors, with stable integration, but little ability to customize
  2. Building customizable applications, therefore requiring custom integration, to align to the specific business needs or processes
Those that opt for the first strategy do so because they often face issues related to resourcing a full-mobility project. Further, this group may not have a complete understanding of the current mobility needs within the business. Thus, making the selection of an easy-to-deploy, integrated solution is considered a quick win for them.
 
Those who have invested in the second option are likely to have a more mature understanding of the business user’s requirements. Yet, they can become stuck with supporting custom integration(s) and a potentially complicated security scenario. This makes for a disruptive environment and added stability risk.
 
Mobile Business Value
As mobility continues to sprawl into the enterprise, it is clear that both options have merit, but come with challenges, and that the optimal result lies somewhere in the middle. Mobility should not disrupt the IT ecosystem within a business. Rather it should expose the existing key value within and add a mobile uniqueness that drives new and modern efficiencies.
 
Companies should look for mobile solutions that build upon and standardize all interfaces to allow for for easier app developments. This will allow them to leverage back-end services regardless of size or budget. This is the essence that empowers a community of developers to carry forward and bring mobility to life.
 
Once the business has a better understanding of enterprise mobility, IT will want the ability to easily deploy apps that have an out-of-the-box type of integration functionality and support a myriad of industry “best” security protocols. Companies should look for solution partners that are able to deliver high-quality apps and use them as a reference point for assessing their mobile enablement tools and platforms.
 
The modern CIO is presiding over an exciting time of transformation in which they are able to deliver new services to their organization. Mobile apps can leverage specific ERP, CRM and HCM features that are used today, and extend them in way that brings value to the enterprise and make sense for the end user.

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