Best Practices for Building a Successful Enterprise Mobility Strategy

Towards the end of 2015, mobile traffic surpassed desktop for the first time. Since then, mobile devices have become an indispensable part of our lives. According to the Mobile Internet Statistics by Finder UK, in 2019, 79% of adults in the UK owned a smartphone. The report further states that, on average, Brits spend 2 hours and 34 minutes each day on their smartphones. 

Rapid advancements have taken place in mobile technology and network accessibility over the last decade, as a result of which, today’s mobile devices offer greater functionality and improved user experiences. The mobile app ecosystem on Apple App Store and Google Play Store has grown substantially, with all major global brands investing in mobile applications. 

Millennials and Generation Z, who consider mobile as the leading platform, will make the majority of our workforce and consumers by 2035, compelling CIOs to shift focus on defining their enterprise mobility roadmap. As per Mckinsey, enterprise mobility will fundamentally disrupt the IT landscape, with more than 77% of CIOs considering a mobile-first approach for their digital transformation strategy. 

What Is Enterprise Mobility?

The deployment of mobile solutions across an organization is called enterprise mobility. Enterprise mobility leverages the latest mobile technology to connect people, processes, and data to improve how the end-users interact with the products and services of an enterprise. As per a recent report from Transparency Market Research, the global enterprise mobility market is estimated to grow from $86.36 billion in 2014 to $510.39 billion by 2022. 

Steps to Building a Successful Enterprise Mobility Strategy

An enterprise mobility strategy is more about enabling a business to deliver new and innovative services in an agile manner and less about managing mobile devices. Since businesses’ long-term success hinges on developing cutting-edge mobility solutions, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you create an effective enterprise mobility strategy. Follow these enterprise mobility best practices to future-proof your business for the next few years. 

  1. Identify Your Enterprise Mobility OKRs

    Most enterprises commit the cardinal mistake of hastily implementing mobility plans without considering their desired business needs or goals. You should identify clear objectives on why your enterprise needs a comprehensive mobile strategy. A clear performance matrix needs to be defined to attribute and measure your enterprise mobility strategy’s success. Many things need consideration while building your enterprise mobility strategies, such as how your employees and end-users engage with your business and consume your core products and services. 
    Your enterprise mobility strategy should offer new engagement opportunities for your business and enable you to capitalise on those opportunities. There is a need to develop new applications or interfaces and process re-engineering or infrastructure upgrade to deliver the right experiences.  
     
  2. Right API Strategy

    Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) hold the key to back-end information systems in today’s enterprise mobility ecosystem. By leveraging APIs, front-end mobile applications can access back-end information systems for innovative uses. A mobile application architecture built around APIs means that the existing systems don’t need to be touched. Another advantage of APIs is that they open up enterprise resources for third-party developers, which means that resource-constrained companies don’t need to develop their apps. Instead, they can engage with external partners to build, market, and maintain mobile applications. 

    However, APIs could expose an enterprise network to cyber-attacks. Secure API management is a critical element of any enterprise mobility strategy. Since APIs build on well-understood techniques by leveraging the existing infrastructure, they are exploding in popularity. But it would be a mistake to assume that the same technologies used to secure the traditional browser-centric web would work for APIs as well. Although APIs share many of the same security threats as the world wide web, they are fundamentally different. They have an altogether unique risk profile that an enterprise needs to manage. 

    Data is at the heart of an enterprise mobility strategy. It is critical to understand what happens to your information while being shared across mobile devices through APIs. An enterprise should keep track of what information the users need on their mobile devices and provide them with secure access to that information in a seamless manner. 
     
  3. Mobility Security

    An enterprise needs to ensure that the right people have role-based access to the right information. Rather than just emphasising the device’s security, an enterprise must take a holistic view on mobile security,  as transactions happen between client and back-end servers through APIs. Without comprehensive security measures in place, different services could get exposed to threats such as SQL injections. You should thoroughly audit any third-party app before adding to check for any possible data leakages and other security loopholes. Perform a third-party Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) for any new major solution addition to your mobility ecosystem to ensure a cyber-resilient mobility landscape.
     
  4. Choosing the Right Enterprise Mobility Development Approach

    Enterprise mobility has a much broader scope than building just a traditional mobile application. Developing a mobile application for your enterprise has a few basic approaches. The first is to create a web app, which is essentially a website, accessible from any mobile device or web browser, any time, anywhere. The second is to develop a custom native mobile application for a specific mobile device. However, the user needs to download and install the native app on the phone before using it. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.

    Mobile Web Apps

    For most use cases, mobile web applications offer an ideal solution, as they are fast to build and easily accessible, irrespective of the device. However, mobile web apps lack in delivering great user experiences. While a web app addresses casual visitors’ needs, to engage the customers, employees, or partners, you need a native mobile app. Mobile web apps also need an internet connection, making them inaccessible for users in areas with poor internet connectivity.  

    Native Mobile Apps

    Native mobile applications offer tremendous opportunities for user engagement. These apps act as a central touchpoint for the customers, employees, or partners and ensure that they keep coming back. Native apps also support data processing and data storage when mobile devices operate in areas with low bandwidth. Native mobile applications easily integrate with APIs to consume information, and the users prefer using them over websites. 
    However, native apps don’t offer cross-platform compatibility as they are device or platform-specific, such as Android or iOS. Also, native apps need to be regularly updated. Furthermore, the app marketplace is a crowded one with alternative apps competing for the user’s attention. 

    Hybrid/Cross-Platform Apps

    Two other approaches include building a cross-platform app or a hybrid app. In recent years mobile app development frameworks such as Xamarin, Flutter, and React Native have emerged as powerful tools for building engaging hybrid or cross-platform mobile applications. Xamarin and Flutter app development, in particular, offer tremendous scope in rendering enterprise mobility in the coming years. Cross-platform apps have a common codebase and require much platform-specific code. Hybrid apps, built using popular web technologies such as JavaScript and HTML5, run within a native app container. Although these apps have a less upfront development cost, they fail to deliver a native-like app experience. 

    Enterprise Mobility
     
  5. Incremental Implementation Strategy

    Mobile users have grown substantially over time and expect weekly or daily updates to mobile apps. Short development cycles and frequent updates have become the new norm to support the growing number of mobile customers and disparate platforms. Enterprises need to adopt agile and DevOps methodologies to speed up the development and deployment of software. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, an enterprise needs to become more agile in listening and responding to customers’ needs to succeed. 

​​​​​ Breaking Down the Silos From Localized Management to Overall Governance

The most significant consideration for an organization while implementing a comprehensive enterprise mobility strategy is the overall management and governance. An inconsistent governance policy leads to a fragmented and siloed approach to mobility.

Information silos inside an enterprise are another problem area hampering mobility management. Modern enterprises have multiple systems such as HR systems to track mobility eligibility, IT asset management systems to track device usage, etc. In most enterprises, such systems operate in silos.  The ideal solution to this problem is ‘mobile orchestration,’ which means building a platform that can integrate information from IT silos provide a unified view. Mobile orchestration enables you to extend your existing APIs’ functionality, deliver new mobile user-specific features, and assist your technical teams in overall feature delivery. A comprehensive mobile orchestration plan provides optimal flexibility in role-based access and performing client-specific changes; enables a user experience-focused architecture, and encourages ship early and ship often.

It is crucial to develop a high-level enterprise view of mobility and governance policy to replace redundant and fragmented point solutions. To address enterprise mobility challenges, an organization needs to apply well-known lifecycle management disciplines to emerging technologies and business models. Businesses must rethink their enterprise mobility strategy to ensure that they deliver value, simplicity, and end-user experience on expected outcomes.

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