The mobility trend has been on the headlines here and there for about a decade. Mobile phones, plugs, tablets, and other small devices redesign many activities in everyday life: smartwatches solve murders while phones serve as mini-computers for buying/selling/communicating/meeting/etc. The convenience and universal adaptation of mobile devices for routine operations change the way corporations see and adopt the trend.
Since people got so used to mobile devices in general, why not allow them to stay mobile at work, right? This concept is called Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD); it allows and encourages employees to use their personal devices for enterprise-related activities. Or why not provide easier access to company data through an internal app as a part of mobile digital strategy innovation? Or maybe you need to increase your company security? Then an MFA based on an employee’s mobile device is the best way to guarantee it.
All the steps to introduce, implement, and even exploit mobile devices at the workplace are the elements of an enterprise mobility strategy. According to McKinsey’s research, mobility is seeing an astonishing rise these days among enterprise executives. For instance, most of the CIOs are planning to introduce an app to their daily operations; 56% report that their employees are promoting mobility through BYOD, while 77% are already strategizing to allow so. Being an enterprise mobile app development company, we have also seen a growing interest in enterprise mobility solutions over the past ten years, and the demand increases every half a year.
But let’s talk business: Why is mobility such a trend? What moguls see in going mobile that made them spend $2.823 million on this initiative in 2020? What is in it for you, and how to do it right?
Why and how enterprise mobility plan changes a business
The simplest answer to the question “why use enterprise mobility applications” is convenience. The ability to carry on a device with instant access to all company data is handy for employees at a warehouse (those who are in need of database verification before goods shipment) or workers in a bank (who handle multiple customer requests at a time). People working in the field, such as sales or site managers, can also boost their productivity if all graphs, numbers, and permissions can be submitted and approved in a mobile application.
Besides the primary reason why mobility for business is the right direction, here are a couple of more benefits to consider:
- fast and efficient communication
- shorter time for data access
- improved travel/on-site flexibility
- increased productivity
- reduced tech overload
- comfortable content/account management
- paperless strategy
- augmented security
The “how” component of this double-fold question is simple. Many enterprises understand that the future of enterprise applications is mobility. So, not to fall behind, they implement the concept and new processes into the routine operations. Some businesses have a better way to adapt to the new reality (IT), while others still need time to make the adjustments (agriculture, for example). However, companies in every industry today are aiming to become 100% mobile in their daily operations and long-term strategies. Thus, to prove that the enterprise mobility service offerings do gain popularity and to demonstrate how they do so, let’s look at a couple of real-life examples:
- Reserved is a European clothes brand, which has recently supplied all of its in-store consultants with mobile phones. Now whenever a customer has a question about a product, store-workers simply click on a mobile phone to check the sizes, colors, and availability instead of sending a customer to the information register.
- The world-famous low-cost airline Ryanair introduced tablets to the company’s pilots. This step helped with improving in-flight accuracy and overall aircraft efficiency. Now pilots, as well as crew members, don’t have to check the answers in a printed user manual; everything is available in a digital solution.
- Amazon, with its Amazon Web Service, can be considered the leader of mobility among enterprise organizations. It promotes secure managed online services while also using the same service to demonstrate why enterprise mobility is important and effective.
- Walgreens, Domino’s, Nike, and a large number of businesses have already turned to mobile applications to be just one tap away from their customers. Simple prescription filling, order placing, and shoe size verification can now be done directly from apps thereby bringing an enhanced comfort and improved user experience to a brand.
Enterprise mobile application development strategy done right
Before you dive into building an enterprise mobile strategy roadmap, there is an essential step – a definition of what you want to achieve and how. Without the careful assessment of such an investment, you risk developing a half-baked strategy that will lead to a half-functional (read non-functional) application followed by the loss of budget and time. So before you even begin thinking about the workplace mobility strategy, answer these questions:
- What is your business development strategy for the next 5-10 years?
- Why do you need an application? (to help customers, facilitate daily operations, improve in-team communication, etc.)
- Will the new enterprise mobility solutions work internally (team management app) or externally (CMS, patients care, etc.)? Are there access levels? Can they be clearly defined?
- Will the new app store customers’ data? (if yes, then read Data Privacy regulations)
- What are your weak points (bottlenecks)? How will they impact the development process?
We advise not to rush into the strategy planning. Take your time to answer these core questions to ensure that your strategy is a strong and winning one.
Step #1: Research
The research phase entails learning everything about your competition, industry trends, and market demands (if your enterprise mobility strategy includes end-users). By “everything,” we mean as much as you can. You probably know your main competition, so it should be easy to visit their websites, read their case studies, and learn about special applications they are using. This should give you a head-start in terms of further strategy development. Besides, you should also know how enterprise mobility works in the research phase, which means learning about investments and the timeline other companies have spent on their solutions.
A tip: remember that while looking at the competitor’s solutions, you can also make notes on their app features, logic, UX, and UI. Any element that you like or wish to have in your application needs to be defined appropriately in your research documents. The whole strategy development will depend on the collected data and your initial case evaluation.
Step #2: Goals definition and adjustment
By now, we have helped you define enterprise mobility; you have considered what you want to achieve and compared your wishes against the competitors’ solutions. It is high time you plan the right strategy, which begins with goals definition. Here is a list of tips to help you find and adjust the goals to your business:
- Who will be the app user: employees, end-users, or both?
- How soon do the users need the application?
- How big is your budget for new enterprise mobility solutions?
- Do you have a development team to start the project?
- What do you plan to achieve with the new app? How soon? (think about ROI)
These simple questions will help you identify the direction for your app development, the deadlines, and the expected profits over a defined period of time. Ensure that while setting up the goals, you do not indulge in wishful thinking. The goals must be ambitious yet real; otherwise, your strategy will fail.
Step #3: Decide on the mobility type
You know that there are two main OS types for mobile devices: Android (~73% shares) and iOS (26% shares). This means that first and foremost, you need to carefully consider which OS you are planning to use for your app. For instance, if you are developing an internal app and your company phones run on Android, there is no reason to develop an iOS app. However, for the end-customer enterprise mobile strategy roadmap, consider selecting both for greater coverage. Such OS-based applications are called native apps. They cost more than the second type (see below) but offer more features and better adaptation to the user’s device capabilities.
An alternative to native apps is mobile web apps. Being more affordable, these are frequently selected by the companies that already have a website or a regular web application. While they offer fewer capabilities and can be less convenient, they are a good start to work on your enterprise mobility strategy.
Here is a comparison of both types to help you choose a suitable option.
|Cost||More expensive as experts for iOS and Android are required
$50,000 – $360,000
|Less expensive due to singular knowledge required
$30,000 – $250,000
|Time||~ 9-12 months||~ 6-9 months|
|Network||can run offline||cannot run offline|
|Adaptability & personalization||full||limited|
|Complexity||high as specific skills are required for iOS and Android separately||low|
|Long-term strategy||regular updates and maintenance are needed due to rapid tech development||can remain in the original build for a long time as newer tech does not affect them|
You might have heard that there are also hybrid and cross-platform applications. But as a software development company in Singapore, we do not advise to consider these options. Both of these app types have performance issues (e.g. too many users and the app crashes). Moreover, their maintenance and further scaling are also a headache, which is not the best choice for the first enterprise application.
Step #4: Carefully plan your security
Security of your future application is a must-have step for planning enterprise mobility solutions. You need to ensure that the new app will protect the following:
- end-user data (logins, passwords, emails, bank info, etc.)
- employee data (the same)
- company sensitive data
You will have to implement a wide range of security measures, such as SSO, secured APIs, role-based access, data encryption and tokenization, regular security scans, regression tests, etc. All of these steps need to become a standard practice in your maintenance schedule, so you need to account for them in the enterprise mobile strategy roadmap. Make sure to get an expert in app security as a consultant during the strategy planning stage. Only in this way can you properly assess the time and budget required for the app security in future.
And a small professional tip on developing a long-lasting and efficient enterprise mobility plan – always remember to think a few steps ahead. It is true that you are working on resolving the current issue or problem, and you might need an app here and now, preferably, delivered last Monday. But, once you get your solution, there are some further steps to take. You will be working with the app, the tech around will be evolving, the user-base will grow, and according to the long-term vision, you have to grow and transform as well. Always develop a strategy with a change in mind (whether scaling or adapting to the changing market). Failure to accommodate for the continuous delivery frequently results in legacy apps that cause more trouble than good.
Does mobility equal digital transformation?
This is a critical point to remember: mobile applications are only a part of your overall digital strategy; they do not replace it and cannot solve all the problems at once. This is yet another brick in the wall of confidence for your business, but not the wall itself.
Digital transformation is the umbrella term for the adoption of digital technology with the idea of replacing and/or enhancing manual labor with more efficient digital processes. Mobility is only a part of the overall digital transformation strategy, even though success in mobility is about 60% of a successful transformation.
Mobility is the driving force of digital transformation in a big enterprise. It is the most vivid and comprehensive way to begin a seamless change in your organization. With a wide range of benefits, mobility principles can introduce your employees to the concept of change and smoothly transform your business without major cuts and rebels. If you want to improve your customer experience, facilitate daily operations, and increase business productivity throughout departments, go mobile, and do it now. The latest enterprise mobility trends have already been called the new normal. So not to fall behind the competition, it is the best time to get down to building your next successful enterprise mobility strategy.