Empowering Your Enterprise with the Right Mobile Apps 01 Empowering Your Enterprise with the Right Mobile Apps

 

The Apps available to users are at the core of the enterprise mobility program, and determine its effectiveness. There are a number of factors that need to be considered to define what the Apps should do, and how to build or buy them. Let us see what goes into the selection of Apps for the enterprise.

Which workflows need to be enabled on mobile devices?

Enterprise systems such as CRM, HRMS and ERP are complex and cover a large number of processes and workflows. Define the processes, workflows, reports and dashboards that need to be provided to your users on mobile and assess how to effectively represent them on the smaller screens.

Which mobile platforms do you need the Apps for?

It is important to consider the devices your end users have in case of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or your enterprise has bought for the users. It may be ideal to support all possible platforms but you need to consider the devices on which they will be used, and the capability of your IT team to support and integrate them with your existing infrastructure.

Build vs Buy?

  1. There are a number of out-of-the-box Apps available today that are mapped to standard business workflows across functions. They may be industry specific, or built around applications such as CRM, Project Management etc. Some of these offer customization and integration with your existing systems. Such ready Apps are typically more cost effective than having custom ones built for you.
  2. For processes that are very specific to your needs or workflows that are extensions of your Line of Business (LOB) apps, you may need to build custom Apps.

So you’ve decided to build…

  1. When it comes to building mobile Apps, usability should be at the center of your focus, as it directly influences the adoption by end users.
  2. Using the right toolkit and cross platform solutions and leveraging their capabilities can reduce your cost of development and maintenance substantially
  3. Deciding between Native or cross platform or Progressive Web
    • Native Apps are developed for a particular platform, and offer an excellent user experience. While it is easier to find skilled developers for native apps, as you need to maintain separate code bases for the different platforms, it becomes a maintenance challenge.
    • If you develop using a cross-platform technology, the App works across all platforms and there is a single codebase. However, the cross platform development tools are not matured yet, so the user experience offered may not be the best across all platforms and it can be a challenge to find skilled resources.
    • Progressive Web apps use modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience. As the user progressively builds a relationship with the app over time, it becomes more effectively. There are many benefits like fast loading even on slow networks, easy access through icon on the home screen, responsive design, security, interactivity through push notifications and finally ease of sharing the App through an URL without requiring to go to App Store.
  4.  Using standard protocols and building reusable services and integration with existing systems and infrastructure is important. For example, authentication is a standard process in an organization and services written once can be used across the Apps.
    APIs for Mobile Apps should be developed to inherit IRM and Access Management that already exists. APIs should not require implementation for any business logic, validations, access permissions etc.  It is better to leverage a solution that automatically inherits role-based access and business logic.
  5. Thinking Mobile: The design philosophy should be to keep it simple and limited, creating manageable apps with specific functionalities that work well. As we are building a mobile App and not a web App, we need to
      • Identify the right workflows
      • Plan for the right amount of information that can be displayed on small screens
      • User friendly UI components and messages
      • Focus group testing before mass roll outs
  6. Evangelizing and mandating usage of the Apps within the enterprise: Internal promotion of Apps by Management, communication and training are also important.
  7. Security and Mobile Device Management: You must deploy a Mobile Device Management solution that helps manage security policies on devices and secures your corporate data, with a facility to ‘remote wipe’ Apps and data if necessary. Along with MDM, you require Mobile Apps Management, which will give you an Enterprise App store to manage your private Apps, their upgrades and distribution to the right set of devices.

To ensure that enterprise Apps will be adopted by users and will further enhance their work objectives, the selection of workflows, platforms, technologies and a mobile device management system are all key aspects.