With the enterprise mobility market size expected to reach the $218 billion mark by 2018, businesses all over the world are sparing no costs on enterprise mobility. Just look around at the number of employees using some type of mobile device other than their laptop to conduct business. Employees need rapid and easy access to information. As a result, organizations are looking to define company-wide mobile initiatives.
Enterprise mobility solutions can present a number of challenges – Mobile governance, or the Management of people, policy, and process issues. At times it can seem like a minefield, but enterprises can quickly identify these challenges and overcome them in order to deploy an innovative enterprise mobility strategy. Companies need to bring all stakeholders into the fold to create truly productive and effective Enterprise Mobility. Here are the key challenges that organizations face as they define their Mobility strategy.
Complex Mobility ecosystem
The mobility ecosystem consists of many different constituencies, including mobile operators, device OEMs, operating system suppliers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and accessory vendors. To set up a mobility infrastructure and deploy and support mobile devices, IT needs to develop processes for working with each constituency. Today enterprises have no one single point of contact that can handle all these requirements.
Security is generally the biggest concern for businesses when it comes to deploying an enterprise mobility solution. While the proliferation of the BYOD trend has brought many benefits for businesses from cost savings to productivity gains, for IT departments it has meant a security and compliance headache. Because mobile devices are easily lost or stolen, data on those devices is vulnerable. Apart from careful user behavior – data storage on the mobile device should be limited and centrally organized.
This is where enterprise mobility management solutions come in – harnessing desktop and app virtualization can ensure all business information is where it should be – in the data centre – accessed by the people that need to access it, and not stored on an endpoint device that could get misplaced or stolen. With many systems, security policies can be centrally managed and enforced.
Regardless of the software and policy in place, any mobility strategy needs to be built on a solid network. A successful enterprise mobility infrastructure, must be underpinned by a reliable and robust network infrastructure. So, C-level executives need to consider which network design best suits both their current and future mobility requirements, particularly as technology capabilities are continually evolving. The IT team needs to monitor real-time network bandwidth consumption, prioritize network traffic and reconfigure bandwidth (traffic shaping) if necessary.
Providing Real-time Data access
To be productive and make informed decisions, the mobile workforce needs full access to corporate data in real-time. It is only through live data access from mobile devices that you’ll really be able to remain effective & efficient as a business. The main challenge is providing mobile employees with the access they need in a way that doesn’t put the organization at risk. Enterprises must enable users to easily share data inside and outside the business with secure file sharing that’s integrated with backup.
Enterprise Mobile Apps Development & Testing
Apps are a crucial part of any enterprise mobility strategy, but implementing an effective procedure for designing them can be tricky. Getting the right applications in place for evolving the right mobility strategy is the key to success. But today’s IT departments are struggling to keep pace with the demands of their business to introduce mobile applications. In today’s BYOD world, one of the major hurdles to mobility is around multi-platform mobile app development and testing. Hence mobile application development backlogs continue to grow, impacting employee productivity, customer service and competiveness while key business initiatives continue to be delayed or abandoned altogether.
The reason – shortage of skilled resources! A recent DZone survey revealed that the biggest pain points for mobile app development are building native apps for multiple platforms (50%), testing efficiently (53%) and lack of skilled mobile developers (40%). Developers & QA must establish governance and standards so there are consistent rules for mobile app development and usage across the organization. With a set of standards, enterprises can more consistently deliver secure apps and measure app performance.
Legacy Back-End System Integration
Legacy back-end systems do a great job managing your business processes and keep operations running smoothly. Mobilizing legacy applications and getting them to co-exist with mobile apps is a challenge, with 37 percent of businesses believing that legacy systems unfit for mobile devices are a barrier to mobility initiatives. This is where application refactoring, the process of improving software coding without altering its intended functions, comes into the picture.
Finding the Right Mobile Devices
If mobile devices do not support the current and in-the-works apps or if they are not easy to use, employee dissatisfaction can lead to decreased productivity and push your organization’s move toward enterprise mobility on a downward spiral. Also, organizations should put in place policies for swift replacement of lost/stolen/broken devices and ensuring the replacement devices have all the necessary apps installed.
Keep an eye on the future. While choosing the right device, take into account the evolution of technology and business demands in the enterprise mobility industry over the coming years.
Mobile Device Ownership
Is it going to be corporate liable (CL) or individual liable (IL)? For a CL device, the enterprise is responsible for the device contract with the cellular carriers for voice and data services, the acquisition of the device and monthly fees. For an IL device, the device user is responsible for the contract with the cellular carriers for voice and data services, the acquisition of the device and the monthly fees up to a specific amount set by company reimbursement policies. Whichever ownership strategy an organization chooses will influence other business processes related to your mobile strategy such as how to handle security, device management, expense management, usage policies, device repair and support.
The IT managers face significant deployment and operational challenges when they consider transitioning to a mobile enterprise.
- Identifying the business challenges for different types of users, e.g. top management, sales or field executives and prioritizing their requirements
- Building new applications or integrating with the existing ones
- Capability of enterprise mobility initiative
- Infrastructure setup & Access to all-time Internet service
One challenge arising from creating a ‘remote’ workforce is that they will now be more remote from central command, requiring new provisions for IT support. Service failures can kill a project’s return on investment. As your organization embraces mobility, IT support will be under the scanner to avoid costly downtime as employees will access business apps after hours, on weekends and even while on a vacation. The availability of IT support for real-time monitoring and incorporating effective troubleshooting procedures is indispensable.
The BYOD trend and the freedom to work from anywhere, brings numerous challenges for managing IT support, mobile devices and providing remote assistant to workers where needed due to multiple locations. To address this problem, IT managers require an easy-to-use, streamlined system that enables them to manage multiple users, across multiple locations, all simultaneously. Companies need to decide how much expertise they should possess in-house. With a new technology, knowledgeable people are nearly impossible to find and can be very expensive. Outsourcing some or all of these service challenges can be much more cost-effective.
Keeping it up and running
Once you’ve got your application up and running, the ongoing process of running it will throw up additional problems. Poor performance and speed are deal-breakers for a company when it comes to their enterprise apps. For companies, integration with back-end systems will be critical to delivering on employees’ expectations around relevant in-app content and functionality, as well as performance. Developers will require access to business assets to develop high quality applications for end-users.
With the disappearance of the business / consumer divide in terms of adoption of technologies, companies are increasingly forced to revamp their business processes, in order to realize the potential benefits of mobiles. These new business processes are centered on the concept of mobility, which involve technologies such as cloud and analytics, and use context-driven and location-aware data to influence the way companies function.
Enterprise Mobility isn’t just a Technical challenge, but a cultural one also. Positive change needs to be driven from the top, taking into account factors such as ease-of-use and mitigation against security threats such as privacy risks associated with malware or intellectual property, to ultimately deliver an enhanced end-to-end mobile experience.
The speed of change within mobile technologies, combined with multiplicity of platforms and releases, has stretched the resources of companies. Mobility today offers newer business streams, but managing mobile implementation has become a much more complex affair. Companies need to look beyond the models they have been using to manage their IT and look for mobility-specific business models such as on-demand provisioning, pay-per-use pricing, and the ‘free+premium’ model for app usage.
Ensuring constant Compliance
To ensure organizations are not in violation of any state or federal regulations, IT admins must secure their data storage and processing. Personally identifiable information (PII), which includes passwords, addresses, Social Security numbers and more, is part of a lot of compliance regulations. Admins can mitigate this problem by requiring passwords, keeping patches up to date, and opening the lines of communication between IT and compliance officers and internal auditors.
Human Resource Management
The move to a more mobile, and dispersed, workplace is also resulting in changes to Resource Management. Pro-active resources can be highly effective working remotely without the influence of workmates or oversight of bosses in the same location. Others cannot, some even find it difficult to start and complete projects without the social environment of the co-located workplace. Managers evaluating current and prospective employees must take these changes into account as they assign employees to their evolving mobile environments, attempting to match traits to workplace to maximize each employee’s potential.
The employees & customers are increasingly demanding a certain level of enterprise mobility and it is important that the company facilitates this. Gen X has already pushed the level of technological sophistication in the workplace far beyond their predecessors; now Gen Y brings new preferred ways of working, including modern apps and a consumer-style, self-service IT experience.
BYOD is not just devices, apps and finance management. To be successful, it requires policies and strategies. In turn, the success of these comes down to Expectation Management. According to recent reports, 45 percent of IT departments currently fail business expectations when it comes to enterprise applications. Expectation Management is unfortunately usually overlooked until a tsunami of dissatisfaction hits, with a ripple effect of reduced productivity. The “flipside” is that employees must understand usage expectations, such as what apps are blacklisted and the guidelines for contingencies such as a partial and full device wipe.
The main problem doesn’t lie in Technology, but in personnel and skills. The main challenge of enterprise mobility, as with most areas of IT, is finding the right skills. Enterprise mobility means all sorts of different technologies are being integrated into existing networks and must work seamlessly and securely. This means we need professionals that can work with all manner of technologies, solving difficult problems often by repurposing existing systems, people who understand the available technologies and how to integrate them.
Training Users / User Adoption
Many CIOs are concerned, and rightly so, that they will undertake a mobile enterprise project, they will invest a lot of time and money, and then only a small percentage of the mobile workforce will actually use the applications. There are many factors that influence user adoption, including training and familiarity with the device, deploying the right mobile device for the environment, and user interface issues like screen and font sizes, colors, lighting, battery usage, data storage capabilities, etc. All of these issues must be considered before you make a large investment in enterprise mobility.
Keeping Up With Technology
The mobility market is moving so much quicker than the internet did. With this in mind, technology is evolving rapidly. Therefore IoT, wearable tech and native capabilities of mobile devices (tablets and mobiles) are ever increasing. There is some good news as there are lots of possibilities for enterprise. On the other hand, the bad news is understanding this complicated landscape with a small internal team is very difficult.
Mobile technology can no longer be ignored as a key component of how people go about their daily lives in the modern world, and every organization should be attempting to build an understanding of how to leverage it to improve their business. As the use of mobile devices in the enterprise continue to grow, companies can partner with mobility experts like Enterprise Mobile to supplement their internal resources with outside expertise.
Enterprise mobility should ideally be approached at the drawing board with a forward-thinking, well-educated and robust strategy that aligns with the fundamental goals of the entire business. Now that you are aware of the major challenges in your organization’s path toward enterprise mobility, go ahead, untangle them and enjoy the ride as your business motors ahead of your competitors on the highway to efficiency.