Build your house on a strong foundation
Analogies over the years (and centuries) talk about building your house on a strong foundation. In mobility, we’re not talking about driving up a ‘mobile home’, and camping for a few days. We’re talking about putting the right foundation in place to build a house that will last – a “sustainable, responsive and flexible” mobile enterprise strategy. In the whitepaper ‘A Guide to Successfully Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications’, written for SAP by Chris Marsh of Yankee Group, outlines recommended principles that help enterprises lay the right foundation for any application mobilization program. The principles listed here are Chris’, and the comments are mine. For Chris’ thoughts on each topic, I encourage you to read the full whitepaper here.
1. Lay a mobile foundation.
Start with mobile in mind. I like the way a colleague talks about this. At a recent conference our Sybase Unwired Platform product marketing expert, Carolyn Fitton, asked “What do you get if you mobilize a broken process?” The answer is “a broken mobile process.” The truth of the matter is that mobility won’t fix broken processes – to be successful you need to start by rethinking the actual business process being mobilized.
2. Think agnostic.
The devices that are popular today may or may not be here tomorrow – things are constantly changing. If you look back over the year 2011, you’ll note that it’s been an incredible eventful year in mobility. With the loss of WebOS and Symbian, the rise of iPad, the quick uptake of Android, and the acquisition of Motorola by Google – we’re in for an interesting 2012. For this very reason, a long-term mobile apps strategy will require apps to be agnostic in many aspects. In the whitepaper Chris Marsh specifies that they need to be agnostic “of the different OSs supported, of the platform on which apps are developed and of the back-end systems they utilize.”
3. Focus on the UX.
In mobility, the user is king. You’ll see that the concept of user experience is a common thread throughout the entire whitepaper. Companies need to keep this is mind from day 1 – invest in UX so apps are easy to use and meet the standards that people are used to in their personal lives. You don’t have to make your app look like Angry Birds, but you do need to make it easy to use and navigate.
4. Build in security from the start.
When we talk about security, we are our own worst enemies. After all we’re only humans and we’re working with easy to lose devices (trust me I’ve lost a few). Unfortunately, we leave devices in airplanes or taxis (or both), and they can easily be stolen. Chris suggests you “carefully consider the degree and type of security required and make sure there are contingencies in place to handle a security breach if it occurs.”
5. Think about where social adds the most value.
Just as mobility is changing the enterprise, so is social networking. Chris discusses how social is increasingly used to “bind platforms together into a sticky proposition”. Consider how social features will add the best value to your mobile applications.
With a foundation that takes these 5 aspects into consideration, you’ll be in a good place to start. Please remember that you can listen to the webinar on November 1st from 1-2pm eastern. Chris Marsh and SAP’s senior VP of Mobility, Dan Mahowald, will also take live questions.