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Author's profile photo Ian Thain

State of the Mobile Union

So far this year, I have been on a few travels and presented to many hundreds of people interested in Mobile in the Enterprise and what SAP are doing to make the development and deployment of Enterprise Mobile Apps easier.

On one trip to Slovenia I became my alter-ego of the Mobile President to address the 380+ strong attendees on the “State of The Mobile Union” in the building that Slovenia built, when they became the head of the EU for a while. I covered a number of subjects during the 40 minutes presentation which you may find interesting and the whole presentation was filmed by SAP Slovenia and is available for your viewing pleasure at

During trips like the one I have mentioned above, I usually get face time with Journalists and local Analysts. So what I thought I would do is to note down the top 10 of the typical questions I get asked and share them with you…

  1. Mobility seems to be the next big thing for Enterprises. Businesses are all about productivity and efficiency these days. How can mobility help or improve business in this case? Speeding up business processes, allowing the information worker, proactive rather than active. Presenting data in new ways to be consumed and collecting new forms of data.
  2. In your opinion, where or with what can mobility help the most? Streamlining data capture, business processes and customer interactions
  3. What are mobility’s week points? Can they be fixed? Mobility is complex, you need to invest in a platform – such as Mobile Device Management (MDM) & especially a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP). Also mobility is not a magic bullet for broken processes
  4. Which applications are more suited to become mobile? Why? Many.. an example would be – Customer facing, Field Service, Field Sales and Finance. Where data is needed anywhere at any time.
  5. Many Enterprises also see mobility as a security threat. How will they be able to keep data and information safe on mobile devices and channels? How will they manage security? Think about device management & security first, plan on implementing a MDM platform right from the very start. Make sure Local and Remote security is implemented. Apps should be written securely with platform specific API’s. Devices should be secure with passcodes longer than 4 characters.
  6. Where should companies start when implementing mobility solutions? What areas/applications do they mobilize most often? Plan first with the platforms I have mentioned earlier – MDM and MEAP. Appoint a Chief Mobility Office (CMoO) and implement a Mobility Innovation Council (MIC). Both of these together can identify and manage your Mobile Projects & Apps.
  7. Many IT departments don’t like to implement mobility applications as it has been proven in practice that getting them to work on different mobile devices can be quite a challenge. How do you get around that? Again they should be implementing a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform. The MEAP give a future proof way of protecting against new Mobile OS’ and New data sources. The MEAP also controls how the data is bi-directionally synchronised and stored in the apps.
  8. Yet still most users demand consumerisation. How do you make the workplace and applications work for everybody? This is what your MIC will do… Understand your users and the jobs they do… Life a day in their work life. Create an Application Definition Statement. Understand your Mobile OS’ and create a great UX Design. The MIC will also be identifying those applications needed.
  9. It seems that the key to success in the mobile world is in the user experience. If you get it right, you can go big. What aspects must be covered by the developer to provide users with great experience and what do users expect from mobile apps? Innovate and Enhance over existing desk bound apps. Build for Amazing Beautiful and Compelling Apps, great UX like consumer apps, this is what your users/prosumers will expect & demand. Build for Availability, Simplicity and Efficiency. Secure off line access is a must, also think about new Mobile Analytics capabilites.
  10. Who should develop business mobile apps? Can businesses do it themselves? Definitely the companies themselves should be building the apps with the power of the MEAP and the fact that the business has the business experience.

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