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The Enterprise Mobility Minute #1: Context unravels confusion

Great advances in mobile and related technologies are fundamentally changing the enterprise world – and introducing great confusion. Companies now face an overwhelming number of options for mobile devices, platforms, architectures, and development paradigms. And while mobile solutions are not new to most companies — as many have already implemented mobile solutions on top of their backend systems since many years – the majority of enterprises are still uncertain about the best way to proceed with enterprise mobility.


Why all the confusion? Not merely because of the large number of choices in mobile devices, mobile OSs, and development platforms. Business decision makers have had little difficulty selecting devices and apps in their personal lives. So why can’t they take the same decisions in the workplace for their companies?


One factor is the widespread adoption of consumer mobility solutions – a phenomenon that has radically changed expectations. Business users now demand a consumer-like user experience. Business leaders expect rapid time-to-value and low total cost of ownership. As a result, CIOs and their IT teams are hammered with urgent requests for mobile apps and need to effectively leveraging innovative technology, especially from the mobile consumer market – while quickly evaluating a dizzying array of offerings from mobility vendors.

Why is it so much harder to mobilize in the business world than in one’s personal life? The answer is one of context. 


In the consumer mobility world, we need only to consider the device, apps, and data plan. But when we try to mobilize our business, we need to consider a completely different – and complex – set of elements:


  • Enterprise Mobility Application Development Platform (MADP)
  • Enterprise Mobility Management platform (EMMP)
  • Mobile device strategy (OS, Form factors, company issued, BYOD or a mix)
  • Mobile apps to be rolled out, managed and secured (company developed, BYOA, etc.)
  • IT Infrastructure (On premise, in Cloud, MaaS, etc.)
  • Organization Change management and User support


To make matters even more complicated, the business context must also be considered. Here are the primary business considerations:


     1.  The company’s overall business strategy and plan 

Many business leaders understand that enterprise mobility is and should be more than rolling out an app. Every IT solution – and mobile solutions in particular – should support the timely realization of the overall business plan. However, many companies still struggle trying to answer the most fundamental question: How can I convert my business plan into a business mobility roadmap, which will help guide the company toward effectiveness and growth?


     2. The business process and LoB

Another dimension to add to this complex equation is the business process and its meaning in a specific LoB within a specific industry.For example, mobilizing sales order or campaign management functionality in the utility industry is very different than in the automotive industry.

It takes more to mobilize a business process than simply going to an app store and downloading an app as we do in the consumer mobility space. Companies implementing the first wave of mobile business apps were often in for a shock. They discovered that there is a huge gap in terms of selection process, TCO, change management, and time-to-value between a consumer mobile app and even a small business app such as travel expense management. As a result, some companies put their mobility initiatives on hold or even cancelled them after their first mobility POC project.

     3. The speed of new technologies evolution, adoption and convergence

Mobility is the most rapidly adopted technology in modern history. For companies, it is not only mobile technology that must be considered; they must think about cloud computing, in-memory computing, social business, M2M and many other technologies. Those technologies are disruptive – and while they evolve quickly, they converge even faster. While the rapid convergence of many technologies is a great value multiplier, it adds a whole new layer of confusion and decision delay for companies. However, the history of such disruptive technologies has taught us that although those technologies are unstable and seem risky at the beginning, they have provided opportunity for many early adopters to grow or even define completely new businesses.

     4. The context of CIOs and IT organizations

CIOs are under pressure to drive innovation in their companies. But turning innovation into enterprise-class business solutions is not an easy task. To succeed, CIOs and their IT departments need to be more agile in the way they introduce and manage new technologies. Over the last few years, enterprise mobility has been heavily dominated by ideas coming from consumer mobility. To put these ideas in context of the enterprise, business and IT leaders need to understand the dimensions, risks, and challenges – particularly when it comes to opening gates that might expose confidential information.

The sad reality is business information piracy is exponentially increasing and becoming a real threat to people, companies and even whole nations. The bottom line?  IT organizations must be able to develop, integrate, manage, support and secure every mobile business app in their organization while supporting and complying with a complex set of business roles.

This article sets the stage for a series of articles, in which we’ll help guide you through the decisions you need to make to leverage mobile and other related technologies that will help your business flourish.

Dr. Ahmed El Adl

Vice President, Global Mobile Solutions Services | SAP


Connect with me

Twitter @aeladl


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Learn more about SAP Mobility Services here.

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