After spending quite a bit of time conceptualizing, developing and even marketing enterprise mobile applications, I have come across set of arguments which act as a road block for organizations to opening their minds, business and budgets to embrace enterprise mobility. Few of them are valid concerns, however most of them are simply not-able-to-accept-change-jitters !
I have listed down few concerns that I have personally come across interacting with lot of our customers, along with my explanation of why it is really not a concern ! .
1. Return of Investment: Enterprise mobility needs an investment, there is no denying that. With Cloud computing and BYOD policies, investment in enterprise mobility can be brought down significantly. Still, if a business does not see any return from the investment, however small it may be, be rest assured that your IT budget will not be approved.
Exposition: I will not discuss here commonly known benefits of mobility like increased productivity, less paperwork, etc..Benefits of enterprise mobility may seem to be intangible. However, if you take a deep dive into each, you will be surprised to know what enterprise mobility can offer . Lets take one key benefit of enterprise mobility, Productivity.
Example: Consider a workforce in the warehouse responsible for processing the deliveries. They would note down the packing numbers which are being processed and move back to their office location to perform goods issue in the system. Lets say average time required for this task is 5 minutes ( 96 deliveries in a day ). With a mobile solution in their hand, same task can be completed in less than a minute ( approximately 480 deliveries a day ). In terms of FTE, task of 5 FTEs can be carried out by 1 FTE !!! This example is far from realistic, but you can get the flavor of it.
Another dimension to looking at benefits of mobility is the ‘Return of existing investment’. As an organization, customers might have invested significant millions to bring it to the state it is in today. By adding enterprise mobility on top of it, organizations can ensure that their workforce have the right information, at the right time, at the right place, in the right context.
2. Ageing Workforce: There is a wide spread perception that technology is only for the newer generation. Organizations that are suffering from ageing workforce issue are reluctant to embrace mobility with a fear that their key users will not adapt well to it.
Exposition: Enterprise mobility needs a top down approach. It is not something that will be accepted easily, mainly due to not-able-to-accept-change-jitters. With little education and training, even ageing workforce will accept the technology leap. It is making their life easy after all.
3. What needs to be mobile: This is the concern for almost all the customers that I interact with. These customers have accepted the fact that going ahead, mobility is the way. Then the next question for them is, what processes from my business should be available on mobile ?
Exposition: Enterprise mobility is a trend which most business did not see it coming, hence were not prepared for it. Each customer has its own preferred vendor, essentially an SAP partner, who are aware of their business inside out. SAP Partners, being the business as well as technology expert, for their customers are the key people to carry out the analysis and suggest mobile application portfolio which will be best suited for the business.
4. Data security: Probably the least of a concern, at least from the way I see it. As business data will be going outside the firewall of organization, security is going be a concern. Also, as data is being cached locally on the device, there is always a concern of device falling into wrong hands.
Exposition: The reason I say it as being of a least concern is, we have various tools and technologies, like SAP Afaria, available to take care of device management and data security. These have been tried and tested and only requires you to make your customer aware of existence of such tools.
By no means I would say this is a comprehensive list. There are lot of other concerns like device support, managing additional resources and change management requirements, increased burden on existing infrastructure, application and framework licensing. The list is endless. However, I believe, as a customer, if you manage to convince yourself on the points listed here, minor concerns will be only more of operational issues and can be addressed with much ease.