Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Former Member

The Enterprise Mobility Minute #5: Dear CIO: You Need More than an IT Mobility Strategy

Blog_gl.jpgDear CIO, Were you accused last year of not being innovative enough, because you didn’t deliver a lot of mobile apps in the speed of consumer mobility or didn’t immediately embrace BYOD? Well, get ready for 2013. You’ll be expected to keep pace with even more technological breakthroughs triggered by higher maturity and closer conversion of mobile, social, cloud, and in-memory computing.

The good news is that you CAN get out in front of expectations this year – if you shift your own mindset. Don’t think of yourself as just the CIO anymore. You’re now the Chief Innovation Officer, the activist who takes the risk and enables a culture of innovation across the company.


So how do you free yourself from the past and make that shift? You need to be the manager of innovation rather than being the manager of IT infrastructure. Focus on your customers rather than only on the employees. Rethink the ways you select, implement, roll out, and operate technologies across your organization. 

As discussed in Ralf Weppernig’s post last week and in my post “Got an Enterprise Mobility Strategy? Go Get a New One”, the typical approach to introducing mobile technologies into an organization starts with identifying the immediate needs and requirements of select business areas. This allows you to define the initial mobile strategy for the various business units and then roll it into the larger IT Mobile strategy, which usually addresses seven main pillars:

  1. Mobility Platform: Enterprise Mobility Application Development Platform (MADP)
  2. Mobility Architecture: Framework and guidelines for the architecture requirements from App to back-end integration
  3. Devices Strategy: Mobile device strategy (OS, form factors, company issued, BYOD or a mix)
  4. Apps Roadmap: Mobile apps to be implemented, rolled out, managed, and secured (prepackaged, custom developed, BYOA, etc.)
  5. Mobility Management: Enterprise Mobility Management platform (EMMP), strategy, usage guidelines, and security policies.
  6. Technology Infrastructure: Mobility Infrastructure (On premise, in Cloud, MaaS for platform only and/or Apps, etc.)
  7. Change Management: Organizational culture and process change management plans


To ensure the overall mobile strategy was implemented efficiently, and with less risk, a Mobility Center of Excellence (mCoE) utilizing expertise from inside and outside the company was often established. While this approach worked well in the past, breakthrough technologies are evolving and converging so fast that this is no longer enough to spur innovation. To understand why, let’s take a closer look at some mobile strategy pillars.

Enterprise Wide Mobility Platform: Last year, discussions about MADP as the backbone for all mobile apps (B2E, B2B, B2C, etc.) were focused on HTML5 versus native support and portability capabilities. These discussions consumed a lot of time and effort and left most CIO’s with long list of architectural and platform options, but without any concrete answers on future proof MADPs. While platform and architecture are still critical topics, the maturity of HTML5, native SDKs and rapid enhancements to mobile OSs are changing the focus. Socially enabled business and moving your back-end systems to In-Memory based architecture such as SAP HANA could fundamentally change the way you mobilize your organization. Required apps will no longer rely solely on your back-end systems for information and target users groups will expand beyond employees, which will add a lot of unknown factors.


Mobile Devices: If you were at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week or followed the coverage, you know now there is a revolution going on. Sooner than you can imagine, current smart phones will be a thing of the past. We may not even know what to call the new gadgets – they’re not phones anymore. We might go back to calling them Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), but with “smart” in front of it. You need to go beyond giving your employees a new smart phone and think about how you can leverage these innovative new devices to transform the way the company does business and even create new innovate products and services.

Mobility Security (EMM): Most of the vendors who offer EMM solutions today, such as SAP Afaria, have architected or expanded their solutions to fully support enterprise-issued and BYOD devices with different OSs (Andriod, iOS, Windows Phone/Surface, and BB), as well as connected machines and imbedded sensors. I personally believe that BYOD does not save a company money, nor does it increase the risk of exposing your business information because the systems to protect your information are already in place. However, supporting BYOD and the use of these new gadgets in different areas of your business can unleash a chain of innovation without compromising the security or the confidentiality of your business information and processes.

Mobile Technology Infrastructure: The maturity of Cloud and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) technology and offerings may provide huge relief as you have the options to outsource parts or even your whole mobility infrastructure, including the development, rollout, support and management of mobile apps. MaaS can also simplify your mobile infrastructure and make the platform discussion irrelevant to you, as it would become the responsibility of your technology and services providers. Obviously, this will affect not only your mobile infrastructure strategy, but your entire IT Mobility strategy. Service-level agreements with mobility services providers and vendors should guarantee the on-time and in-quality delivery of what your business users, customers, and partners expect from Mobile UX, funcationality, performance, support, and security.


It is obvious that enterprise mobility strategies will need to continue to evolve with the rapid pace of technology. Just last week SAP announced its most important breakthrough technology since the release of R/3, which is the entire Business Suite running on top of SAP HANA, our breakthrough in-memory platform. If you’re SAP customer, you know this fundamental change presents numerous opportunities. Moving Business Suite to SAP HANA will not only affect the backend systems, it will streamline the way IT implements and manages the enterprise software solutions, and the way your business users are able to consume them on any device in real time. The lines between mobility, social, cloud, and In-Memory are dissolving very fast and the technological and process interdependence will be greater. Keeping silo’d strategies and solutions will only result in missed opportunities and wasted resources.

To keep up, your IT mobility strategy needs to be a translation of the business strategies and be anintegral part of other IT strategies – such as business transformation driven new architecture for your back-end systems (e.g. moving to HANA) or your cloud strategy.

The bottom line is that the success of your mobility strategy will no longer be measured by how state-of-the-art or cost effective your mobile technology is. It will be measured on how much business transformation and innovation it unleashed inside your company, partners ecosystem as well as your customers. Before you upgrade your mobility strategy, I urge you to bring together your IT and business leadership team along with key vendors and entrepreneurs to provocatively challange the current status and brainstorm on the ways that innovative mixes of technologies can be utilized to transform your business.


Watch for our next Enterprise Mobility Minute Blog post on January 31.


Dr. Ahmed El Adl

Vice President, Global Mobile Solutions | SAP


Connect with me on Linkedin or on Twitter


Follow the entire series of the Enterprise Mobility Minute and join the conversation on Twitter

Learn more about SAP Mobility Services

Assigned Tags

      1 Comment
      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Stefan Funk
      Stefan Funk

      Hi Ahmed,

      Thank you very much for this great posting. Beside the ones you have already posted here on the community, this is by far the most comprehensive one about Mobile Enterprise.