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Enterprise Mobilization: Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Mobile Apps

Enterprise mobility has myriad benefits for organizations who are supporting and fostering an environment for employees to work quicker, more efficiently, and literally, providing access in the palm of their hands. When opting to mobilize, there are few solutions, and determining the best option is key to creating a successful mobilized organization. MobileApps.jpg

These options include off-the-shelf apps, custom mobile solutions, and a hybrid option using a combination of both. To determine which option is best, it’s key to understand what they mean and how they can support an enterprise in terms of the priorities within the initiative.

Off-the-shelf apps refer to premade solutions that are readily available, can satisfy the needs of most users, and typically offer a lower (acquisition) cost (although that is not always the case). Developers are publishing more and more off-the-shelf mobile apps for business users, while SAP, and others are expanding enterprise app stores.

Custom Mobile Solutions are “purpose built” and deployed for a multitude of applications, they are often more holistic and robust, and can rely on mobile middleware and other technologies to extend backend databases to mobile apps and users. Custom mobile solutions are built for specific purposes, with features, functionality, UI (user interface), and other aspects tailored to the organization’s objectives and to meet users’ needs.

Hybrid solutions encompass some prebuilt apps and customization for certain aspects of the solution.

To evaluate and compare the options, mobile enterprise applications can be placed into five broad categories based on purpose, complexity, and the commonality of processes, types of data, and systems are common or unique across the enterprises or organizations. Determining the category where an initiative fits, it will be easier to identify the option that will be the best solution.

Below are the five categories showing level of importance and time, investment, and potential upside. Categories for Evaluating Solutions.png

Another important consideration is strategic intent, which addresses the question, “To what extent does the organization intend to leverage the application for competitive advantage?”

For more details about evaluating the categories of enterprise mobile applications and comparing off-the-shelf apps and custom mobile solutions, the Mobilizing the Enterprise with Off-the-Shelf Apps and Custom Mobile Solutions whitepaper provides a helpful overview and comprehensive evaluation. Also, please see more information about how the SAP Services organization supports enterprise mobility solutions here.

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