When it comes to mobile app development, considerations such as infrastructure, offline access, data synchronisation, authentication, security, logging, device type, etc. can all affect the cost of developing an enterprise mobile app. Depending on the sophistication of the app, specialist skill may be required. These can range from mobile app developers where the skillset could include combinations of iOS, Android, Windows, or HTML5 developers; to backend developers where skills can include ODBC, ABAP, Java, .NET, etc; to mobile middleware developers etc. Therefore, determining the right toolbox of skills and technologies and identifying opportunities to share resources amongst mobile apps requires a degree of categorisation of requirements. For this purpose, I typically start by placing a requirement into one of the following three categorising:

  • Business to Business (B2B)
  • Business to Employees (B2E)
  • Business to Consumer (B2C)

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In this post I look at the constructs of Process, People, and Technology relating to each category.


Business to Business

Overview:

These are typically requirements that result the exchange of goods, services or information with other businesses. An example can be a consumer goods or high tech business wanting to provide self-service capabilities to its redistributors through mobile channels.

Strategy Considerations:

A strategy for business to employee scenarios would typically comprise the following:

  • Processes:

Including but not limited to: supply chain management; customer relationship management; procurement.

  • People:

Should include representation from

    • CIO: The strategy owner and solution sponsor.
    • CoE:
      • Legal: Ensure that the organisation is not responsible for user error, for example when users accidentally enter the wrong SKU number.
      • ERP: Provide safe and secure access to enterprise data that has been profiled properly.
      • IT: Provision and support of mobile infrastructure.
      • Security: Enforce and verify security policies on top of the IT infrastructure.
      • Customer Support: Provide helpdesk support to customers using these channels. This is a particularly vital role and often overlooked.
      • Solution Representatives:
        • Business Owner: A representative from the business unit from whence [HJ(-J1] the requirement originated.
        • Functional Owner: A representative from the functional team responsible for maintaining the solution whose role is to ensure that the integrity of the underlying business process is preserved, and acts as liaison with the technical team.
        • Super UserRepresent the end user and provide feedback on opinions, usability, and reliability of the mobile solution.
  • Technology:
    • Enterprise app-store: Provides role based access to enterprise apps, both custom developed or available through public app-stores
    • Secure mobile infrastructure: Infrastructure that underpins the various mobile channels (e.g. reverse proxy, APN, Certificates, etc.)
    • Enterprise mobile development platform: A platform that consolidates multiple backbends, orchestrates data replication, centralises logging and security policies, and supports multiple device OS types.


Business to Employee

Overview:

These are typically requirements that involve the participation of employees with business processes over a mobile device. The indented user group in this category include c-suite executives, managers, employees, sales reps, service engineers etc. Considering these employees reside within different organisation units and at varying levels, they will participate with the business in different capacities. One can further categorise requirements as being orientated towards:

  • Productivity

Those that promote improved productivity through either mobilisation or workflow approvals, or employee self-service capabilities such as leave request or timesheet submission.

  • Line-of-Business:

Those that are business critical and involve the mobilisation of a specific workforce such sales force automation, service engineers, or logistics fleets.

  • Analytics:

Those that provide insights on data and allow people to make decisions based on a process’s current, planned or predicted performance.

Strategy Considerations:

A strategy for business to employee scenarios would typically comprise the following:

  • Processes:

Includes but not limited to: Workflows; business analytics; employee self-service; manager self-service; sales force automation; field service; etc.

  • People:

Should include representation from

    • CIO: The strategy owner and solution sponsor.
    • CoE:
      • Legal: Address any addendums to employment contracts or limitation of liability for BYOD etc.
      • ERP: Provide safe and secure access to enterprise data that has been profiled properly.
      • IT: Provision and support of mobile infrastructure including OS, APN, DNS;
      • Security: Enforce and verify security policies on top of the IT infrastructure;
      • IT Support: Provide helpdesk type support to employees using mobile solutions to, for example, support a sales rep who is unable to synchronise sales order transactions to a backend system. This is particularly vital for LoB applications and often overlooked.
      • Solution Representatives:
        • Business Owner: A representative from the business unit from whence the requirement originated.
        • Functional Lead: A representative from the functional team responsible for maintaining the solution. Ensure that the integrity of the underlying business process is preserved and acts as liaison with the technical team;
        • Super UserRepresent the end user and provide feedback on opinions, usability, and reliability of the mobile solution.
  • Technology:
    • Enterprise app-store: Provides role based access to enterprise apps, both custom developed or available through public app-stores
    • Secure mobile infrastructure: Infrastructure that underpins the various mobile channels (e.g. reverse proxy, APN, Certificates, etc.)
    • Enterprise mobile development platform: A platform that consolidates multiple backbends, orchestrates data replication, centralises logging and security policies, and supports multiple device OS types
    • Mobile Device ManagementSupports the typical stages of the mobile app user lifecycle from provisioning, setup, policy enforcement, remote whipping, and decommissioning.

Business to Consumer

Overview:

These are typically requirements that allow an organisation to engage directly with end consumer of their goods or service. These can include e-Commerce, mobile banking, self-service, or informative scenarios where the intended user group is external consumers that typically download a mobile app from a public app store and use the app at their discretion.

Strategy Considerations:

A strategy for business to employee scenarios would typically comprise the following:

  • Process

e-Commerce, customer self service, content distribution,

  • People

Should include representation from:

    • CMO: The strategy owner and solution sponsor.
    • CoE:
      • Legal: Ensure and enforce regulatory compliance. In particular those relating to the protection of personal information, which ensure that a customer’s personal information is not being exploited.
      • ERP: Provide access to enterprise master data (such as customer info, product info, pricing info), transactional data (sales orders, quotations, service request etc.), and analytics information depending on the use case;
      • IT: Provide and support the mobile infrastructure for core consumer processes as well as integration with value added services (VAS);
      • Security: Enforce and verify security policies on top of the IT infrastructure;
      • Customer Support: Provide helpdesk support to a customer who wants to log a complaint, issue, or request assistance with the app or the process (adding item to shopping basket, confirming order status etc.); This is particularly vital for customer facing applications and often overlooked;
      • Solution Representative:
        • Business Owner: A representative from the business unit from whence the requirement originated.
        • Functional Lead: A representative from the functional team responsible for maintaining the solution. Ensure that the integrity of the underlying business process is preserved and acts as liaison with the technical team;
        • Super UserRepresent the end user and provide feedback on opinions, usability, and reliability of the mobile solution.
  • Technology:
    • Public app-store: Publication of a consumer app to the respective apps store of the target device type.
    • Secure mobile infrastructure: Infrastructure that underpins the various mobile channels.
    • Enterprise mobile development platform: A platform that consolidates multiple backbends, orchestrates data replication, centralises logging and security policies, and supports multiple device OS types.
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