Many companies might wish to offer their employees internal mobile apps tailored to their specific enterprise, but only a few are actually doing this. Firms may be convinced of the advantages of mobility and response time offered by enterprise apps, but they face several obstacles. Let’s take a look at what these issues are and how these situations can be changed.
Platform diaspora: In many organizations, the senior management uses BlackBerry and Apple products. Other employees are using a mix of Nokia and Android devices they brought from home and paid for out of their own pockets. Which platform should IT target first when considering a move to enterprise mobile apps? Don’t start with the most popular platform. Start with the platform the top management is using. Alternatively, see if HTML5 is compatible with any of the devices employees are using. Chances are, even if a mobile device is not compatible now, it will be compatible in a few months.
Another tip: Tools like Appcelerator and Phonegap promise “code once, port to all,” but these packages often require serious tweaking and can be more trouble than anticipated.
APIs to connect: Closed enterprise systems, often created by outside suppliers, are likely to have some APIs that mobile apps can use. If this isn’t the case, it’s wise to make sure any future upgrade of your enterprise system or application has some APIs that developers can extend to mobile devices.
Where to start: Many enterprise apps need mobility -- CRM, dashboards, procurement portals, etc. Which should be targeted first? Start simple, but act quickly. Things like expense claims and employee travel and leave requests will get the eager users, buy-ins, and consequently a bigger mandate.
Security: Accessing corporate data beyond firewalls without a VPN is a no-go. Start with data that is relatively harmless and thought of as less security-intensive: leave requests, expense claims, supply chain information from suppliers. The less security-intensive the data is, the more likely you are to get the required approvals.
Who should do it: Should development be in-house or outsourced? Unless you have outsourced all your development up to now, it makes sense to build these apps in-house. This would lower costs. It is likely to take longer, but mobile app development may be a skill set your organization will need more and more in the future.
Internal marketing: Why should an employee use your enterprise app at work and at home? If using it makes more work, it won’t likely be used. However, if using the app outside the office makes the next day’s work easier and less hectic, an employee will be more inclined to use it. It’s important to pitch the app to employees as a work reducer, instead of an extension of work hours. This will make a big difference in adoption.
What has your experience been with mobile enterprise apps? Tell us on the board below.
Yes nathan but its a very small percentage if you consider them closely and even out of that lot might not want to go for the second step in the process since they invested something which might have been a bit over than they expected.
Yes thats becasue the big company does not want to ruin their reputation becasue of the fault which might occur from the samller company. I dont see a bad part of it either because basically when a merge is happening the big company do have to take a lot of risks. So its they call I would say.
The problem with larger companies merging is they need to (warning buzzword coming) find synergy between the firms. This synergy is in the form of cultural similarities, technical similiarities. Companies with complex data systems requiring a lot of training and integration won't always be the best match. I think this is why RIM is having such a hard time being acquired.
Brian, I think larger companies should merge or atleast ty to do something similar to a merge and invest so both partise plus the economy will benefit. Once the economy start benefiting eventually the technology will boost rapidly.
I don't know how far-fetched this is but probably it will be a good thing when software development evolves to a point where we can have adaptive API based in the third party app. It will then adapt to different platforms say android, apple etc by learning their own API's...there'd probably have to be an extra protocol for the two API's to communicate.
One solution i'd suggest for introducing apps in the face of diverse platforms, is to begin web-based. At least these even though they come with their own challenges will be able to run fairly well across platforms. Gradually you can then introduce specific apps for the devices used by management and maybe IT, and so on.
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