So what is Enterprise mobility…really?
In recent years there has been an explosion of smart phone based apps to do just about everything from ordering Pizza to keeping in touch with friends through social media. It is easy to spot these as apps aimed at individuals but not so easy to identify and define the nature of apps in the corporate or enterprise mobility area.
Industry commentators say that the edges of this boundary have got blurred in recent times. Whether true or not for sure the nature of apps to automate the mobile workforce is and will continue to change.
So what do we consider to be the primary terms of reference for an enterprise mobility project?
Traditionally deployments have been made up of systems bought by companies for the exclusive use of employees. Each company even those competing in the same industry will have evolved different processes and procedures. So the sector is characterised by a vast number of enterprise mobility apps all tailored to meet specific workflow needs. The lack of a killer app means that companies have addressed the challenge of mobile application development in a variety of different ways. Some go for off the shelf pre packaged ‘solutions’ and change their processes to suit while others bespoke software to meet specific needs. Religious argument abounds !
What we can say is that in almost every case the solution will enable a remote worker to use a portable device to get connected to a business back end system and displace traditional methods of data capture. At its simplest the keyboard input of a manually filled in paper form. The degree to which a worker is really remote is not so important. Someone doing price mark down in a supermarket is really just as remote as a field service technician. The medium of their connectivity and the circumstance of their work are indeed different but neither are at a desk and their respective companies have figured out that enterprise mobility can speed up the digestion of their transactions and so create efficiencies reduce errors and contain cost.
So unlike the real consumer app market this is one where companies are investing money in the belief that introducing technology to the mobile workforce will somehow generate business benefits. Another reason you may not be so familiar with enterprise mobility is that the user base for even the largest enterprise deployment is modeat compared to the number of potential users for a hot consumer app.
The key point is that it’s mission critical to a business. If I cannot update twitter it is annoying if i cannot process a parking fine or generate an invoice on a field service visit it will cost my business time and money – Gulp!
Next time – more on this enterprise mobility stuff and how do these deployments get justified?