Why it’s still OK to Bespoke Enterprise Mobile Software

Why it’s still OK to Bespoke Enterprise Mobile Software

NewsFlash! Companies implement enterprise mobility systems to help them be more competitive whilst at the same time streamlining in field and back office processes.

Why it's still OK to Bespoke Enterprise Mobile SoftwareIn recent years it has become the norm for operational and IT teams to go for a pre-built application and if necessary change business processes to fit the parts where the app does not quite match with the working practices on the ground.

For some custom development is old fashioned and carries the stigma of being expensive and never ending. Both of these statements can be true and some high profile bespoke IT projects at the BBC and the NHS  do not help to overturn the perception.

 

The tools are out there to make producing an app a lot easier than it used to be. Modern Mobile Application Development Platforms (MEAP) have eliminated much of the black art around producing something that will work. It really is OK to bespoke an enterprise mobile enterprise mobile software.

Bespoke Enterprise Mobile Software 8 Things to Think About

  1. This approach can work for small numbers of users performing a very specific task. But the more users you have the more likely you will be able to justify an ROI for the project.
  2. Talk to someone who has either done something like this is a similar business process or a vendor who provides this sort of solution.
  3. Get your paper forms turned into an app as a prototype.
  4. Devise a plan for choosing which sort of device and OS will be suitable. Ensure your prototype runs on the target device satisfactorily. What is the expected life of these product?
  5. An app is useless unless you can connect it to something. Can you connect the data gathered to your ERP or CRM system. Is exporting it as a file or web service good enough? Find out first if you can make this integration and who will manage it.
  6. Write a comprehensive specification of how the whole solution will operate.
  7. Review the results with the people who actually carry out the process.
  8. By iteration tweak your prototype and repeat.

Why it's still OK to Bespoke Enterprise Mobile SoftwareIt’s still OK to bespoke enterprise mobile software. Get in touch to book a visit for us to discuss your requirements.

 

What Everyone Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

What Everybody Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

What Everybody Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility
The Osborne is now a Museum Piece

Guest Post by Timothy C B Cox. I always have said the mobile computer like the smart phone is not much use without applications, and it’s true for all  enterprise solutions which makes identifying a mobile computing platform for enterprise mobility such an important task.

But the platform does play an important part in the solution and should not be overlooked as just an easy decision because of our familiarity with smart consumer devices.  Recently Apple reported a drop in product margin’s, but their pricing has not really changed.  It shows smart phones are not going to get any cheaper anytime soon.

If anything consumer choice will be between the high margin expensive full featured hand-sets and the lower cost feature limited devices.  Or putting it another way, choosing between high margin devices and low margin devices.  Of course it’s in the interests of the vendor to urge the consumer to purchase the high margin product.

So future options are limited, I see them trying to protect existing product margins by releasing a new product with lower cost base.  I cannot see them compromising flagship products in terms of quality or features being a route for established brands when they battling with each other for market share.

For Example….

Samsung is currently being probed by the Taiwanese authorities for possibly paying people to post bad reviews and poor readability reports for the HTC One in Taiwan.  The HTC One uses higher quality materials in its case design and Samsung is concerned they may get into a new battle where their material costs increase to defend against other products, and this would be an unwanted downward pressure on their product margins.

The Apple iPhone is generally accepted to be of high quality design and build.  What Samsung fears is having to compete with another Android handset where the only real difference is quality of materials used in it’s industrial design.

Everyone selling is under pressure from falling margins!

Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

Rugged devices, though initially more expensive do last longer before being replaced, they are more stable in design and feature sets.  Typical customers do not like unpleasant surprises, because their investment is larger and the time to reach their ROI is longer.

You shouldn’t expect rugged device makers to jump onto latest OS releases or design features their customer base has a predefined expectation of their products.  If you look at Conical responsible for the open source Ubuntu Linux distribution, they have a two track release solution, a LTS or Long Term Support release and a general release.  Think of their LTS release as the enterprise edition (stable) with the general release aimed directly at the consumer (with latest features).

Rugged device manufactures also work to the LTS concept but all their products adhere to the LTS concept!  Where they commit to a number of years of support, service and updates for their platform.

Enterprise customers must get a stable platform to build their business; not to be distracted by worrisome and unimportant support and life cycling of the product.  It allows customer’s to manage their mobility system over a known period of stability in terms of the platform, allowing them to build and plan their applications and solutions with very low risk along with favorable Total Cost of Ownership TCO numbers.

Buy a consumer device for use in the mobile workforce and you will be going through some sort of product and/or software refresh every year.  Because consumer devices change with annoyingly regularity, to the delight of the vendors and retail stores, as it drains consumers wallets regularly.

In short, it’s not in best interests for consumer products to have a LTS approach, they rely on phones being replaced regularly to maintain revenues.  Google likes to tell the market they have 1.5 million phone activations every day, but they don’t let on if these are existing users upgrading or new customers.

In April 2013 Google changed from reporting new hand-set activations to only reporting device visits to their on-line app store called ‘Play Store’!

So a LTS products may not have all the latest features and leading edge (or bleeding edge) options like  consumer products.  But they are what is called ‘stable’ releases, nothing is included that may have a negative affect on smooth running of the device.  Be assured the LTS designed products do not suffer like some iPhone batteries have after a recent iOS update from Apple, and solved by two subsequent updates.

Imagine (as an enterprise user) having to manage, push and pay for (if pushed over 3G) an update to your mobile workforce.  Not to mention dealing with users suffering from shorter than expected battery life, this happen recently with Apples iOS devices.  Just because the vendor pushed an update to hand-sets automatically.

Get a new Windows Phone device, and even if you to use it in the enterprise, be ready to create a new Hotmail (Microsoft Live) account for each device.  Use Bing to find out more! Something else to manage and filter and control and lock down and…

It’s not the incorrect decision to purchase a consumer device, all companies are at different stages in their cooperate life.  Some have more important projects with bigger positive impact on their operations commanding a larger percentage of the available budgets.  Some may not be able to afford the initial costs of rugged mobile devices.

No matter how you look at it, there is someone who will supply a product to fit your financial requirements, guaranteed!  So I would go as far as to suggest that companies who can only afford consumer devices or think they are stretched too much to get into rugged devices should wait until they have the budget or consider leasing, because maybe they are spending their cash on the wrong kind of project and its better spent elsewhere!!

So don’t dismiss those who tell you ‘you’re making a huge/massive mistake by looking at consumer products’.  Help them understand where your company is today and what resources and projects you are working with.  It will save everyone a whole lot of wasted time and money!

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand why a company would choose what looks to be an inferior product.  I would like to be driving a Range Rover and I could if I wanted, but I drive a cheaper 4×4 because my children are still young and make a complete mess of the interior.  So choosing the cheaper car fits my situation today and I live with that decision and my car delivers exactly what I expect!

What Everyone Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

Timothy C B Cox Mobile Workforce Strategy Consultant based in Dubai. Get in touch with Tim through Linkedin

What Everybody Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

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