Making everyone 'appy': Aligning business and IT with enterprise mobile


No question about it, we’re mobile now. Consumers use smartphones and tablets to do nearly everything. They expect businesses to provide their services through mobile channels, and it’s not only consumers: B2B interaction is mobile, too.

So no matter their business models, organisations need to build mobile enterprise applications into their infrastructures. If they don’t, they miss out on opportunities—large, business-survival-sized opportunities. To put it in numbers, by 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, generating more than $77 billion in revenue, according to Gartner. The time to sit on the sidelines of mobile has ended.

But incorporating mobile properly requires more than a knee-jerk reaction; it’s a process. It often demands a reorganisation of the enterprise to close gaps between line-of-business (LOB) and IT. Only when the app development process works as a collaborative effort between LOB, IT and developers can companies deliver mobile experiences that attract, retain and “wow” customers.

Here’s how to realise such a successfully integrated mobile model.

Break down business silos

As businesses seek to incorporate mobile to its full potential, they often face difficulties reconciling LOB demands with IT considerations. Executives concerned with return on investment, customer acquisition, competitive advantage and the bottom line want quick app roll out for maximum impact and a leading industry presence. Designers, developers and programmers, on the other hand, must attend to the details, including creating a positive user experience, streamlining performance across multiple operating systems, ensuring app security and saving on costs.

It’s not this mixed bag of goals and priorities that causes problems, per se. Rather, it’s the lack of a clear, company-wide strategy for enterprise app development that holds businesses back. In a survey of 400 businesses’ mobile development processes, the International Data Corporation (IDC), which provides market intelligence for the IT, telecommunications and consumer technology industries, found that only 16.3 percent of respondents had executive level support throughout their operations for mobile incorporation. More than 50 percent of respondents still relegated enterprise mobile strategy to a specific business unit or department.

By keeping mobile development in a silo, businesses cut off an essential feedback loop between LOB and IT that, if open, could maximise innovation and customer adoption while minimising problems. When LOB and IT work together, they can brainstorm how to incorporate UX design concepts to make apps as user-friendly and engaging as possible. They can also ensure enterprise apps are built for scalability to incorporate new business needs and pathways as they emerge. Likewise, they can communicate about deployment, giving IT the assurance that across-departments apps are being managed securely.

Eliminating these barriers between LOB and IT helps build a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Companies can shift away from a fragmented approach to mobile, where development happens under one umbrella and deployment under another, and instead capitalise on the collective strength of these groups working at the same table. Together, LOB and IT can best embrace the social, collaborative nature of today’s workplace and build mobile-led organisations. 

Reap the rewards of a mobile-led strategy

The IDC survey found that companies that approached mobility across the entire enterprise, rather than through one particular department, enjoyed the most satisfaction with their mobile deployments. They allocated more money to mobile strategy and gave more employees the tools they needed to go mobile, and, as a result, saw higher returns on their mobile investments across more business areas. The long-term advantages of collaborative enterprise mobile efforts outweighed the short-term challenges of reorganisation.

Other demonstrated benefits of incorporating mobile at the heart of the enterprise abound. They include, but are not limited to, increased sales and revenue, decreased costs, improved competitive advantage, enhanced worker productivity, better customer service, increased brand awareness and smarter, faster decision making.

While it may seem like an arduous undertaking to entirely re-jig managerial roles and responsibilities to integrate mobile across the enterprise, the rewards of completing the process are clear. More importantly, the price of not taking mobile to the enterprise level may be too high to pay: without the infrastructure to support mobile, social and cloud technology, businesses simply can no longer compete in today’s connected world. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2017, 25 percent of all market leaders will lose their leadership position to companies founded after the year 2000 due to their relative leveraging of digital technologies. With that context, building this infrastructure, and building it right, in a way that brings LOB and IT together, is an invaluable investment in the future. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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