Apple and IBM recently announced an exclusive partnership aimed at helping companies build mobile business apps. While Apple has been a driving force behind the mobile revolution, this partnership is an acknowledgement by Apple that enterprise mobility is not only different but that its apps are an essential business model driver. InApperian’s 2014 Executive Enterprise Mobility Report, the survey found that by 2016, more than 70 percent of executives plan to equip 1,000+ users with mobile apps and one-third of respondents plan to provide apps to more than 5,000 users.
The rise of enterprise mobile applications with a consumerized UX is one of the biggest trends we are seeing right now. These applications are creating new ways of working, and transforming existing business processes via mobile’s pervasive engagement. If implemented correctly with a sound ecosystem strategy, mobile apps can optimize productivity, innovation, and growth along the enterprise value chain. But, as these applications continue to gain footholds within the enterprise environment, managing and deploying them without a comprehensive understanding of their benefits and consequences could be risky.
Structuring Your Unstructured Content
Mobile apps and their users are generating valuable content and knowledge, what experts call “unstructured content.” To harness this content, we see enterprises doing a number of things:
- Integrating mobile apps with solutions such as SharePoint to take advantage of the content management and workflows engines
- Utilizing social media-style solutions (like corporate Wikis) to capture knowledge
I like to remind people that integrating mobile apps is a two-way street. Yes, mobile apps need timely enterprise data to empower business processes and mobile users. But the results and insights generated by the apps should have a way of being fed back into the firm’s ecosystem.
The ability to configure apps that securely access multiple backend legacy systems for information is an important part of comprehensive integration support for mobility. This ensures support is given to crucial business processes that cannot be handled by a single system. Some organizations refer to these as composite apps or “mash-ups.” Creating mobile mash-ups requires an integration foundation that can support many types of interfaces or links to disparate systems.
Executing a Sound App Strategy: The Devil is in the Details
After you’ve determined your app strategy for architecture and lifecycle management, the next step is implementation, a critical step that can be made more difficult by diverse employee groups requiring access to different applications. Apps should be vetted to ensure sure they use the data protection application programming interfaces available to maintain encryption. Make sure the app is protected against jail-broken or rooted devices to ensure the app’s integrity is maintained.
It is important not to skimp on security, but at the same time, you don’t want your app security strategy to be only horizontal “lock it down” enforcement. Generally, security is an enabler of agility via trust across the mobile device fleet You don’t want your security to prevent employees from using their devices; we’ve seen that changing a favored user experience usually leads to decreases in productivity.
Deploying mobile apps in the enterprise offers both opportunities and flexibility. To learn more about current trends, considerations, and best practices for managing the growing trend of enterprise mobility applications, I invite you read this white paper.