An effective enterprise mobility strategy is not about determining pros and cons, rather it is about embracing the overall impact that new mobile technology will have on the future of your business.
Mobility solutions are a huge part of our everyday lives. In the U.S. alone, consumers are spending 5 hours per day on mobile devices. In 2010, a fourth of internet traffic was from mobile devices. Today, over 70% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
Everyone relies on the apps on our mobile phones and tablets for:
Over the last decade, we have seen rapid advancements in mobile technology and network accessibility. Today’s mobile devices offer better performance and user experience.
Eco-system for apps on Apple App Store and Google Play have grown drastically. Most of the major brands have invested in developing and launching their mobile apps.
Growing investments and advancements in mobile technology make it the preferred platform for accessing and sharing data information.
Millennials and Generation Z recognize mobile as the only viable platform. By 2035, these groups will make up the majority of our workforce and consumers. This brings mobile to the center of digital strategy for all enterprises.
Attentive CIOs recognize this shift. They will need to invest in technology solutions that satisfy the needs of the future consumer and workforce.
The long-term success of the modern enterprise depends on developing mobility solutions. The growing demand for mobility is already driving innovation. Companies are reinventing business operations and capitalizing on the benefits of mobile apps.
Today, more than 77% CIOs are considering a mobile-first approach for their digital transformation strategy. However, few businesses are prepared to create and implement their strategy.
In this article, we provide you with a comprehensive guide to create an effective enterprise mobility strategy for your business.
We’ll dive into:
- Enterprise mobility trends in 2020
- 6 steps for creating a successful enterprise mobility strategy
- Key questions to ask during each phase
What is Enterprise Mobility?
Enterprise mobility is the deployment of mobile solutions across an organization. It leverages mobile tech to connect people, processes, and data. Enterprise mobility improves how consumers interact with products and services of an enterprise.
Highly robust enterprise mobile solutions can offer your employees endless ways to increase their impact on business growth. They allow consumers to use your products and services easily. At the same time, they increase customer touch points with your business.
Enterprise mobility solutions can:
- Provide customers with the ability to self-provision services
- Create new user experiences that are simple, personal and smart
- Remove complexities from internal processes
- Build new revenue systems around data
Of course, enterprise mobility is ineffective in a silo. Enterprise mobility is part of an overall tech narrative. It works with other digital initiatives within your business.
Developing a successful enterprise mobility strategy is no longer just ahead-of-the-curve thinking. Enterprise mobility is a must for any company seeking to stay competitive.Click To Tweet
The global enterprise mobility market is estimated to grow from $86.36 billion in 2014 to $510.39 billion by 2022.
Benefits of an enterprise mobility strategy
Consumers will benefit from a mobility strategy. But what about your business and employees? Businesses centered on mobile apps can reap greater benefits.
Mobile devices are a necessity. Whether you like it or not, your employees WILL use their own devices at work. It might not seem important, but this can lead to deadly security breaches. Even the smallest data breach can cost millions. An enterprise mobility strategy can address potential security risks. Businesses should work to keep their employees and their data safe.
What if your employees could access their work from anywhere? With enterprise mobile apps, employees can be more versatile. Employees gain the ability to work offsite, from home, or during their commute. Studies show that an enterprise mobility strategy can improve productivity by 23%.
In general, employees are more comfortable using their own devices. Employers who have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy will save money. A mobility strategy that accounts for BYOD can greatly reduce overall spending when you implement enterprise mobility solutions.
Make Informed Decisions Faster
Data accessibility becomes critical when employee decisions can impact the business. Real-time access to data can make employees more efficient and their output more accurate. Field service employees can quickly communicate with employees at the office. Business can run meetings regardless of whether everyone is physically present. Work progress can be reviewed from anywhere. With a mobility solution, your staff can make informed decisions faster.
Prepare for the Worst
Natural disasters can present risks to any business. It could result in disastrous loss of documents and locally stored data. An enterprise mobility solution can help you access your preparedness for such an event. You can guarantee that your business will continue to operate uninterrupted.
Improve Employee Retention
When work is simpler, employees are happier. A mobility solution can address the frustrations of your staff. Provide them with a tool that solves their most stressful problems. With less stress, employees can focus on tasks and improve productivity. These changes can result in better work-life balance. Looking out for your employees can build a stronger team and company culture. This can lead to an increase in employee satisfaction and retention.
Recent Enterprise Mobility Trends
Enterprise mobility solutions vary widely by industry. However, every business must have an enterprise mobility strategy that is:
- Unique to its own industry
- Addressing its specific business needs
- Based on its current stage of mobile adoption
Below are some examples of mobility solutions that have disrupted several industries:
Mobile payment solutions are advancing quickly. They offer consumers easier ways to pay with their mobile device. Only 3% of payments being made via smartphone in the U.S. As a result, tremendous opportunities exist in FinTech including:
- Mobile banking services
- Mobile wallets with enhanced security
- Mobile commerce applications
- Mobile real-time investing
- Mobile payment solutions
Mobile is transforming the real estate and construction industries. For example, augmented reality for mobile devices allows anyone to visualize a space. Builders can overlay BIM models on the construction site. Architects can present architectural models in 3D. Home buyers can “walk” into their new home miles away without leaving their living room.
Better yet, never having to attend another open house!
The introduction of virtual reality in construction will explode in growth over the coming years.
Home builders and construction companies will embrace mobile technologies for:
- Field service solutions with access to actionable data in real time
- Customer, builder, and vendor collaboration solutions
- Optimizing and mobilizing business processes
Mobile apps are capable of providing a richer in-store customer experience. Consumers can receive notifications about sales as they walk through store aisles. Regular customers can enjoy the benefits of a loyalty program. Early adopters in the retail industry are taking full advantage of mobile technology. With mobile apps, retailers are able to differentiate their products and services.
A perfect example of this concept in action is the Target mobile app. Users can access the Target app to locate products at their preferred store. Users can plan grocery lists in advance and purchase items for pick-up. Users can also scan in-store items for additional savings and rewards.
Retailers can add value by personalizing mobile experiences. They can seamlessly integrate voice & AI functions with digital assistants. In addition, brands can differentiate on more than just price. Rather, brands can focus on redefining the customer experience. With augmented reality, retailers allow consumers to try products in their home before purchasing.
Real-time logistics management technology is a reality now. This technology gives businesses access to actionable data for:
- Optimizing lead time schedules
- Managing the supply chain
- Streamlining processes for error reductions/operational efficiencies
- Utilizing geospatial data from transportation networks
- Improving inventory turns
- Reducing inventory holding costs
Enterprise mobility solutions are moving the supply chain with apps for fleet tracking, inventory management, and order fulfillment. In logistics, the advantages of working smarter with mobile apps are apparent.
Mobile is making an impact on telehealth and telemedicine. Healthcare providers can provide remote digital healthcare services. They offer their patients convenience, choice, personalization, and control. According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than 15 million Americans received remote medical care last year. In contrast, almost 40% of tech-savvy consumers still don’t know about telemedicine. Over the next few years, we can expect more consumers to utilize remote medical care services. There are several other technologies also making strides. Augmented reality, voice, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are improving patient care, making healthcare more accessible, and saving lives.
In the wellness industry, more personal fitness apps are found on the app store. Both Nike and Adidas have invested heavily in fitness apps.
The benefits of mobile solutions are infinite. With all these opportunities, you might ask, “why isn’t every business focusing on enterprise mobility or have an enterprise mobile strategy?”.
In our years of app development experience, we’ve discovered the same pain point. Most businesses don’t know where to begin. Implementing a mobility strategy can be a daunting task. Below we show you how to develop an effective enterprise mobility strategy.
Key Steps for Your Enterprise Mobility Strategy
An enterprise mobility strategy is a part of your digital transformation strategy. Drafting a strategy for any organization can be overwhelming. However, if done right, your enterprise mobility strategy can scale business growth. You can evolve with the changing tech landscape and growing business needs.
An enterprise mobility strategy can:
- Increase market share
- Improve staff productivity
- Reduce operational costs
- Provide real time access to data
- Enable multi-channel collaboration
- Identify the unique selling proposition (USP)
- Level the competitive landscape
There are six steps to create any successful enterprise mobility strategy.
1. Define Your Business Needs
Enterprise mobile initiatives can solve your business problems, find you new customers, and help create innovative solutions to grow your business. Before you start, you need to establish your business needs. Work toward understanding your company’s strategic goals. Use key performance indicators (KPIs), customer feedback, and industry trends to define your business needs.
- What are the enterprise mobility trends in your industry?
- What are the core products and services of your business?
- Where do you see your business in the next 3, 5, and 10 years?
- Where are the bottlenecks in your business?
- Who are your customers?
- Are you meeting consumers needs??
- Who needs access to your data? Do you need different levels of access?
- How will you handle data privacy for your organization?
- Do you need WIFI with cellular data?
Enterprise mobility strategy does not replace your overall digital strategy. Mobile apps will not solve all your business problems. Mobile apps do not replace your other technology initiatives. Enterprise mobility solutions are part of your overall digital goals. That is why your identifying business needs is crucial to the success of your enterprise mobile strategy.Oftentimes your employees and your customers may experience the same “gap” from different perspectives. Click To Tweet
Let’s use a popular restaurant chain as an example. This chain wants to integrate delivery tracking into their mobile app. They believe tracking deliveries will accomplish a few business goals.
Business: Firstly, the business wants to reduce the amount of calls it receives about customer deliveries. It takes employees away from other important responsibilities. It also negatively impacts the brand. With tracking, employees will spend less time fielding customer calls about deliveries. Geo-location tracking helps the business see the driver’s location in real-time. This keeps the drivers accountable while on the clock.
Employee: Secondly, the business wants to reduce delivery times for customers. The business can use the delivery data they collect to optimize routes. Optimized routes enable drivers to make more deliveries and satisfy customer expectations.
Customer: Lastly, the business wants to give customers peace of mind. Tracking allows customers to see where their delivery is and when it is expected to arrive. This eliminates customer frustration and reduces the amount of customer service calls to the business.
Identifying business goals will lead to business solutions. The example above is the reason why Uber Eats and DoorDash are so wildly popular these days. The businesses identified a customer need and developed apps that can be used by restaurants and consumers.
Here are a few more questions to help you further:
- How does your client buy or receive your product or service?
- When in the buying process do customers interact with employees?
- How do customers interact with employees?
- How can you improve customer experience?
- Which solutions help increase customer touch points?
- How can a mobile solution address employee experience and efficiency?
2. Perform Competitive Research
Now that you have identified your goals, it is time to research competitors.
Select a minimum of three competitors to analyze. Choose competitors based on your business objectives and industry trends. When selecting competitors, do not pick only top companies but also identify innovative startups.If your competitor is a new player in the industry, understand how they may be offering mobility solutions that lead to industry disruption.Click To Tweet
What mobility solutions have your competitors built for their employees and customers? Search competitor websites and online mentions. If they have applications, you can learn more about them on the app store. You may only have access to conceptual information. However, this should be enough to piece together the “what” and “why”.
Furthermore, try to research timeline and budget information. Websites like Crunchbase offer details into how much investment companies have made into their business and technology initiatives. Companies also discuss some of this in their press releases and media interviews. This helps you budget appropriately for creating similar mobile apps. You can learn a lot more from doing competitive research which is why it is an essential step in creating your mobility strategy.
Once you identify mobile solutions based on your competitive research, answer these questions to fine tune your enterprise mobility strategy:
- Will this app solve any business problems or create value?
- How will you address feedback app users have provided for the competitors apps?
- What impact new mobile apps will have on your business processes?
- Does the business have the necessary technology infrastructure to build and support a mobile app?
- How are your competitors marketing their apps?
Next, create a competitor analysis spreadsheet and document your research. This will help as you move to the next phases of your mobility strategy.
In some cases, none of your competitors may have an app. That just means you have a tremendous opportunity to be an industry leader!
3. Set Strategic Goals and Objectives
The first two steps in our strategy guide help you identify your needs. Next, we want to prioritize your needs with goals and objectives.
Important questions to ask:
- Which apps will have the most impact on your business, employees, and users?
- Is your business ready to support this app?
- Is mobility the right channel to deliver the solutions the solutions your business needs?
Your long-term implementation objectives relate to usage and scalability. In addition to the day-to-day usage, you’ll be gathering endless amounts of data.
Consider these additional questions:
- What new opportunities will your mobile app solution create? (See Step 1)
- How will you determine your return on investment (ROI)?
- How can your business benefit from the collected data?
- How will you scale your app as your business needs grow?
- How will you support and maintain your apps?
Take as much time as you need to drill down into your goals and objectives. Outline your desired business outcomes carefully. This will make it easier to measure key metrics for future success.
4. Choose the Right Mobile Experience and Platform
Developing a mobile app is not the same as developing a web application. It is common for people to think it is just a screen size adjustment, but that is not the case. In fact, there is more work that goes into creating a mobile app than creating a website with the same features.
There are two popular mobile platforms: iOS from Apple and Android from Google. These mobile platforms require developing apps using their unique development environment. A mobile app’s functions are custom-designed for each mobile platform. This provides app users unique user experience specific to their mobile devices.
Native Mobile Apps
Native mobile apps are built specifically for iOS or Android. Users must download them from the app store to a mobile phone or tablet. Native mobile apps have the most access to the firmware and hardware of a mobile device. This means that native mobile apps can benefit from all of the device’s capabilities. Native mobile apps perform well and deliver the best user experience. As you require to develop separate mobile apps for iOS and Android, native apps will cost more. Some businesses choose to develop apps for both platforms.
When starting out, we recommend creating either an iOS app or Android app based on your target audience. By choosing one platform, you will shorten the delivery timeline, reduce initial investment, and have an opportunity to perfect the app. You can then take everything that you learned and expand it onto a second platform.
Mobile Web Apps
Mobile web apps are websites accessed from a mobile browser. Mobile web apps are responsive and can look like a mobile app. Mobile web apps will work across all iOS and Android devices. Which reduces initial investment and timeline for creating a mobile web app. Users can even add a launch icon to their mobile device. This makes access to mobile web apps similar to native apps.
Mobile web apps get limited access to a mobile device’s hardware capabilities. Companies with existing web-based solutions will find mobile web apps as an inexpensive and quicker method of introducing new mobility solutions.
Below, see a comparison of both approaches.
|Native Mobile App||Mobile Web App|
|App Development Process||If you need your app to be available on iOS and Android mobile platforms, you will have to develop native mobile apps for each one. You will also have to customize each app for supporting different device types (phone, tablets and phablets).||A mobile web app is essentially a web site that is accessible from a browser on the mobile device. By using responsive design, existing and new web apps can be made mobile-friendly. Mobile web apps works across all mobile platforms and device types.|
|Skill Requirements||Since each mobile platform uses its own technology stack, you might need multiple developers with development skills specific to each mobile platform.||Your web development team will build and support your mobile web apps, so you will not have to invest into new development resources.|
|Infrastructure||With native mobile apps, you may have to make additional investment into procuring mobile devices, mobile device management solutions—and figure out governance policy.||Your users can continue to use their own mobile devices. And, even if you are providing them with mobile devices, you can keep all users on the same mobile platform.|
|Accessibility||Native mobiles apps will have full access to device firmware and native functionality, providing endless capabilities to the app developers.||Mobile web apps will not be able to access some of the device functions such as push notifications.|
|Network Dependency||Native mobile apps can have offline working capability, which can be beneficial if users are often working from areas with little to no internet connectivity. Native apps can detect network connectivity and sync with the server back-end when connection resumes.||Mobile web apps require internet connectivity for accessing website features.|
|Performance & User Experience||With a native mobile app, you can customize and personalize user experience specific to each mobile platform. Native apps can run faster and more efficiently—making the most of capabilities of a mobile OS and device hardware.||Mobile web will have the same user experience across all mobile platforms and device types. This often becomes a limitation, since users expect app user experience customized to their mobile platform. Speed and performance of mobile web apps will be somewhat dependent on network bandwidth and device functionality that the app is dependent on.|
|App Support & Maintenance||You may have to update your app with the release of a new version of mobile OS or mobile devices.||Mobile web apps do not get affected as much by advances in mobile technology. Therefore, you do not have to update your app as frequently.|
Hybrid Apps / Cross Platform Apps
There are two additional approaches to create mobile apps. Cross-platform mobile apps use 3rd-party mobile frameworks like Xamarin, Phonegap, and Appcelerator. These apps have a common codebase and can run across all mobile platforms. They don’t require much code that is platform-specific.
The reason we don’t recommend hybrid and cross-platform apps is because they do not perform as well as native apps. What you might save in initial development costs will be limited to 10-15%. However, these apps require more effort to scale and maintain because they are not as widely supported as native apps. Most companies prefer to build native mobile apps or mobile web apps.
Choosing the right mobile platform is essential to the success of your enterprise mobility strategy. Once you make this decision, it can be difficult and costly to reverse it.
These questions will guide you in the right direction:
- Who are the primary end users of your app?
- What devices will be used?
- For enterprise mobile apps, will you provide mobile devices to your employees or will you have a BYOD policy (bring-your-own-device)?
- What mobile platform will your app support: iOS, Android, or both?
- What device type will your app support: smartphone, tablet, or both?
- How do users interact with your applications?
- Will your app need access to a device feature like camera, speaker, GPS, accelerometer, or bluetooth?
- Will your digital transformation roadmap also include web applications?
Sometimes, the discovery phase will require you to separate app requirements across multiple solutions. The end result is a suite of applications each serving a particular function. For example, Microsoft has the Office suite including Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Adobe has a large suite of design software including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign. If you are finding it difficult to include every feature in your app, don’t cram it.
5. Create a Plan for Continuous Delivery
There is fierce competition for market share between iOS and Android. Companies like Google, Samsung, and Apple are rapidly advancing mobile technology. Every year, we see new versions of mobile devices and platforms. Because the landscape changes so quickly, agility is crucial to a successful mobility strategy. Alongside your long-term plan, you will need to consider short-term requirements. In mobile app development, you will need to continue supporting your apps to address bugs, new features, and security vulnerabilities.
Does your brand already have preexisting app development and deployment methodologies? If so, you may need to revamp them to keep pace with continuous delivery for new mobile applications. If you do not have established development processes then you can read our article, “Mobile App Development Process: A Step by Step Guide“.
It is also important to remember that data-driven mobile apps rely on application programming interfaces or APIs. APIs are used to communicate with the server back-end and databases. A strong API infrastructure will aid in the scalability, interoperability, and maintainability of your mobile apps. Your continuous delivery plan should support the server back-end and database changes.
These questions will help you create your agile development plan:
- What apps and features will be of most value to users?
- Can you prioritize your app features in high, medium, and low categories?
- What new services will your business be introducing in the coming years?
- How frequently can your team release updates for your mobile apps?
- Can you ensure continuous delivery on the back-end to support your app?
6. Outline a Security Strategy and Incorporate Governance Policy
Last and certainly not least, you must outline your security strategy and internal governance policy.
Your governance policy should address:
- The development processes
- Device provisioning
- Data access and security
- Interruption coverage / disaster recovery
- Mobile application management
- Ongoing infrastructure improvement needs.
Larger organizations may need to establish a governance team. This team will have members representing each department affected by mobility solutions. The following questions will help you establish a good governance policy:
- Who are the different stakeholders/personnel involved with your mobile initiatives?
- What BYOD, CYOD, and COPE device policy will you need?
- How will you secure your APIs?
- What security solution will you use to ensure data security?
- How will your app users be authenticated (SSO, OAuth, OpenID, Fingerprint, Facial Recognition, 3rd party credentials)?
- What development and deployment process will you follow?
- Will your apps have role-based access? Do you have the required identity management systems in place?
- What parameters will your app testing cover: usability, functionality, performance, security?
- How should your app users be notified of new releases?
- What industry-specific compliance measures do you have to consider?
- How will your customer service and product tech team interact with users for product support?
- What steps do you need to take in the event of a service interruption?
Remain consistent across your business in enforcing the mobility governance policy. As shown above, providing IT with proactive empowerment will help safeguard your business, your employees, and your customers.
Other Considerations for Success
Developing your enterprise mobility strategy is a long, but rewarding process. Our clients have relied on us to develop their enterprise mobility strategy for over ten years. During that time, we’ve picked up a few tips that could benefit you.
You might consider incorporating a BYOD policy. If you do, understand that your employees will all have different devices. Your enterprise mobility strategy will need to account for this variable.
Embrace New Opportunities
It is easy to dismiss new ideas. Instead, we encourage you to evaluate every potential solution. It is possible that one of those ideas will lead to more innovation. If you don’t research each idea, you could miss out on potential savings and benefits.
Estimate Each Initiative
A key criteria for success is delivering your mobile apps on time and within budget. For this, you will have to find out how long does it take to make an app and how much does it cost to make an app. We’ve created an app cost calculator that can help get ballpark estimates for any app idea within five minutes. Estimates will help you plan and fund your mobile initiatives.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Your enterprise mobility strategy should account for the various departments in your organization. A company with multiple departments will have different needs. Identify primary users, both internal and external, for your mobile apps. If the needs of each group vary, you may need to build different solutions.
Secure, Scalable, Supportable
Every app you build should account for the app’s security, scalability, and support. If the app cannot achieve these three, you will have a difficult time maintaining them in the future.
Focus on Short-Term Goals
Planning a long-term strategy ensures a successful implementation. However, short-term goals help you track progress toward long-term goals. Goal tracking also keeps your team motivated as they achieve each milestone.
Hire The Right Team
If you haven’t dealt with mobile applications before then creating mobile apps may seem like a major undertaking. You might not even have the mobile UI designers and app developers on your team. But this is common. After all, mobile app development is not core of your business. This is why many companies decide to hire app development agencies for their app development.
A successful enterprise mobility strategy needs sufficient planning and coordination within your business. But, it can become a cornerstone of your company’s digital transformation journey.
Prepare a strategy that’s right for your business in 6 steps:
- Define your business needs
- Conduct research and perform competitive analysis
- Set strategic goals and objectives
- Choose the right mobile experience and platform
- Create a plan for continuous delivery
- Outline a security strategy and incorporate governance policy
Enterprise mobile solutions will deliver significant ROI for your business:
- Increase market share
- Improve staff productivity
- Reduce operational costs
- Provide real time accessibility to data
- Enable multi-channel collaboration
- Identify the unique selling proposition (USP)
- Level the competitive landscape
What goals do you want to achieve with your enterprise mobility strategy? Do you need help to create your enterprise mobility strategy? Contact our experienced mobile app development team today to schedule your free consultation.