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Enterprises aim for mobile growth, mobilizing a set of functions in pieces as they embrace mobility. With about 1.75 billion (eMarketer) global smartphone users and consumerization, IT services lead the mobile into the enterprise IT ecosystem. Organizations recognized this trend and began to use mobility for growth of their businesses; it is clear that mobile adoption is paying off. We see this change in pieces where point solutions like MDM and MAM are converging to become one and enabling the app dissemination of enterprise apps to devices in the enterprise app store. However, before deployment of any solution, a thorough mobile vision creation process for mobile app development is necessary. Here we will discuss the importance of mobile strategy assessment for any mobile initiative.
Handful of enterprises have demonstrated a committed mobile strategy. As enterprises explore mobility in enterprise space, their success heavily depends on the ability to scale up application functionalities, the creation of applications support system, the support for various user group needs, the safeguard investment against the risk of technology changes, and the skill sets required to manage these wide variety of tools in the rapidly changing mobility landscape. Then there are typical but essential requirements of leveraging existing infrastructure scalability, app data security, roadmap and overall manageability.
According to Gartner, mobile apps revenue tipped to reach more than $77 billion by 2017. Most organizations have dabbled with PoCs and pilots around mobility and now are aligned or in process of aligning their IT strategy, with mobile as the core focus and developing software with mobility as its central focus. The mobility vision roadmap needs to capture the future, integrating and aligning all the systems into mobility channel. The challenge for the IT leaders would be to align their mobile strategy and IT vision.
Key points to consider:
- Roadmap for end-user mobility and BYOD for employees
- IT infrastructure readiness for mobile enablement
- Multitude of legacy applications and compatibility
- Lack of varied skillsets to develop and manage
- Risk of investment in tools, technology, platforms
- Support for deployed open source and licensed tools/platforms
- Understand the monetary impact and ROI
Business: monetization, employee productivity, cost and ROI, complaiance
IT: manageablility, security, agility and scalability, compatible
User: accessible to any device, full functionality, access anywhere, appealing UI/UX
Forward-thinking enterprises today have achieved a demonstrable and committed strategy for mobile. The organizations need to evaluate the following:
- Organizational vision for mobility enablement for its functions, employees, and customers
- Choice of deployment approaches – architecture, platforms, and tools
- Optimization of the functionality blocks to achieve optimum reusability to achieve faster development and time to market
- Roadmap to enable smooth transition of infrastructure, apps, users, process, tools, and skillsets across functions and geographies
- Business case encompassing the above with the TCO and ROI
Guidelines for Mobile App Strategy
Mobile strategy assessment is the reality check and fine tuning your mobile roadmap to achieve the goals. Key steps to a mobile strategy assessment:
3.1 Define Mobility Goals
The most successful mobility deployments are those that return the most benefits. To define where to best apply mobility in the company, start with a list of the most strategic goals. It can be allowing customers to shop at your store at any time i.e. B2C, or mobile presence can boost your company branding, or enable mobility for your employees and enhance the productivity i.e. B2E application.
A series of focused workshops with senior leaders shall be done to crystalize strategic mobility goals for a given time period. Once these goals are validated and vetted, the planning phase can begin with involvement of relevant stakeholders in charge of achieving the respective goals in their specified areas. A vigilant measurement must include cost of developing the application, support the application and also the cost involved in changes in internal processes and system by inducing mobility. It’s important to review the mobilized IT processes at regular interval to ensure that they stay aligned with your mobility goals.
Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive (MECE) Principle to prioritize the functionalities to go mobile, the prioritization criteria will be defined and map all functionalities to the criteria. A mobile application roadmap is defined based on the categorization.
For example, the high-level categorization is done based on B2C, B2E and B2B needs. Further categorization is done based on ROI and TCO, etc. Also, deriving base functionalities, such as user identity, that are applicable to most application modules should be considered at highest priority. Based on feature prioritization; application development phases are defined.
3.3 Evaluate Existing Infrastructure
The new mobile initiatives will need more infrastructure; depending on infrastructure distribution across locations, number of user groups, number of apps and local compliance requirements, the infrastructure needs may vary. The state of existing infrastructure, their renewal cycles and legacy applications play a critical role in defining the roadmap. Developing few APIs would be enough to cater mobile needs, but is there a need to develop an entire mobile gateway? What user capacity is required now and how can it be scaled-up or down based on future demand?
Cloud is playing a bigger role on the IT infrastructure and application side. The way leading IT organizations adopting cloud, indicates that the evolvement of mobile platforms and infrastructure will rely only on cloud computing in the future. Does the company’s existing infrastructure support cloud computing?
The device diversity and multiple platforms present the security risks and challenges. With rising demand of BYOD, organizations want to enable BYOD without compromising their IT security. They desire their applications encompasses all security checks i.e. user authentication, data encryption, app-level policies, compliance monitoring and management. If risks not identified during planning phases, organizations will see loss of sensitive data, loss of time while system and devices are down, additional resources in cleaning the infected data and possibly a huge financial impact.
A detailed level security audit needs to be done. Audit program will assess mobile related security policies and procedures and their operating effectiveness. Technology forward-thinking organizations do security audit which also incorporates the security threat model. Data security and assets security are prime concerns for companies. The security threat model should accompany most mobility roadmaps. The threat-modeling process at each functional level makes sure the most critical areas are addressed while deriving a technical architecture.
At a very high level, security threats consider at the application layer (‘Data At Rest’ – off-line data on mobile) and transport layer (‘Data On The Fly’ – between mobile app and backend). The OWASP guideline has been recommended by many leading organizations for other security threat considerations.
Mobile security risk assessments provide great insight into overall IT practices and help in identifying security vulnerabilities in the system. They also ensure all the security compliance is properly implemented with effective monitoring and review mechanism.
3.5 Assessment Result
On successful assessment you should have clearly defined goals, deployment roadmap and the business case to support the investment.
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