Mobile apps have a tendency to feel like a lightweight project, it should be if the kids out there making mobile apps by the dozen on the app stores, is it not? A quick prototype by the internal team even pushes this thinking further. Creating a mobile interface is indeed not a problem by itself. However, the real complexity starts to reveal itself when IT teams realize that enterprise apps quickly grow into a core part of the enterprise IT eco system. Distribution, Management, Lifecycle handling, Health checks, Analytics, Remote user support are some of the areas that start to raise their questioning heads once a mobile app is rolled out. Hence always consider a medium to long term view.
2. Choose long term flexibility over off the shelf apps
When pressure from business is high, with a constrained budget and a short time to deliver, an off the shelf solution is very tempting for IT. Typically signed up on a per user license and a promise of immediate roll out. It takes only a short period for the business to come back with customization requests. Packaged solutions though built to solve a specific purpose quickly, are seldom flexible for change. This rigidity paints the IT into a corner making it a failed initiative. Even if the business need is short term, a solution that is suitable for long term enterprise mobility is a better choice as mobility is here to stay and grow in your enterprise.
3. Focus on building a mobility solution than a tactical app
Considering the above two arguments, a mobile app built to spec by an outsourced team seems to be the answer. However this approach too is an impending pit fall. Outsourcing a custom app does not solve the problem of long term viability of the solution, including maintainability and lifecycle management. A custom app spec might cover only the business needs but ignore the lifecycle needs, if a spec is chalked up to cover lifecycle needs the project becomes unviable for the constrained budget that is available. Choose a mobility platform that provides deployment, maintenance, lifecycle handling and analytics out of box and build your app on that platform.
4. Mobility strategy is only as good as your distribution channel
An enterprise app unlike consumer mobile app has a broad yet targeted user group. User groups might overlap over multiple enterprise apps and would also be based on authentication and authorization of the user group inside that enterprise. In addition, enterprise apps might span customers, employees and partners all in one context and might have to behave differently for each of these different target user groups. Apps would need to have a solid mobility platform base which is built to address these inevitable needs in an enterprise context. Choose a mobility platform that provides out of box authentication, authorization, security and role based deployment.
5. Post deployment visibility is the core of mobility strategy
A mobile app once deployed unlike a traditional web app is no longer under control if the IT team is not careful. If the app has been deployed into this unknown space then it is very difficult for IT to even figure out whether the said mobile app is a success. In fact lack of this key knowledge spells doom for the mobile project. It is imperative that once deployed, the IT is on top of the specifics of the mobile app post deployment, ranging from adoption rate to error handling to remote support to in depth user & business analytics. Choosing a mobility platform that helps the IT team have post deployment visibility via analytics, ensures the success of their mobility initiatives and enables IT to promote and expand their mobility footprint successfully.