Taking the Risk Out of Enterprise Mobility

By choosing a solid mobile architecture you can give users the freedom to work on their smartphones and tablets without increasing organizational risk.

The mobile enterprise is emerging quickly, driven by consumer passion for smartphones and tablets and the understanding—from workers and employers alike—that mobile devices let workers get more done in less time.

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Additional enticements to mobilize aren't needed but they are emerging nonetheless: improved customer engagement, unparalleled customer service, improved supply chain operations and partner/supplier collaboration as well as faster, more effective business decision-making. Thereby transforming mobile from 'nice-to-have' into something necessary and core to long-term business strategy.

High Stakes, High Anxiety

With so much more riding on enterprise mobile solutions, companies need to exert proactive measures to maintain control over spiraling complexity amid fast-paced change. Mobile applications must be as effective as their desktop and notebook counterparts, even while a whole assortment of new security, integration and manageability hassles complicate every small undertaking. Getting mobile right requires a broad range of device support, a central point of control, a wide security net that ensures corporate data is never compromised, and the ability to shield end users from integration complexities.

Fortunately, these themes should seem familiar; IT has been through similar challenges in the past. Experienced IT executives know they must have an end-game in mind to scale their mobile operations effectively in a standards-based, platform-neutral way. Do it right, and the benefits are swift and plentiful. Do it haphazardly, and the company will be vulnerable to numerous, costly risks, including:

Disruption of business processes: The functional failure of any part of the mission-critical IT systems—of which mobile apps are now solidly included—can grind productivity to a halt and threaten service levels and revenue projections.

High cost: An ad hoc approach to building out the mobile application architecture will eventually result in time-consuming, manual intervention to maintain.

Lack of business agility: A poorly planned mobile architecture that cannot support dynamic business strategy shifts can hold the entire business back.

These risks are amplified by the inherent instability of the mobile marketplace, which, for the foreseeable future, promises continued upheaval in OS and platform dominance, lack of standardization and new security vectors.

Point Solutions: Building Silos

Point solutions are a natural way for enterprises to respond to new mobile management requirements in the absence of a holistic mobile strategy. Point solutions are generally adopted to perform a specialized operation for a particular line of business or workgroup, and they come with their own proprietary tools for managing the application (see Figure 1). In short, a point solution is an easy—and relatively inexpensive—way to accomplish a mobile deployment with insular, short-term objectives.

What's great about point solutions lies in direct contrast to the mobile strategy challenge facing today's enterprises. At a time when companies require long-term vision and a comprehensive plan to manage mobile growth and complexity, point solutions increasingly look like artifacts of a bygone era of mobile myopia.

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