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This post is from the Apperian blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Dec 04, 2013 — App Management expert

Five Keys to Make the Most of Enterprise Mobility Efforts

App Management


For companies that are still shaping their enterprise mobility strategies, there are a myriad of factors to consider. Which enterprise mobile apps do we deploy first to meet our most pressing needs and deliver the greatest ROI? Will we buy off-the-shelf apps, develop our own or opt for a hybrid approach? What are the key mobile security concerns that must be addressed? We offer five recommendations for making the most of your organization’s enterprise mobility efforts.

1. Define a mobile business case and strategy.

Developing a business case for mobile will help the company to identify the parts of your organization that can benefit the most from enterprise mobile apps and investments (e.g. field sales) and to prioritize which apps to deploy first. This includes quantifying the business case with key performance indicators (KPIs) such as; anticipated productivity gains, reduction in errors/rework, improved customer engagement, and higher conversion rates. For instance, a retailer that wants to take advantage of tablets in sales to assist customers in finding and comparing product information could evaluate KPIs such as engagement levels with customers, the number of customer opportunities that led to conversions, changes in sales by location or salesperson, etc.

2. Create a scalable mobile infrastructure.

As new device types, operating systems, and apps are continually being introduced, including smartphones, tablets, and even wearable technologies, it’s essential for enterprises to “future proof” their mobile infrastructures. Building a mobile infrastructure that’s channel, device, and application agnostic provides greater scalability across different types of devices (smartphones, tablets, “rugged” devices, convertible tablets), application types (third-party or homegrown), development environments (Native, Hybrid, HTML5) as well as device ownership models (BYOD, company sponsored, company owned). Companies can create a more scalable mobile infrastructure in a number of ways, including establishing a common application development environment using a Mobile Application Platform (MEAP) that enables the enterprise to create mobile apps for multiple operating systems using a single code base. Companies can also package apps that are portable to many different device types and by deploying an enterprise app store that are platform and device agnostic.

3. Put a centralized application management and control structure in place.

IT needs a structured approach to manage and control enterprise apps to help ensure compliance, control costs, and improve performance and security. Taking a systematic approach to mobile application management (MAM™) can help diminish the complexity associated with enabling the variety of mobile devices and applications in use. Useful steps that can be taken to put a centralized structure in place include creating a baseline inventory and catalog of all existing and proposed applications for the enterprise to use. This involves ranking the top use cases for apps that could be used by different parts of the company along with those that are being used by competitors. Establish criteria and policies for which applications get funded, developed, or placed in the enterprise app store based on value, utility, quality, ease of use, and security. IT should also establish organizational ownership for mobile application deployment, delivery, and management.

4. Streamline the application development and deployment process.

Mobile platforms are becoming the primary means for employees to interact with digital assets and services. As a byproduct, the enterprise app store will become the primary communications channel over the next several years, supplanting emails, intranets, and portals. As such, it’s critical to develop ways to streamline the mobile application deployment process to deliver new apps while keeping up with ever changing customer expectations, shrinking app development cycles and rapidly evolving mobile operating systems. For its part, Cisco has used an enterprise mobility app catalog called “The App Fridge” to prototype, test and deploy its flagship “Sales Mobile” sales productivity app. The company has since updated the application eight times in less than two years with more than 12,500 sales employees. An outstanding 83% of commissionable sales employees use the app catalog on a voluntary basis.

5. Deliver a superior user experience.

The key to achieving measurable and transformational business results from mobile strategies is by continually focusing on enhancing the end user experience. One way to do this is by organizing cross-functional working groups to identify the functionality and features that targeted end users want from specific mobile apps and perform mobile app user testing to ensure that their needs are being met. When employees see that they’re part of the process and believe their needs are being addressed are more likely to adopt and actively use mobile apps once they’ve been rolled out. Also, it’s extremely beneficial to install a branded app store that provides employees a single, intuitive, and easy place to discover, download, and access approved applications. For more, download the "Enabling Your Mobile Salesforce" paper.

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