Guess we are all in agreement by now? As Tim Cook confirmed this week when launching the new iPad (not ‘iPad 3’ not ‘iPad HD’ not iPad Maxiumus Optimus Prime GT 7.3.1 X, just iPad, sounds simple, makes even more sense) we have clearly entered the Post-PC era. The App Effect changes our everyday lives and – in the wake of that – the way enterprises connect to their clients, employees and partners. Enterprise Mobility thus tops the priority list of CEO’s and CIO’s the like. Strategies are not only being made, but are executed on as well.
It is a quickly emerging area that will change our industry. So it is only logical for a company like ours to launch a specialized, global service line that builds on Enterprise Mobility best practices and accelerators that we acquired throughout the globe. Much to discuss about the topic and we invite you to do so, together with us in the forthcoming months. As an appetizer, here are 7 signs that we have come to appreciate as indicators for enterprises that actually understand the power of mobility and the post-PC era:
1. Not Another Channel. Enterprises need to understand the transformative power of mobility. A smartphone or tablet is not a trimmed-down version of a laptop: it inspires us to think far beyond the boundaries of current processes, organizational structures and established management theories. There is nothing against a mobile version of a website or an internal application. Good start. But paving the cow path just won’t bring the potential benefits that a more disruptive approach will.
2. On Par Experience. We are all spoiled consumers of apps that excite and engage us us with compelling user experiences. The thing is, when it comes to Enterprise mobile apps, organizations can’t really afford to produce anything less than that. An app with a clumsy and suboptimal user experience will annoy us, then have us quickly turn straight against it (and we might even share that with the rest of the world). You don’t necessarily have to win design prices with your new mobile apps. Just remember to never, ever go below what is considered on par at the App Store.
3. Inside & (even more) Outside. For sure, the mobility revolution brings excellent opportunities for enterprises to redefine the way their employees work and how they collaborate with their partners. So by all means, define and execute your B2B and B2E mobility strategies. But don’t forget that the real magic may be happening outside, with your customers. One single, well-chosen consumer app may create many more benefits than all of your internally focused apps together.
4. Trains versus Scooters. Mobile apps have a different lifecycle: they often need to be created quickly and should be updated frequently with useful additions. These dynamics are different from what the organization is typically used to, both at the IT department but just as much at the business side. It is a matter of understanding the difference between a Train and a Scooter (here is our manifesto, in case you haven’t read it yet) and creating the governance within the enterprise to deal with it.
5. BYO Reality. Face it: where you still may keep your employees satisfied – sort of – for a year or two with the company-issued laptop, you won’t cut it with mobile devices. They will bring their own, no matter what. Obviously, this is also the case with your customers who may change their preferences overnight in this whimsical, highly consumerized market. Ask RIM. Ask Microsoft and Nokia. Ask Apple (even Cook couldn’t believe his own success). Ask Amazon. So better make sure you have the development platform, the management tools and the agility to deal with the next craze in mobile devices.
6. Supersize. The most successful enterprise mobile apps seem to bring together everything that currently drives innovation and growth. Apps are supersized with real-time analytics and intelligence, business process management, rules-driven decision support, web services, composite workflows, personalization and – of course – social interaction. To top it off, mobile apps are particularly suitable to explore a (public) cloud strategy as they may require extremely scalable computing resources with a minimum of upfront investment.
7. Let Them Build. There will be many places inside and outside the organization with great ideas – and needs – for new mobile applications. It is tempting, particularly from the perspective of the central IT department, to carefully gather all requirements into a prioritized long list of mobile initiatives and then start to build the apps, one by one. But that will not do justice to the potential of the crowd, nor does it provide a short enough time-to-market. Focus on building a ‘hub’ platform instead, with a catalogue of enterprise-level services to catapult new mobile apps that are secure, well-integrated, manageable and consistent. Then actively support and grow the ecosystem around you in building the actual apps. True mobilization indeed.