Enterprise Mobility and customer centricity themes has been invading enterprises to boost business productivity and agility for quite some time. The initial adoptions of digitization and workflow modernization has been successful in achieving part of the business efficiency goals.
Industry leaders like Facebook, Apple and Google has been pushing end users and tech audiences to embrace newer products and gadgets that automate day in a life scenarios of people. Adopting new devices were never a challenge as studies show, a part of consumer population change their devices every 10-18 months. If the devices added complexity to enterprises for adoption, applications compounded it by the value it brings to business and people.
Technology is constantly getting better and cheaper. On the other hand, the mountain of data in which companies can dig for knowledge is growing, thanks to smartphones and sensors. The “data-fication of the world” seeds in the necessity of machine learning and the analytics that solve complex problems which was never attempted before. “The AI age is now beginning, hot on the heels of the mobile age”, said Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, who applies the thinking as virtual assistants being available at multiple devices and gadgets controlled by the Google ecosystem. Facebook has been piloting AI in home automation which takes the level of intuitiveness to the next level. A recent view of digital platforms from Capgemini & Gartner highlights the key aspects of a holistic transformation and the key capabilities needed by businesses to face tomorrow's challenges.
Since, mobility is driven by users as opposed to what is convenient for enterprises, following are some of the key aspects users expect enterprise’s digital strategies to align for them;
· Omnipresent Workflows with application state retained across devices and web: Users prefer to use different form factors for different moments. On every engagement user expects to resume the same application state as left on previous session on any channels. This enhances user experience and brings in seamlessness in engaging with enterprises.
· Form factor support is a necessity than a constraint : While traveling short distance , a smartphone will be preferred , whereas while traveling long distance, the same user may prefer a tablet and while walking a wearable may be preferred. Formfactor is a function of convenience but workflows should be essentially enabled on any formfactor devices end users embrace .
· Messaging is the default communication: Only 25% of the Gen Z users are happy with the existing communications provided by their organization in a recent survey by 8X8 communications. Rather than traditional communicator and email app, users prefer chat tools for convenient communications. A contextual in-app chat client is preferred with a status of received/read or taken action.
· Budding love for Wearables: Gen Z is enticed to use the latest wearables. Wearables attract all smart phone users as it the intersection of fashion, convenience and smartphone culture. This can be a key aspect for enforcing users to extend the enterprise mobility offerings over wearables
· Self service meets Virtual Reality: Users have shown keen interest in getting assistance through virtual reality to complete processes which becomes essential when the processes are new. A contextual interactive assistant is foreseen to replace in-persons instructors/guides.
The key to the success of an enterprise mobility strategy is to make the development operations smoothly running by incorporating all the business agility needs. Organizations thus need to keep re-inventing their enterprise mobility strategy, mobility offerings and new technology adoptions. Following is a short must-do list of such re-invention which an enterprise needs to strategize:
· App-Factory Eco systems : The need for cleaner, crisper and seamless interfaces which remain consistent across highly varying form factors from mobile to desktops across a wide variety of use cases, compels organizations to strategize the creation of an app-factory. The app factory will define all guidelines, prototype responsive experiences, define common architecture and design frameworks, create re-usable assets e.g., authentication, Social Media Integration, Cloud Storage etc, create a delivery train that can accomodate multiple use cases mobilization.
· Highly secured Cloud Systems and Services: To provide a seamless access across multiple form-factors, app state and app data needs to be stored or cached on cloud or equivalent middleware with versioning without a explicit user save actions. This service hub approach enables rapid application deployments in an efficient fashion with quick services availability.
· Security Hardening by using biometrics for authentication : With ransomware being one of the hottest buzzs, security for any Enterprise App is most important factor. Enterprises can tie-up with providers/ consume available service ecosystems for biometric authentication which still creates a chill down the spine for hackers before attempting a shot into it. In India Telcos e.g., Reliance Jio, Airtel etc. now use biometrics as an alternative to taking signatures or photos for nee client enrollment. The details are validated against the Aadhar card details. Biometric systems getting deployed in scale proves the wide acceptance of these technologies in main stream usecases .
· DevOps as an enterprise compliance instrument: Enterprises will need to prioritize DevOps for enterprise compliance and reduce human intervened operations and reporting. Rather than getting the tests, compliance checks, vulnerability checks etc. delayed by a manual process, DevOps facilitates KPI visible operations, that creates more predictive program health even before beta versions rolls out to market.
· In-App Messaging Tools: A context specific chat is more relevant than a general communicator or email based messaging technique when a service scenario emerges for a workflow. Enterprise Architecture will have to strategize to provide an in-app chat for each of the app in their offerings. Integrating with chat bots for general queries and shifting the context to real world assistance seems to be the way forward.
· Openness to embrace new devices and technologies: To keep the users delighted, an organization needs to cater to all Gen Z hardwares e.g., Wearables, tablets, phablets, phones, desktops etc and the associated innovations. The expectation of customer centric features in B2E/B2B use cases pushes mobile solutions to provide experiences that improve productivity.
· Specific device strategy per user groups- The KYU: The desire to support all OS e.g., Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry, Bada, Mac etc., apps often land up having the lowest common denominator for the need of a minimum viable product rollout. Rather, its advisable to target user groups for specific application –the KYU – know your user. Currently, Android & iOS are the major smartphone platforms followed by Windows. Platform specific accelerators should also be factored in while targetting a specific user group e.g., if the target user group uses an iPhone, fingerprint scanning can be leveraged for authentication.
Enterprise Mobility Users exert their influence through their preference/convenience, Organizations need to continuously re-invent their digital strategy. Evolving the mobile approaches is essential for embracing successful digital strategies. However, keeping the users engaged in mobility will lead to a new generation or re-surgence of enterprise mobility in solving complex digital centric challenges.
04 Jan 2017
Enterprise Mobility Architect