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Enterprise Mobility More Than Just Smartphone Apps
Vinay Shukla
Co-founder & Director- Sales & Marketing-Endeavour
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Everyone has seen the bold predictions and hype filled IT news reports. The sale of smart phones has eclipsed the sale of PCs. The global mobile applications market is expected to be worth $25 billion in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 29.6 percent from 2010 to 2015. Furthermore the use of mobile phones to access the Internet is growing exponentially. It is expected that around 10 billion mobile internet devices will be in use by 2020. This growth leads us to the point where mobile phones will be the predominant ‘computer’ in use by the masses and in a dramatic rapid fashion opens up a new age of computing.

One common perception about this current wave of growth in mobile technology is that it is based, in large part, on the growth in use of mobile phones and the development of mobile applications; applications that reside on one’s mobile phone or tablet and operate in a stand-alone fashion. However, a more fundamental change is occurring. Enterprises are becoming mobile. Wireless and mobile technology is empowering enterprises to change their existing internal workflows and engage with external suppliers, partners, and customers in exciting new ways, new ways that bring together real-time updates with on-the-go workforce.

Enterprise Mobility consists of many components including the mobile phones, smart and otherwise, tablets, operating systems, wireless networks, security tools, middleware, application platforms, and mobile applications. However, it is important to note that true enterprise mobility draws upon the existing information stores of an organization - its legacy systems, its existing communication/social networks, its content management systems. It expands the boundaries of the 'enterprise architecture' to incorporate field activities and the systems that serve them. This new empowerment or IT discipline is generally called Enterprise Mobility.

Enterprise Mobility enables information to be captured and consumed at the point of the work activity— in the field or outside the standard office environment. This leads to better productivity and can improve decision making.

In highly mobile workers, such as health care professionals, engineers, or sales representatives, this can be transformative. The transformation is beyond productivity and cost savings. The transformation can create new business models, new sources of revenue and new operating models.

With the possibilities that surface, one begins to re-imagine how opportunities of work getting done in the field are endless. This coupled with what is being referred to as the consumerization of IT leads the consumer to become a stronger participant in the enterprise processes like never before. In the health care sector, the patient can be connected to the fragmented health system. In other industries the consumer effectively becomes a 'co-development' partner with the enterprise, providing valuable ongoing product insights that help shape new products and services. The long cycle from product conception to product development gets compressed in unprecedented ways. Hence, it is not surprising that many organizations are excited about bringing this capability to their stakeholders.

The use case implementation of mobility varies from vertical to vertical such as in a manufacturing industry, a simple use case would be to introduce technologies and approaches for management of supply chain. A usual manufacturing unit is spawned with an array of disparate separate management systems in the factories and production lines. This fragmentation makes it difficult to coordinate activities between factories and globally between various facilities and suppliers.

Mobility technology brings together the disparate applications to provide the relevant information for the workforce. Endeavour recommended the mobility solution to develop a solution that created a common standardized application layer knitting together the disparate systems and then to extend access to this new shared resource to mobile devices and technologies.

The resulting solution allowed the organization to have much stronger supply chain visibility, a well know term for supply chain experts. The solution now connects the factory floor from end to end. Business managers can now monitor total factory output, throughput, and work-in-progress levels in real time. No small thing for a company whose lifeblood is complex production processes. This new found visibility and control allowed for improved management and decision making. Adjustments during production process could be initiated more rapidly due to the information network that now connected it. These efforts spawned other innovative ways to proactively monitor equipment or deliver real-time knowledge/training in a target fashion in the field.

Another interesting story of mobility solution implementation is for a medical equipment manufacturer’s sales force.

The CEO proclaimed that he was tired of the sales reps "showing up with paper folders, clumsy laptops, and even with them often telling the customer that they could get that piece of information once they were back at the office." The CEO decided that each sales representative would carry only an iPad in the field; an iPad that was fully loaded with marketing collateral, product specifications, information on billing and accounts receivable, information on the customer’s preferences, and much more.

Achieving this objective required a holistic review of all the relevant information truly needed to mobilize the sales force. It required a rethinking of how information is collected, exchanged, consumed and managed. Again, not a small undertaking for a global manufacturer with thousands of sales representatives connected to thousands of operational and administrative staff.

Creating a new mobile application for the iPad tablet requires leveraging the medical manufactures with a wide array of information systems. The ‘mobile architecture’ needs to span the enterprise and connect to the legacy CRM/ERP systems, the financial systems, the content management systems, the social network and marketing organization — the information nervous system. Connecting systems is one step, establishing mechanisms to manage the systems is critical. Systems that manage user profiles, manage the publishing and distribution of information, systems that help manage the infrastructure and deployment of software, all needs to be established and operationalized. The project induces new policies, new practices, new workflows and most importantly leads to that essential new experience for the customer and the sales representative.

This is not all; the stories on use cases in mobility are endless. The innovative opportunities generated by mobility wave have enabled enterprises to leverage the latest technology & stay ahead of the curve. As an organization we are excited and energized by leading organizations that embark on this new and often daunting journey. We are happy to report that it’s getting the results anticipated. It is not all hype. Mobile technology is driving change in unprecedented and unforeseen ways. Mobile technology leads to changes in marketing, operations, social interaction, and in areas within the developing world put technology in the hands of people that rely on it as a means of survival.

Mobility is indeed the game changer of incredible economic and social significance – and more, much more, than just a wave of a lot of smart phone apps.

As mobility goes mainstream CIOs of large enterprise firms plan to have a well defined mobility strategy and implementation roadmap before they embrace mobile solutions. While mobile ecosystem is evolving, Endeavour clearly differentiates as Mobile Systems Integrator and helps enterprises solving their complex business problems with mobility advisory services, security & compliance assessments, development & testing services, and integration services. Our mobility specialists have advised organizations with identifying their MEAP and MDA needs, and helped with making selection (Build vs. Buy) and further integrating these systems into their enterprise environments.

Endeavour – The Mobility Company helps organizations develop their mobility strategy. It helps organizations clarify their vision for mobilizing their workers and then help them execute that vision through the use of a wide range of technologies

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