Enterprise Mobility

Enterprise Mobile Apps – Issues Companies Face

Compaq_portable

Companies face a lot of issues while planning or working on Enterprise Mobile Apps. We have come across numerous companies which have tried to introduce Mobility solutions but have faced problems. Most of these problems could have been fixed if careful planning was done before the project started.

Based on our experience at Quytech, we have highlighted the top 5 below.

1. Should the company keep or abandon the existing infrastructure

A lot of companies have legacy systems (ERPs, CRMs) which they are still using. There is no need to abandon them. Enterprise Mobile apps need to be built in a way that integrate with the existing systems.

The IT Managers should look for Enterprise Mobile solution providers who can integrate with the existing systems.

Most of the times the solution providers will try to push their systems but will not take responsibility for the integration. This situation becomes difficult for smaller companies who do not have an in-house team for integration. The IT managers are left with multiple systems who do not talk to each other. This becomes a challenge later on.

For such cases my suggestion is to look for an Enterprise Mobility vendor who can integrate it for you or can bring along an integration platform for the purpose.

2. People challenges

Every Enterprise Mobility project has multiple stakeholders. There are the IT people who need to maintain the systems running and ensure that the newer software fits in the existing system. Then there are business heads who would like to ensure the new projects fulfils all their requirements. And the last is the finance people who will fund the project and need to ensure the ROI of the project.

Ideally it’s the business people who initiate a project. They need to ensure that their team takes the project seriously and is able to use the Mobile Apps. If the end user doesn’t assimilate the mobile app, the project will fail. So, usage is the key. The key is to look at impediments to usage like crappy user interface of the app, takes too much time to download or other such problems.

3. Finding the Cost versus Gain of the project. The ROI issues.

The Return on Investment is what drives businesses to invest in Mobile Apps.

It’s the responsibility of the business head to make sure that the ROI is guaranteed. As a rule of thumb, the return should be at  least 3 times the cost of the investment. The ROI needs to be calculated either in terms of direct cost savings or indirect savings like increase in retention or productivity.

4. The Integration issues

There are 2 categories of Enterprise Mobile apps:-

A) Apps which simply extend the  current business process to mobile e.g HR approvals.

The business logic stays in the existing system and the mobile app just provides a new way of interacting with the enterprise apps. They are easier to integrate and use.

B) Apps which create new business processes enabled by the features of mobile e.g location tracking, information capture via photographs etc. A whole set of new business processes get enabled with mobility and the existing system may not have enough capability to handle it. This needs careful integration with existing systems and need to be planned carefully.

5. Usability (UX) issues.

Usability is very important for the people to use them. On Mobile there are 2 very important aspects that any enterprise should consider while developing mobile apps:-

a) Network connectivity – Employees may not find network connectivity at all times. There could be places like basements, underground tunnels where there is no network. So, it’s important to ensure that the mobile app can work offline. Only in cases of non critical uses should the apps be designed to work online only.

b) Battery usage – The battery consumption is the most important and also the most neglected aspects while designing mobile apps. The most frustrating feeling is when you have an important meeting to attend and your phone’s battery is about to die.  There are apps which have been built without taking battery consumption into mind. Enterprise Mobile Apps should consider that problems of field workers and reduce battery drain.

c) Too many features – sometime the business heads are too eager to provide every feature at once to the employees.  It takes time for people in the organisation to get used to using mobile apps for business.  It’s always a good practice to un clutter the app. Keep the app simple and to the point. The user should be able to get to his work the moment he/she opens the app. The attention span is very limited and its important that the work is done quickly. In case needed, create more than app for each purpose.