10 Critical Factors for Evaluating an Enterprise Mobility Platform

by Boaz Hecht | Jul 03, 2017

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Solutions. The world of enterprise software seems to be a veritable jungle of them - yet when it comes to realizing a truly digital and highly productive mobile enterprise - many organizations still seem to be searching for the way to actually live this elusive vision.

The enterprise mobility market is flooded with various software vendors, but what kind of platform can actually solve the challenges that stand in the way of mobilizing your lines of business? Which approach can give your employees the mobile data and experience they need to intelligently and decisively execute on-the-job and effectively turn the promise of digital transformation into your new business reality?

To make sense of all of your options, it’s important to first define exactly what your mobility needs are; What should mobility actually look like to your users? What functions should they be able to perform? And which data sources do they need to access to make that happen?

What Are Your Mobile Platform ‘Must Haves’?

To realize the benefits of taking your business processes mobile, a mobility platform should effectively address these core considerations:

1. Usability

You can have every component and line up all of your proverbial ducks in a row - but none of it matters if your employees can’t quickly and easily view and act on the information they need to move your business forward.

Micro-moments & User Experience are a top priority. Having an app nobody uses is worse than no app at all.

Do you even know? Your platform should also provide granular analytics and usability metrics that quantify end-user adoption and delivery of business value.

2. Mashup & Integration

Whether you’re a full-blown enterprise or a growing small-to-medium (SME) sized business, chances are you already have many employees who each need access to multiple tools to effectively do their jobs.

You need a platform that can smartly and efficiently scale access to enterprise data across different business units and functions.

Example: Customer information from Salesforce 

+ shipment details from SAP on one screen.

3. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

True mobility costs extend beyond up-front investment. Generally Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADPs) that have Any coding require substantial integration and support. That can ramp up long-term costs to the degree that they’re no longer a cost-effective solution.

A sustainable solution gets integration right the first time out by smoothly connecting with all of your critical back-end systems and translating data into precise business functions.

Low Code = High Code = QA + Development

Cycles + Change Requests

4. Lifecycle Management

What will your IT need to expect in order to build, test, host, deploy and maintain your apps? Your development teams must manage, store, and integrate this data with other systems. They must also consider the type of device, OS, and how to deal with support and upgrades.

The platform vendor must verify that its services can provide extensive coverage of your existing needs and also integrate with your systems.

Deploying the first version is not the one you should measure. The real question is: 

How long did it take to iterate from 1st version

to 2nd version from 1st rollout, feedback loop

and 2nd rollout?

5. Integration with Other Enterprise Technologies

Apps need to be built with the integration required by all of your backend systems of record. If you need to run a mobile application management (MAM) service, for example, integrate to a custom ID Provider, and span SSO for some systems but not for others - you’ll need a platform that is compatible with these technologies.

You implemented ADFS but haven't yet added

Salesforce. Do you wait until that's complete to

build mobile apps?

6. Required IT Skills - Enterprise Developers & Citizen Developers FTW!

What in-house skills will you need to devote to utilize the capabilities of the mobile platform? 

Enterprises have lots of enterprise developers.

Can you empower them to build more apps?

Can you have a business analyst build some?

7. Time-to-Market

Forecasting the skilled expertise you need to develop and maintain apps at each stage of the lifecycle is critical in determining how quickly you can roll out production apps and start returning on your investment.

Rather than devoting several months to produce a single application, turning to a platform that lets you iterate apps and gain user input in parallel can let you reap mobility benefits in a fraction of the time while optimizing based on the actual feedback of your real customers in this context - your employees.

8. Security

There are many approaches in the market to securing your apps and data. The longstanding challenge here is how to protect your enterprise data while enabling access to mobile employees.

With this in mind, it’s important to verify that the mobility platform you’re considering includes full integration capabilities with Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) suites and adheres to your organization’s security, permissions, authentication, and authorization policies to ensure compliance with industry regulations.

Securing your data is not always about preventing hacking and breaches, but also about managing access between systems and user roles. How will users access different data sources within a single app? Will there be an SSO process? How else will credentials be passed onto the device? Furthermore, how will a VP see different data than the regional sales manager in the same application?

You’ll also want to go with security software that makes it easy to use the built-in features of the mobile device.

9. Native Vs. Hybrid Apps Vs. Mobile Web

Today, it's pretty much established that ideally you develop Native, and if you can't afford it but need cross platform capabilities you develop HTML5.

Here's the problem: 

iOS & Android developers aren't exactly

flocking to work in the enterprise.

Can you scale out your mobile development process and retain those developers?

How many apps can they build in a year?

What about in year 2 when they released 2

apps in the first year and they need to update

them while building more?

Is HTML5 good enough? It's cheaper, but will user adoption be lower as a result of a less good user experience?

10. Future Proofing.

By far the most important factor is how do

you begin a Mobile-first journey in a way that

lets you continue to evolve?

If you're using a remote desktop or screen scraping as a stop gap for 2 years - you're just delaying the inevitable aren't you?

Will you be need to build some apps custom and some apps without code and then also access the data via 3rd party apps?

What about branding? Do you have B2B customers you also need to provide apps for in the future?

Will the platform you choose enable you to evolve towards that capability?

To learn more how SkyGiraffe’s full stack and code-free platform delivers on these key considerations, get in touch with one of our solution experts or me on Linkedin, @twitteror email.

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