Posted by:Srini Bhopal August 9th, 2012

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution is mobile application development. The requirements and expectations of mobile users across enterprises and industry verticals vary. Only the feedback of users, vision of senior executives, and an understanding of technology can lead to a strong mobile strategy that assures your mobile solution serves your present and foreseeable future needs.

Developing a mobile strategy

Developing a mobile strategy is far from easy. You need to understand how mobile will enhance business functions within your organization, anticipate training requirements, and decide on the development or procurement of the mobile application itself. Enterprise mobility is exciting and it leads to new ideas and plans for improving business and communications. At times, the advantages of mobility compel organizations to consider grassroots change in business models.

Here are some pointers for a strong mobile strategy:

    • Personal mobile devices versus corporate. Corporate devices are easier to configure, secure and manage. However, the costs of procurement, device support and application support can become too heavy. The use of personal mobile devices in corporate lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) in the long run as the enterprise only shoulders the app support costs.
    • Do not target one device or one mobile website. Obviously, corporate workers will own a range of mobile devices featuring Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, Symbian and others. Your mobile application should be accessible on all. So do you go for native apps or browser-based apps (HTML5)? The decision is based on budget, development effort and cost, ongoing support costs, and yes, the capabilities of cross-platform HTML5 versus native apps.
    • Ensure regulatory compliance and security. Industry grade security measures to secure corporate data and device are a given – enterprise remote wipe, user authentication control, encrypted data storage and transmission, etc. However, regulatory issues and legal compliances often break enterprise mobile apps. Ensuring the dual use of mobile devices while keeping private and corporate data separate and safe is of paramount importance.
    • Develop and implement strong IT security policies. Mobile applications can go a long way in reducing the load on IT teams with the use of secure code and security measures at application level. Executive heads need to assure security policies are strictly adhered to with trainings, and strict action against employees who try to circumvent them (for example, jailbreaking handsets, using GPS or cameras in sensitive locations, etc.).
    • Balance usability with security. It’s a delicate balance that has to be achieved. If using a mobile application involves too much security paraphernalia or process, users are discouraged from adopting it. The mobile application has to be safe, yet easily usable and accessible. Worse, saying ‘no’ to employees increases the risk of non-compliance, data loss and breaches.
    • Implement Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools. BlackBerry is most trusted by IT teams because it comes with enterprise-safe features and a BES. However, iOSand Android devices are more popular. These mobile OS providers also provide MDM APIs, and other security guidelines.
Be it difficult or easy, the time for developing a mobile strategy is now.

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