7 Key Features IT Should Look for in Enterprise Mobility Software

July 2, 2015
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It’s safe to say that the traditional model of “going to work” is a ticking time bomb. 

Service providers and freelancers are replacing full-time employees, and people are changing careers faster than ever. Companies require employees to be available 24/7, but they can align work with the priorities of their personal lives, working from many places. Clearly, organizations are undergoing some soul-searching for the ideal structure, and mobility is key.

It’s safe to say that the traditional model of “going to work” is a ticking time bomb. 

Service providers and freelancers are replacing full-time employees, and people are changing careers faster than ever. Companies require employees to be available 24/7, but they can align work with the priorities of their personal lives, working from many places. Clearly, organizations are undergoing some soul-searching for the ideal structure, and mobility is key.

In the face of all this change, however, one factor seems to be a constant: the personal mobile device.

In fact, for a majority of employees — from salespeople to consultants to factory workers — mobile is the only possible interaction with company systems. Gartner found that 40 percent of U.S. employees at large enterprises already use their own devices for work, and by 2017, half of employers will require employees to do so. So how can you address this?

What Your Mobile Solution Needs

Luckily, this reality offers great opportunities for organizations. Not only does a solid mobile infrastructure cost less than the traditional setup, but it also increases the engagement, commitment, and productivity of your employees. You won’t find team members complaining about that.

When it comes to approaching a mobile solution, the various options can be overwhelming. But if you look for these seven features, you’ll pick a winner:

1. Rich Notifications

Most user interactions are based on reactions: answering questions, approving requests, and confirming meetings. Even if it looks like users are initiating actions, chances are strong they’re actually reacting to the organization’s rules. 

Thus, your mobile strategy can benefit by turning the majority of tasks into notification-like activities. Instead of pulling a user into a procedure, like an app, you can push the request directly to him so he can take quick action. Additionally, the mobile platform should tailor its notifications and interactions to each individual within your company, based on role, geography, permissions, and so on.

2. A Unified User Experience 

When you provide mobile software to your employees, you’re competing for their attention. They’ll compare every stream to Facebook and Twitter and every internal app to the simplicity of a consumer app. The only way to ensure employees will adopt the mobile software is by providing a simple, intuitive, and unified user experience. And the user experience doesn’t just take place on a smartphone; it should extend to new factors like wearables. This allows for consistency and simplicity, regardless of where employees are or what device they’re using. 

3. Fast Time to Value

Your mobile platform must be fast — and I mean really fast — on every level. Solution performance is mandatory, but you also want a mobile platform that is agile and brings change to your organization. You can only be successful if you deliver value in a short period; otherwise, your IT team will be under pressure.

4. Native Frameworks 

There’s a reason all of your favorite mobile apps are built natively; it’s simply the best way to leverage the capabilities of a mobile device. Taking a shortcut with an HTML5-based mobile experience won’t give you the results you crave. While a web app may be less expensive, it can’t keep up, especially with the next generation of operating systems’ speech recognition, GPS, and behavior analysis capabilities. The gap continues to widen between a native app and a web app, so choose a solution that keeps you among the leading players in the game.

 5. No Code Updates 

Success should lead to celebration, not pain. So as more people adopt your mobility solution, they’re going to expect it to do everything. Thus, you’ll continuously want to expand your mobile services. But writing new code for more apps is just pure pain and doesn’t scale. Instead, choose a mobile solution with pre-built mobile use cases. Further, make sure your solution expands with your needs, including the capability to connect to your existing systems. You don’t write ERP or CRM code, and you surely shouldn’t write mobile code. Build or buy shouldn’t really be a question.

6. In-Context Security

Sixty-seven percent of managers cite security as the greatest hurdle in their mobile initiative, but don’t let fear dictate the mobility of your organization. Oftentimes, fear-based decision-making leads to short-term relief with long-term challenges. Instead, your mobile strategy should look at security in context. Some strategies need to be light and agile with no data on the device; others are complex and might call for an MDM solution. Examine the various levels of security, and don’t let a checkbox approach cripple your ability to stay agile and safe.

7. Back-End Integrations

Mobile isn’t happening in a vacuum, so your enterprise platform requires strong ties to your back-end systems like SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com. A poor understanding of business processes and systems is a major risk factor in implementing an effective mobile strategy. Pay close attention when determining whether the mobile solution provider has real back-end experience or has simply built some basic test integrations. Research shows the integration of systems is one of the main cost drivers in mobile projects.

With the proliferation of BYOD, mobile devices are always on hand. Your company needs to rethink its key enterprise services for a seamless mobile experience. Work and life are blending, and you need to address this merger to stay relevant. The mobile device is key to employee productivity.

Daniel Kraft is the president and CEO of Sitrion. Sitrion makes work better for millions of people, with groundbreaking mobile and social solutions, all tightly integrated with your enterprise backbone like SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.com. Daniel is a public speaker on topics involving the future of work, employee engagement, and mobile productivity and was featured on TEDx.