In a recent article by Steve Levy of Virivo Software, he affirms what we have been hearing from our enterprise customers over the last couple of years, that the world of mobile app and website development has now gone beyond just supporting the consumer to now supporting their own mobile workforce. And not just BYOD, but there has been a noticeable increase in focusing on improving workforce performance and efficiency through investing in IT infrastructure and mobile app development for what we call ‘internal apps’ – namely those you wouldn’t recognize or see except when working for particular company. From submitting expense reports to monitoring timecards to supporting sales efforts, enterprises are realizing the importance and benefit they can achieve by supporting such efforts.
Mr Levy write “going mobile meant having a phone and access to email, contacts and web browsing, but little else. For laptop users, mobility has often required a virtual private network connection just to get at email or data held back at the office.
But the good news is that things are changing.
According to Forrester Research, 29 percent of the global workforce are now “anytime, anywhere information workers” who use three or more devices, while Gartner predicts that mobile app projects will outnumber PC-focused app projects by a ratio of 4:1 by 2015.
Starting this year, I believe we’ll see a rapid acceleration in the development and use of custom enterprise mobile apps, transforming the way in which organizations work. This trend will be fueled by the following key factors.
- Off-the-shelf apps will become commonplace
CRM and ERP vendors already offer off-the-shelf mobile apps as standard – soon, sales force automation apps will be as common as e-mail on mobile devices. This signals the maturity of packaged mobile apps, and increasingly they are gaining acceptance and credibility by delivering real improvements in business efficiency.
- The mobile ecosystem will encourage custom app development
In parallel, more companies will develop custom mobile apps that are tailored to the specific needs of the organization, and can integrate with many types of back-end systems. This is possible because software companies are delivering powerful mobile infrastructure platforms with integrated security capabilities, such as remote wiping of data from lost devices and the ability to keep sensitive data on back-end servers.For example, Invesco Canada quickly developed a mobile app that gives financial advisors secure access to data from a back-end client data system, and allows them to send clients marketing collateral. First Solar has built multiple enterprise mobile apps, including one that enables users to document their daily plant-floor “walk arounds” to determine what areas need improvement. For these apps to be successful; they need to both connect with multiple data sources and keep corporate information secure.
- Personal infrastructure will drive corporate success
With the availability and rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, especially by knowledge workers, businesses are increasingly putting BYOD policy at the heart of their mobile strategy. Companies recognize that BYOD presents a security risk and can make things harder for the IT team, but if executed correctly, these challenges can be addressed. Ultimately, the benefits of being able to work with your employees in such a deep and intimate manner – with a device that they keep by their side at nearly all times – far outweighs the costs involved.
So what does this mean for businesses?
Never before have businesses had the opportunity to interact so closely with their employees. The rise in personal infrastructure through the adoption of smartphones and tablets, along with improvements in mobile technologies and the growing availability of business apps, are creating new ways for businesses to empower their workforce.
One thing’s for sure: organizations can no longer procrastinate about mobilizing the enterprise. Taking charge of their mobile initiatives can significantly enhance productivity and positively impact the bottom-line.
So stop flirting and embrace enterprise mobility.”
With this new growth and expansion comes a new level of expectation by the workforce that these new apps will work, work globally, and provide the tools they need to become more efficient and productive. This is where cloud testing comes in. IT organizations in particular who suddenly have to staff and support these new apps may not have the tools or resources to perform adequate testing on a global scale all while supporting different OSs in different regions around the world. It’s a daunting task to say the least. To read more about cloud mobility, check out a new article by DeviceAnywhere on mobile app development in the cloud.