Competitive advantage and enterprise mobility

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Mobile applications are the future desktop, with a myriad new security, integration and manageability issues that will complicate adoption. The successful implementation of basic enterprise mobility requires device support, a centralised point of control, effective security, cost control and the ability to protect end users from technical complexities.

TEnterprise mobility is rapidly moving from being a tactical benefit to a strategic imperative. The acceleration of this process has been driven by the consumerisation of technology, particularly smartphones and tablets, and the acceptance from both workers and employers that mobile devices increase productivity and enable operational benefits from mobile flexible working.

As enterprises realise the initial benefits of mobility, more and more are seeking to extend its capabilities. Key goals here include better customer engagement, real-time customer service, improved supply chain operations, enhanced partner and supplier collaboration as well as faster and more effective business decision-making. Traditional businesses relying on monthly or quarterly reporting are likely to face fiercer competition from innovative and flexible enterprises that use mobility for real-time customer engagement and business intelligence from their operations.

The benefits of enterprise mobility may be easy to explain, yet deploying it as a strategy is both technically complex and demanding in terms of human change management. Mobile applications are the future desktop, with a myriad new security, integration and manageability issues that will complicate adoption. The successful implementation of basic enterprise mobility requires device support, a centralised point of control, effective security, cost control and the ability to protect end users from technical complexities.

The successful deployment of basic enterprise mobility with these considerations at the core will provide a scalable standards-based platform. From this, enhanced mobility services such as M2M, mobile apps, mobile analytics, location-based services and integration with collaboration and social tools can then be developed. A badly-planned mobile architecture that cannot support rapid strategy shifts will hold the business back.

Whilst waiting to define an entire enterprise mobility strategy, some enterprises have deployed localised or point solutions to solve a particular business issue. In doing this, they have typically used proprietary tools for an easy and inexpensive way to manage an application. Some have even extended this tactic and have created multiple localised or point solutions. However, these tactical choices may not be an ideal long-term strategy, as localised point solutions do not scale, are expensive to manage, are data retentive and inflexible to change.

Enterprises are increasingly moving towards using a mix of cloud-based SaaS service providers and their own data centres to provide a tiered architecture that resolves integration and platform complexity in a middleware layer. Middleware has long been used in enterprise software architecture to manage complexity. Sitting between the applications and the client devices, a middleware platform enables communication between multiple applications on the back end with multiple operating systems on the front end. As a result, management is centralised, custom applications are secure and reusable and data can easily be extracted and shared.

A mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) enables a mobile infrastructure to easily scale and applications, devices, databases, workflows and user groups to be added or modified. The infrastructure is agile and changes can be made faster in order to solve urgent business needs and so ultimately achieve competitive advantage.

With globalisation, consumerisation of technology and the growth in emerging markets forcing enterprises to rapidly deploy mobility, many are looking to use managed services to solve complexity, guarantee service levels and benefit from faster deployments. Vodafone Global Enterprise is the ideal mobility partner and has a full range of managed mobility services and capabilities to help your business achieve competitive advantage utilising enterprise mobility.