|By Loren Corbridge||
|March 2, 2012 05:00 AM EST||
In 2011, the top mobile apps deployed within enterprises were for email, field service, CRM sales and workflow. Will these apps be the most beneficial for your business? Only you and your team know that answer because every mobile journey is unique.
In less than two minutes, most CIOs can describe three or more (different) mobile scenarios that could help their business be more productive, reduce costs, improve customer relationships or be more efficient.
- A bakery with national distribution wants to increase the number of deliveries each truck makes by receiving orders earlier in the day and pre-loading delivery trucks.
- A cleaning company wants to bill clients earlier in the cycle by collecting employees' daily onsite reports rather than monthly aggregated reports.
- A video production company needs to speed its responses to customers by streamlining the approval process for each review cycle, expense report, travel request and purchase order.
- An auto parts distributor needs to share its inventory and ordering across all partner sites to ensure that suppliers and customers have the parts they need.
- A retail company wants to improve its interaction with mobile-toting consumers by designing a mobile-friendly website.
Every company has a business relationship, need or process that can be improved with mobility. The most important question is where can mobility provide the biggest benefits in your business? The answer will depend on your user types and their mobile devices, existing business processes, current systems and platforms and known inefficiencies.
That's a big mix of variables. Six months from now you can shake those variables again and identify new mobilization projects that have sprung up based on the success of the initial deployments.
- At the cleaning company, executive management wants to see business analysis reports on a daily basis.
- The video production company wants the sales team to enter new work orders so that they can see a full view of the project pipeline and forecast potential revenue.
- The retail company is now ready to mobilize its inventory for its suppliers.
The list goes on and on because mobility breeds mobility. Once one group is mobile, others will want to mobilize their business processes and mobile recommendations will be coming into IT fast and furious. That's the amazing thing about mobility: It unleashes creativity and inspires people to think about nontraditional and better ways to do their jobs. A large jewelry company, for example, wanted to safeguard the samples that sales people were using during sales calls. The company realized it could slash its insurance costs by putting images of its inventory on mobile devices rather than traveling with the expensive jewels to different customer sites. That's the power of mobility.
Build Once, Deploy to Many
To meet the requests for mobility that start coming in from across the company, CIOs will need to invest in a flexible, end-to-end mobility solution that adapts to current and future mobility plans.
A word of caution, though - while speed and efficiency are important, you will want to develop a mobile business model that can be replicated easily. Some early mobile adopters were quick to mobilize a small business unit or a specific application, but they could not repeat the process when other groups asked for something similar. Without that ability to build once and deploy across many scenarios, mobility suffers and becomes costly in both capital and operational expenses.
Enterprises that deploy open, extensible platforms can replicate a pilot program for one unit or group out to other departments, across multiple mobile devices and operating systems and business applications. With this model in place, companies can cherry pick apps that will give them quick, early successes. A pilot program of 20 field personnel, sales people or executive management is often a good place to start. These groups are already highly mobile and eager to work on their mobile devices.
They are good test cases for developing UIs across multiple device types and operating systems, as well as initial integration to back-end systems. They can also provide feedback on data syncs between onsite platforms and mobile devices. Another important area to test is app enablement and onboarding. The first experience that users have with the mobile app is the most important. When large sets of users download the apps, the configuration, security, access profiles and all the initial set-up routines should be uniformly easy and user friendly.
Think Big or Go Home
According to a September 2011 Yankee Group report, companies are focusing their investments in mobile solutions on improving responsiveness to customers (48 percent), providing mobile access to existing applications to improve worker productivity (41 percent) and transforming business processes to improve operational efficiencies (30 percent). These companies have started their mobile journeys and are leveraging mobile as a way to combat economic challenges and ride what we all hope will be a return to a more profitable, business-friendly year.
Looking at mobility from a single perspective, as in mobilizing one app or giving mobile devices to a lone group, kills its potential. An end-to-end mobility strategy that addresses the entire life cycle from app development to deployment to support and training is a necessity for being better prepared and more competitive in 2012.
Truths About Mobile Business Apps
- Building mobile business apps is harder than building consumer apps.
- Mobile business apps leverage the features of the enterprise app that are most relevant to the mobile user. Not every feature and capability will be transferred to the mobile app.
- Mobile business apps are updated three to five times more often than traditional enterprise apps.
- Business apps often need offline data storage. More data means data syncs have to happen when there's a strong connection. One or two bars will not be enough.
- Mobile application management support can reduce the app onboarding process from days to minutes.
- Mobile application development platforms that support build once/deploy to many can reduce the development time for Android, BlackBerry and iOS platforms from months to weeks.
- In looking at plans for 2012, every new app deployment should have a mobile component.
- App development and app management must be tightly coupled to ensure success.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
Dec. 1, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 476
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Dec. 1, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 507
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 387
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 149
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Dec. 1, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 449
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Dec. 1, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 454
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Dec. 1, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 552
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Dec. 1, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 359
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Dec. 1, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 314
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 480
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 376
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Dec. 1, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 519
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Dec. 1, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 141
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Dec. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 583
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Dec. 1, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 486
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 399
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 257
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 400
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Dec. 1, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 515
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 627