1. What does “mobile-first” actually mean?
We live in a mobile-first world. Information and content is consumed mostly via mobile devices. 95% of businesses provide some form of mobility… These and similar claims are flooding our news feeds virtually on a daily basis.
But what does it actually mean for an organization to adopt a truly mobile mindset? It’s not just giving out devices to employees. Or launching a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiative, telling people to install a bunch of apps on their phones and tablets.
Instead, mobile-first should mean that an organization takes mobility into account already while considering its overall development strategy. The emphasis should be on how consistently various stakeholders can collaborate with the organization across devices. That also implies mobile solutions should be driven by business needs and processes specific for each organization. Furthermore, to deliver richer user experience, a mobile-first approach exploits features that are specific to mobile (GPS, accelerometer, cameras, biometric authentication, etc.) and are not present at traditional computing platforms.
Ultimately, mobility enhances the versatility and responsiveness of organizations in a relentlessly evolving landscape. And its benefits can be seen from increased employee productivity all the way to growing revenue.
2. To build or to buy?
That’s a question countless companies face when shopping for software to further boost their operations. And mobile solutions are no exception.
The mobile market is huge, fragmented and transforming constantly. So, an organization can either create an in-house team of developers or partner with a system integrator to get a suitable solution up and running. But once the mobile solution is prepared it should be kept in mind that proper deployment is backed with thorough testing.
For example, Resco Mobile CRM currently consists of 25 000+ lines of code and has been continuously developed since 2009 to work smoothly across iOS, Android and Windows. Simply put – in case of a reliable offline mobile CRM client – we don’t think you can build one from scratch in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, we don’t think developing such comprehensive mobile apps in-house for a single use case is a viable idea. It’s almost the same situation as if you decided to custom develop a speech recognition just for your usage. Such complex solutions need years of development and further months of real-life usage and quality assurance. And we haven’t even touched on the financial and personnel requirements of custom development.
Obviously, companies need solutions that are customizable to their specific needs. But that doesn’t mean they have to build them from the ground up. You can find an extensive comparison of custom development vs. packaged solutions in one of our previous blogs here.
3. Adapt to changing needs
Continuing in a similar vein, a mobile solution is never “finished” – apps require continuous maintenance and tweaking to stay on top of new versions of operating systems, range of mobile devices and their features. And most importantly, on top of an organization’s changing needs. Many companies don’t realize the long-term plan they must have for an enterprise mobile solution. Things change and your solution must be nimble enough to ride the waves. Because those waves won’t be merely some design trends, but internal requirements of what works best for the users.
In the end, if you have to re-build your entire solution with every OS update, it‘s definitely not scalable or cost-effective. But with a reliable partner, companies of any size and industry can have a mobile solution that’s continuously updated as requirements change with devices, operating systems, employees and the overall company evolution.
4. Security and mobile device management (MDM)
From e-mail communication, through personal banking details, to business data that provides the essential competitive advantage – mobile devices today contain volumes of sensitive information easily comparable with any computer. All while the risk of misplacing a mobile device is much higher than with desktops or laptops.
Businesses invest millions in ways of protecting their information systems. However, when it comes to mobility the vast majority still relies on standard Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools (e.g. Air Watch, Intune, Mobile Iron, etc.). The issue with MDM applications is that they aren’t built directly into the productivity apps they protect, which limits the depth of user actions and processes that can be monitored. Plus, standard MDM tools can protect the device as long as they are connected to the Internet. But once there’s no Wi-Fi, cellular reception, or other form of Internet connectivity, the device is left in the dark.
To ensure truly airtight security, security features combined with mobile app management (MAM) capabilities that are built directly into the solution, have become essential. These can be entwined deeply within an app itself – offering much more granular security, even without the need to install separate third-party tools. The local database should also be encrypted by default. And remotely wiping/locking the app, overview and management of devices, geo-fencing, biometric authentication, are all sought-after capabilities to have integrated directly within your solution.
You can learn more about mobile security challenges and how Resco handles them in another of our earlier blogs here.
5. User experience vs. enterprise requirements
Whether it’s consumer or business applications, mobile users expect all apps to behave similarly. Enterprise end users might acknowledge the need for higher level of security or incorporation of certain processes. But as with any other apps, the defining parameter for an enterprise mobile solution is its actual usage. And how easy it is to use an app is a key factor affecting user adoption.
Make sure your solution has all the functionality you need, but it’s not difficult to figure out. There’s no point in adding features nobody will use, just because you can. Instead it’s best to focus on what your team will be actually using.
Making the solution as graphic and eye-catching is another important aspect. It’s human nature to absorb visual information more quickly and effectively than plain text. For example, for sales reps, the ability to open up a mobile CRM app and immediately see at what stage all their deals are, is a simple yet powerful incentive.