When it comes to enterprise mobility, most organizations have initially focused on:
- Mobile-enabling a few key existing enterprise systems in a secure manner
- Implementing an employee Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.
Many early initiatives revolved around Mobile Device Management (MDM). MDM is primarily about security and controls, such as trying to prevent unauthorized access to systems and data, enforcing policies, tracking and monitoring devices, wiping data from lost devices, and so forth.
Beyond MDM to Mobile Application Management
No doubt, your enterprise needs to concern itself with security, but that's far from sufficient in realizing the potential of mobile technology.
The next stage of enterprise mobile evolution is typically Mobile Application Management. Note that some in the industry think of Mobile Application Management as a refined version of MDM, applying security and policies at more granular level (i.e., at individual app level vs. the entire device level).
You'll want to take a more expansive view of Mobile Application Management – one that encompasses a lifecycle view of enterprise app development. This goes beyond security to include the management of several steps of the app lifecycle like app development, app testing, app distribution and more.
Now, this perhaps sounds similar to regular web application development. At a high-level yes, but there are many differences. We discuss this at length in the Devices and Development part of our Enterprise Mobile Technology Report, but one particular difference that stands out is how much more often mobile apps are updated (and related to it, how often apps are released with a small set of features but then functionality gets added iteratively). Now, the vast majority of those developing enterprise apps are re-trained/re-deployed web developers and this requires a mindset change on how to approach enterprise mobile apps.
That brings me to my next point. While fewer enterprises today believe they’ve got “mobility covered” because they bought an MDM package, many strategists continue to think that Mobile Application Management will suffice to ensure success. Sure, if you’ve got a sound Mobile Application Management strategy, you’re off to a good start (and would likely rank among the top-quartile of enterprises in terms of mobile technology maturity).
Beyond Mobile Application Management to Mobile Experience Management
Nevertheless, Application Management may be necessary, but it's not sufficient. The frontier is really Mobile Experience Management. Mobile Experience Management essentially turns the tables and looks at the challenge of mobility from the employee's or customer's perspective. At a technology level, crafting superior mobile experiences requires being able to tailor the app for a wide variety of device types, operating systems, telecom network conditions, user types, and use cases. Scalability considerations like app uptime and app responsiveness also enter the picture.
You already know that many enterprise apps, be they external consumer oriented (B2C) or internal employee oriented (B2E) leverage other enterprise systems and even external services in the cloud. So the user experience depends not just on the app’s uptime but the responsiveness of the underlying systems (some of which are not under your control) feeding your app. We detail such considerations in the Deployment and Delivery section of our Enterprise Mobile Technology Report. Apart from mobile middleware architectures, you’ll need to understand app analytics to understand how and where your app is being used and then accordingly tailor the mobile experience.
As you look to take your Enterprise Mobility strategy to the next level, shoot for Mobile Experience Management, not just Mobile Application Management.