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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Focus on “First Things First”

by Brandon Rhymes

The enterprise mobility purchase is complex.  Buyers are faced with an array of considerations - What devices to buy?  What is MDM, and do I need it?  What applications do I need?  Should I pursue a best of breed approach, or find a one-stop shop?

Let's address some of these considerations:

1. Mobile Devices - Face it, we can't accomplish anything with mobility without mobile devices.  Device selection is an important consideration to any mobile project, but once you've identified a device for a particular application the incremental expense associated with this aspect of the purchase is relatively easy to factor.  Devices are a non-discretionary component of a mobility purchase, but a device by itself in the hands of your field agent does nothing to solve a business problem.  Devices are a secondary consideration to the mobility purchase.  Eventually, we have to turn our attention to the business applications that will run on the device.

2. Mobile Device Management (MDM) - Now that you've bought all of these devices for your employees, how do you keep track of them and make sure they don't walk away putting your mission critical data in the wrong hands?  The benefits of enterprise mobility are significant, but there are risks.  MDM solutions enable you to know what devices are on your network, who is using them, and how.  They also allow you to remotely wipe lost devices and geo-fence devices and the applications on them.  Advanced MDM solutions provide application distribution (app store) and data management capabilities.  However, you would never need an MDM solution if you hadn't identified a business problem to solve using those mobile devices.  Furthermore, a capable mobile application development platform will provide many of the functions found in the MDM solution.  MDM solutions are a secondary consideration to the mobile purchase.  It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that by itself, MDM provides limited value.

3. Mobile Applications - The value provided by your mobile solution comes entirely from the business logic encoded into your mobile applications combined with employee compliance with the processes prescribed by that business logic.  Applications are the single most important consideration of any enterprise mobility purchase.  Focus on identifying your application strategy first, before entertaining questions about devices and device management.  The reality is that if you get everything else perfect and screw up the application, users will reject it and success will be unattainable.

4. Best of Breed - In his acclaimed book Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces what he calls the "Hedgehog Concept."  The idea behind the Hedgehog Concept is that the world's great companies identify the activities about which they are most passionate and at which they are great, and then focus their energy on those activities.  Great companies achieve competitive differentiation by perfecting that at which they are great. Think about this when considering whether or not to adopt a best of breed approach to enterprise mobility.  When prospective customers come to me and say "we want a one-stop shop for mobile that does everything" (commonly referred to as "one throat to choke"), I know right away that what this prospect is saying to me is "we are content with a mediocre solution to our problem."  Why would anyone accept mediocre for mobility, when so much is on the line?

Focus on what's critical to the enterprise mobile purchase before exploring secondary considerations.  Identify your application strategy and the partner from whom you will purchase applications first, before exploring questions about devices and MDM.  Accept that the success or failure of your mobile efforts will come down to this choice.

@hand started life 15 years ago as a mobile application development platform.  We are passionate about mobile application development. We went so far as to patent the IP surrounding how we develop and deploy the applications we deliver to our customers.  Consequently, @hand does not sell devices or MDM tools.  We'll leave those products to the experts.  @hand’s single focus is the development and delivery of high-value, business-transformative Field Mobility Applications.

Contact us to learn how @hand will help you realize your enterprise mobile application strategy today.
 

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