Gaurav Vakharia has over a decade of experience in the IT industry. He has worked in software development, IT business development & consulting, marketing automation, and demand generation across US, Europe, and APAC regions. As a Senior Business Strategist at ZYMR, Gaurav manages all lead generation initiatives, generating sales opportunities through lead qualification, prospecting, lead nurturing and pipeline management.
This article was originally published on the ZYMR Blog.
With over 2 billion global smartphone users, IT services lead the advance of mobile in the enterprise IT ecosystem. Organizations have recognized this trend and have begun to use mobility for the growth of their businesses.
Smartphone Users and Penetration Worldwide, 2013-2018, in billions, % of mobile phone users and % change
We see this change in places where point solutions like MDM, MAM and MIM are converging to become one and enabling the dissemination of enterprise apps to devices in enterprise app stores. However, before the deployment of any solution, a thorough vision creation process for mobile app development is necessary. Here we will discuss the importance of a mobile app development strategy assessment, and the steps required to conduct one, for any mobile initiative.
So far, only a handful of organizations have demonstrated a committed mobile strategy. As organizations explore mobility in the enterprise space, their success heavily depends on the ability to scale up application functionalities, the creation of application support systems, the support for various user group needs, safeguarding investment against the risk of technology changes, and the skill sets required to manage these wide variety of tools in the rapidly changing mobility landscape. Then there are typical but essential requirements of leveraging existing infrastructure scalability, app data security, roadmap, overall manageability, etc.
According to Gartner, mobile apps will be downloaded up to 268 billion times, resulting in revenues of over $77 billion by 2017. Most organizations have dabbled with PoCs and pilots around mobility and now have, or are in process of crafting, an IT strategy with developing software with mobility as its central focus. The mobility vision roadmap needs to capture the future, integrating and aligning all the systems with mobility. The challenge for IT leaders would be to align their mobile strategy and IT vision.
Key points to consider:
- Roadmap for end-user mobility and BYOD for employees
- IT infrastructure readiness for mobile enablement
- Multitude of legacy applications and compatibility
- Lack of varied skill sets for cutting-edge development and management
- Risk of investment in tools, technology, platforms
- Support for deployed open source and licensed tools/platforms
- Understanding the monetary impact and ROI
Organizations need to evaluate the following:
- Organizational vision for mobility enablement for its functions, employees, and customers
- Choice of deployment approaches – architecture, platforms, and tools
- Optimization of the functionality blocks to achieve optimum reusability to achieve faster development and time to market
- Roadmap to enable smooth transition of infrastructure, apps, users, process, tools, and skill sets across functions and geographies
- Business case encompassing the above with the TCO and ROI
Guidelines for Assessing your Mobile App Development Strategy
Mobile strategy assessment is the reality check required for fine-tuning your organization’s mobile roadmap and achieve business goals. There are 5 key steps, at the end of which, organizations can clearly assess the soundness of their strategy.
Mobile Strategy Assessment Key Steps
Define Mobility Goals
The most successful mobility deployments are those that return the most benefits. To define where to best apply mobility in the company, start with a list of the most strategic goals. It can be allowing customers to shop at your store at any time i.e. B2C, or mobile presence can boost your company branding, or enable mobility for your employees and enhance the productivity i.e. B2E application.
A series of focused workshops with senior leaders should ideally be done to crystallize strategic mobility goals for a given time period. Once these goals are validated and vetted, the planning phase can begin with the involvement of relevant stakeholders in charge of achieving the respective goals in their specified areas. A vigilant measurement must include the cost of developing the application, providing support for the application, and also the cost involved in changes in internal processes and system by inducing mobility. It’s important to review the mobilized IT processes at regular intervals to ensure that they stay aligned with your mobility goals.
If the Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive (MECE) categorization principle is followed to prioritize the functionalities that should go mobile, the prioritization criteria will be defined and all functionalities will be mapped to the criteria. A mobile application development roadmap should ideally be defined based on such a categorization.
For example, high-level categorization is done based on B2C, B2E and B2B needs. Further categorization is done based on ROI and TCO, etc. Also, deriving base functionalities, such as user identity, that are applicable to most application modules should be considered at the highest priority. Based on feature prioritization, application development phases are defined.
Evaluate Existing Infrastructure
New mobile initiatives will need more infrastructure. Depending on existing infrastructure distribution across locations, the number of user groups, the number of apps and local compliance requirements, the infrastructure needs may vary. The state of existing infrastructure, their renewal cycles, and legacy applications also play a critical role in defining the mobile app development roadmap. Developing a few APIs would be enough to cater mobile needs, but is there a need to develop an entire mobile gateway? What user capacity is required now and how can it be scaled up or down based on future demand?
A Company Infrastructure
Cloud is playing a bigger role on the IT infrastructure and application side. The way leading IT organizations are adopting cloud indicates that the evolution of mobile platforms and infrastructure will rely heavily on cloud computing in the future. Does the company’s existing infrastructure support cloud computing?
The device diversity and multiple platforms present the security risks and challenges. With the rising demand for BYOD, organizations want to cater to employee needs without compromising their IT security. Organizations require their applications to encompass all security checks i.e. user authentication, data encryption, app-level policies, compliance monitoring, and management. If risks are not identified during the planning phase, organizations may see the loss of sensitive data, loss of time while system and devices are down, additional resources in cleaning the infected data and possibly a huge financial impact.
A detailed security audit needs to be done to assess mobile-related security policies, procedures and their operating effectiveness. Forward-thinking organizations conduct security audits that also incorporate the security threat model. Data security and assets security are prime concerns for any organization these days, and so the security threat model should accompany most mobility roadmaps. The threat-modeling process at each functional level makes sure the most critical areas are addressed while deriving a technical architecture.
At a very high level, security threats are considered at the application layer (‘Data at Rest’ – off-line data on mobile) and transport layer (‘Data on the Fly’ – between the mobile app and backend). The OWASP guideline has been recommended by many leading organizations for other security threat considerations.
Mobile security risk assessments provide great insight into overall IT practices and help in identifying security vulnerabilities in the system. They also ensure all the security compliance is properly implemented with effective monitoring and review mechanism.
On successful assessment, you should have clearly defined goals, a deployment roadmap, and the business case to support the investment required for building a mobile application for your organization.
Mobile App Development Strategy Assessing Results
How ZYMR Can Help