Enterprise Mobility App Management

If you a single factor which has brought mobility in limelight today it is Apps. There are millions of free and paid apps available for various mobile devices today catering to every changing demand and likes of users. Enterprise mobility is not untouched from this app revolution, infact enterprises are trying to harness the full benefits of mobile apps to make their workforce more productive and efficient.

Power of Apps

Mobile phones without Apps will add little value to workforce productivity and same if the case when a wrong App is chosen to serve the purpose. Thus it is not only important to chose an App it is important to chose a right one.  Today, based on demand of the enterprise and budget available one can choose from readymade Apps with small customizations of can build custom Apps themselves. The choice also depends upon how critical the task App is going to do and how much control the company wants over the app.

Apps used by mobiles today can be categorized in following ways:

  • Making mobile friendly versions of existing web applications : These are the applications enterprises are running through web and now would  like them to be accessible through mobiles too. For example a medical rep. who was using his PC to connect to server to provide daily reports can now use mobile phone to do the same. These are easier to implement in mobile environment.
  • Complex applications : There are certain complex applications which have to interact with other applications such as CRM etc. These require higher app development skills and are generally device dependent.
  • Simple apps : There are simple tasks such as workflow creation, etc. done through PCs which can be shifted to mobiles too. These apps are not as extensive as complex applications described above.
  • Consumer facing apps : All the above three categories are for workforce of an enterprise. but certain enterprise also want their consumers to access applications (otherwise available through phone or PC) through mobiles. For example, telecom companies may want users to pay their bill through mobile or utility firms may develop mobile apps to provide information and collect payment. etc.

Above categorization is not exhaustive nor it is the only one possible. It is just one of the many ways one can divide mobile applications.

App Management

Once a mobile app is available, it has to be properly managed. In most cases this is where chaos starts happening if app managers are not careful. Here is the reason why – most enterprises take decision to go mobile on a trial basis, i.e. they will chose couple of devices, approve them for usage and then chose most critical apps required and start using them.

But as there is little planning, as enterprise requirement keep changing, the Apps and devices keep changing. After some time there are several devices, all of them may not support all Apps. Not only this, there are various versions of a single App. running based on when it was installed and last ungraded. Thus soon the system may become messy. Thus adopting mobile devices in enterprise on a piecemeal basis is not the best strategy.

A better approach is a platform based approach where using a single platform, mobility managers manage all devices (present and future) and all apps (present and future). Here are some of the advantages of this approach:

  • Manage list of licenses used  – this is very important as every licence costs money
  • Check use of applications based on requirement on employee – thus if an employee moves from finance to accounts dept. irrelevant applications can be switched off
  • Manage application updates which becomes increasingly difficult is employees are using different devices and different versions of applications
  • Track usage – buying an application is one thing while using another. Some mobile applications bought are never used because either they are too complex and time consuming or they were not required at the first place. Tracking usage can help identify such issues.

Thus, a proper App management can help in saving money, time and prevent probable chaos related to use of mobile applications.