Overcoming Enterprise Mobility Challenges

The topic of Enterprise Mobility Applications (EMA) got a boost last month due to a partnership announcement between two giant tech companies: Apple and SAP. This new partnership aims toward making Apple’s key products, the iPhone and iPad, more favorable to enterprise customers through SAP’s HANA cloud platform to deliver live and secured data. There will also be a new iOS software development kit (SDK) and training academy to help developers and enterprises’ in-house teams with building native iOS mobile apps based on business needs.

It’s not the first attempt to make legacy business applications more compatible with mobile technology. Zco Corporation itself is partnered with enosiX, an SAP framework that has helped over 100 companies mobilize their SAP apps. The collaboration offers low cost Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration with rapid turnaround time on custom mobile app development services. This enables us to quickly create, deploy, and maintain native apps that mobilize business processes and make them more competitive.

Collaborations like these are essential to creating enterprise apps that are useful to employees and companies alike.

The Current State of EMA

The progress of EMA has been more measured than some predicted. According John Jackson, VP at IDC, an average of 3.5 apps were used by workers in an average size company (1,000 employees) in 2013 and 2014. Jackson told eWEEK that this “shockingly low” number was similar to the number of apps on Blackberry users’ phones back in 2006. Even though this number was expected to double in 2015, IDC reported only 5.8 apps were used per worker then.

According to a survey from Apperian with 100 decision makers on EMA adoption from medium-large sized companies, 48% of respondents agreed that the complexity of mobile structure is the biggest challenge for EMA adoption. The number of mobile devices on the market, running different versions of operating systems made developing apps everyone could use difficult.

Barchart shows Challenges faced by businesses seeking enterprise mobility

Source: Apperian 2016 Executive Enterprise Mobility Report

This brings us to the second challenge, which is the lack of budget. According to a 2014 report from Kinvey that surveyed 200 CIOs and mobile leaders in North America, 56% of respondents said that it takes 7 months or more to develop one. In addition, 18% reported spending between $500,000 to over $1,000,000 per app, with an average of $270,000 per app. The cost of EMA development varies based on the level of complexity, compatibility, user experiences, and especially security to ensure corporate confidential data is protected.

What About the Security Talk?

Security has always been a top concern when it comes to adopting EMA. Apperian reported 64% of mobile leaders think that mobile-based threats to internal networks and infrastructure are the top IT security risk. Since smartphones and tablets are in the same “mobile” category as laptops, the two share similar security risks. The most simple but common threat is that users with corporate data might lose their devices to theft. Other threats that make mobile device vulnerable include unauthorized and malicious apps, as well as legitimate apps with security vulnerabilities.

Another threat is compromised mobile devices, such as “jailbroken” Apple iOS devices and “rooted” Android devices. By altering these devices from original manufacturer settings, users expose their devices to security risks by removing integral security protections. Apperian reported that 60% of respondents were concerned about compromised devices.

Other security worries include data corruption, compliance with corporate standards, and deploying secure apps onto managed and personal devices.

Usability + Usefulness = Adoption

Unlike consumer apps, which aim to get mobile users to pay or view advertising, EMAs must bring productivity improvements by helping employees work more effectively. It’s not enough for employees to like the app; it must be truly useful.

User experience is another key factor that encourages employees to fully exploit a new mobile solution. However, many companies fail to bring that factor to the table by just translating web-based or paper-based equivalents into software solutions. Users expect polish and quality from apps designed for mobile devices.

Enterprise Apps are Coming

Despite the challenges that top executives and enterprise consumers are facing, the majority agrees that having native EMA will bring positive impacts to overall performances. In the survey with Apperian, 30% of respondents said that their primary goal for deploying EMA is to improve business processes, 23% to improve productivity and 20% to gain competitive advantage.

What types of custom enterprise apps are most worthwhile? Productivity apps such as note-taking and office apps were favored by 56% of respondents, with 50% also giving a nod to field service apps for maintenance workers and inventory management. Selling tools are third on the list with apps to provide sales collateral and order processing.

Bar chart showing Business impact of custom app types with productivity and ROI

Source: Apperian 2016 Executive Enterprise Mobility Report

To learn more about our custom mobile app development services for enterprises and businesses of all sizes, email us or give us a call at 603.881.9200.