Communication, entertainment, and everyday consumer transactions are becoming increasingly mobile, interactive, and instantaneous. More than 100,000 mobile applications are being developed around the world and are downloaded billions of times each year, adding new layers of complexity to the mobile computing environment.

Businesses can capitalize on increasing mobile access and connectivity to enhance customer reach and workforce productivity, but not without meeting the associated challenges. The mobile environment comprises a wide variety of devices and methods of access, in addition to the ever-expanding catalog of applications.

To meet customer expectations and workforce needs, businesses must manage and secure this complex environment. This responsibility rests largely with IT, which has less control over this mobile world than the traditional on-premises datacenters and internal networks.

To be efficient, effective, and secure, businesses need a mobile platform enablement strategy. A calculated approach will help them gain business advantage; increase customer loyalty and employee productivity; and optimize cost and risk. This strategy also will provide a holistic approach to leverage different mobility aspects, including devices, platforms, applications, and access.

The enterprise platform should go beyond a single device, application, database, or operating system stack and include communications and network management, application transformation, application lifecycle and performance management, and application and data security.

Instant-On Capability

To be available “on demand,” businesses need to handle mobility efficiently (connect), effectively (converge), and securely (control). The goal should be to connect, though a full portfolio of mobile devices and platforms, to customers, executives, engineers, administrators, and other personnel.

The convergence of traditional non-mobile client environments, such as Microsoft Office, with mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, provides a seamless experience for the user. But access is not useful without control, which provides security and support across the mobile landscape.

Optimizing IT And Managing Networks While Reducing Costs

Enterprise IT is in a transition phase, which provides an opportunity to merge traditional IT with new mobile technology. Now is the time to enhance IT by incorporating tools and processes for mobility into the infrastructure. It is critical to monitor and manage the network environment in both wired and wireless areas.

To truly optimize the IT budget, businesses should upgrade networks and add wireless access points to accommodate increased high-bandwidth traffic, such as HD videoconferencing and collaborative content development. But approach this expansion with an eye to balance, since the automation of configuration and management tasks increases efficiencies.

Management And Security Strategy

The first concerns of risk reduction often focus on data and intellectual property (IP). Therefore, it is important to develop strategies to protect data in transit and on mobile devices. Infrastructure and applications also require security. Mobile enterprise IT management software can provide this end-to-end functionality. Other strategic approaches include:

  • Create a common management platform for all application stacks, languages, models, and development technologies.
  • Maintain control with automation of software rollouts, updates, and configurations.
  • Build solutions that significantly improve application security, as well as data backup and protection.
  • Collaborate to build effective mobile work environments.

Optimize Mobile Potential

As the demand for mobile utility grows, businesses must begin to create both a mobile-enabled process model and modernized customer channels for additional revenue streams. This means building solutions for future cloud- and Web-based mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones and applications while continuing to support traditional “Wintel” environments such as laptops and desktops.

For the greatest flexibility in accommodating users, application development environments should not be restricted to a single operating system, platform, or technology. This requires not only the development of enterprise-wide policies for management across the spectrum of mobile devices (e.g., iOS, RIM, Android, Windows Mobile, and webOS), but also a connection to cloud services.

Within the enterprise, a policy on device provisioning should also be developed. Compare costs—both monetary and opportunity based—when considering standardization on a particular platform versus providing multi-platform support.

The primary focus in all of this expansion, however, should be what your business needs. Consider future communication standards, including extended channels with voice, video communications, and mobile collaboration.

Application And Distribution Alignment

“Mobile application transformation” refers to converging traditional and mobile applications. It involves:

  • Modifying existing business applications so they work on new mobile platforms
  • Modifying application development processes to leverage new mobile environments
  • The incorporation of application lifecycle management (ALM) software solutions for application functional quality, security, and performance

Engineering Modernization Initiatives

Mobile applications and their architecture should be developed with a content-centric, rather than device-centric, view. In that vein, all content should be made available across a variety of devices (both mobile and traditional) regardless of GUI, screen size, and layout. Distribution should be managed with security at both the device and system levels.

Holistic View Of Mobility

A holistic view of enterprise mobility enables effective, efficient, and secure mobile access to enterprise applications, information, and resources for mobile professionals. It facilitates connectivity among mobile executives, the workforce, and customers. A well-executed mobile platform enablement strategy will enable businesses to reach new audiences and to connect with customers and workforce more efficiently, effectively, and securely.