Author(s): Bharanidharan Ravishankar, Posted 07/27/12
In 2010 Forrester Research advised IT departments to use the POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology) strategy for mobile enablement. Although POST was initially created for marketing and business development professionals, Forrester explained how it could be extrapolated for development of mobile applications. In line with leading analysts, Unisys mobility strategy has always focused on a people first approach. Here is an excerpt of an interview with Bharani Ravishankar, Senior Engagement Manager at Unisys Global Services India Center of Excellence, where we discussed the business of building enterprise mobile apps.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions you think IT people have about mobile apps? What do they most often overlook?
Most people believe that building a mobile app is just a technical issue. It is often presumed to be an extension of web based applications. But there is more than just technology at work. It involves, thinking about improving productivity, grater engagement with individuals and building an alternate revenue source. It is important to think about how this app increases the organizations customer base with greater interaction. You have to think about how you can reduce the work load of an employee and introduce features that will reduce manual intervention. Most organizations are tempted to provide many features but you must realize that not all features are necessary on mobile channel. In fact, some may prove to be counter -productive. So it really is more than just ‘go put this in a mobile device’; it is about solving the larger business problem and ensuring increased productivity.
What are some of the typical technology challenges you are seeing that drive people to come to Unisys for help with mobile apps?
Organizations grapple with a couple of large issues today. One is a technology and the other is security. Most clients worry about developing apps for multiple platforms and there is a growing concern about apps not being compatible with different technologies. But the fact is that you don’t have to move your applications to different technologies when it is in the mainstream. The ‘smartness’ can be built into the app regardless of the technology and it can be used across platforms. Using device capabilities like camera for bio metric authentication is an example of building smartness within the application. Another cause of concern is security risks. Customers are apprehensive about losing sensitive corporate information. They want to be assured that only the right people have access to certain types of information. Progressive enterprises who are embracing mobility are looking for solutions with data encryption capabilities, remote wiping of sensitive data, (an essential capability in case of device theft) and strong user authentication mechanisms. I believe people are aware of the challenges of mobile enablement they just lack the right approach, tools and resources to address them.
What are some important elements to bear in mind while developing mobile apps?
Achieving the best results from building enterprise mobile apps requires business savvy and technical expertise. As organizations enter the development cycle, a recommended first step would be to assess what they are trying to accomplish. For example, rather than simply extending a web-based application, they need to how the application could become more interactive or decide what additional features it could provide to serve as a new revenue channel or meet other goals by adding “smartness” to the application.
We helped a leading air cargo organization take advantage of this approach and improve their air cargo services. First, we examined the process used to book and track cargo—identifying what manual data entry steps could be removed from the process. Second, we mobile-enabled the streamlined process and eliminated the need to work from a fixed computer. This increased the engagement level of the employees with continuous access to information on the move.
The statements posted on this blog are those of the writer alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unisys.
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