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Controlling the costs of mobility - it's all about value!

Controlling costs is more than just ‘spending less’.  For me (and a lot of people), it’s not just about saving money – it’s about value.  Whether it is for scuba diving equipment or my car, I don’t mind paying a bit more if it has the quality to save my life or it gives me the capability I need.  The same is true about controlling costs of IT initiatives for mobile solutions. We should not just consider cost in isolation; we need to balance the costs decisions with the business value generated by our mobility solutions. Balancing cost risk benefit.jpg


What are some of the key decisions that have an impact upon costs for mobile applications? During the development life-cycle, we can make informed decisions which impact the costs of mobility and negate the costs of getting it wrong. Don’t forget unlike a website, a mobile application is putting a piece of our brand into the hands of our customers and users.


In the strategy stage, establish strong governance processes combined with the decision making criteria that identifies “mobile worthy” applications. Regardless of the applications and platforms we choose, we really need to understand our target market. Who’s going to use the application, on which devices, how much functionality do they need, how will it be used and, importantly, what business benefit will the mobile application add to our business? In essence we need a clear business case for the application that can be tested against our decision-making criteria.


During design and build, focus on the application quality. We are assessing the application’s “fit for purpose” and it’s potential to release the business case benefits. Cutting corners here could save one-off development costs; however poorly designed applications will increase on-going support costs and on-going charges, i.e. data roaming costs. Be aware of producing an application which is unusable, losing customer loyalty and their business in the process. Avoid selecting a “native” environment when a less expensive “cross platform” approach will suffice; again the business case needs to clear articulate what is important to the business.


For the implementation stage, consider how the application will be advertised and distributed. Building our own Enterprise Apps Store or using an existing Apps store with the associated certification processes will depend upon the target audience you are trying to reach. Therefore we must include the marketing actions necessary to raise awareness of the application’s availability. If the application is not used, then the investment is wasted and the value is lost.


For operational support service, consider the degree of automation for managing the mobile app life cycle. Automation can increase development costs but is countered by the potential to contain the operating cost. Using standard tools to manage and distribute mobile applications needs to be considered as part of the enterprise operating portfolio.


In summary, moving an application to a mobile environment is more than just developing the application. The cost implications need to be considered and managed end-to-end and balanced with the business benefit that we expect to achieve from the investment. In short, we must ensure the business case stacks up. From our experience with numerous clients around the world, repeatedly the business case proves the move to mobility is justified – but you want to analyze each stage to ensure it makes sense for your applications.  Check out more on our thoughts at


This is our third blog as part of the Knowledge Matters program for mobility. You can check out our earlier posts at Mobile Madness. What is my strategy?  and Cross Platform Mobile Apps Development – ‘One size fits all’ does not fit . We’re covering key mobile topics such as mobile apps strategy, cross platform development, government and mobility, mobile device management, mobile cloud, and other key topics designed to help you be successful in the mobile enterprise market.


What applications are you thinking of making ‘mobile’ and how are you going to decide what cost trade-off to make? We’d love to hear from you.


Contact Gary on: Twitter and LinkedIn



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Managing Consulting specialising in Business Transformation and Value Management for Defence, Healthcare, Public Sector, Criminal Justice an...

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