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Rationalize your applications to mobilize your enterprise

Enterprises have no control over the mobile devices and platforms that their employees have for their personal use. However, enterprises can exercise control the landscape of mobility devices and platforms used for work related reasons. To do so, enterprises must define their overall mobility strategy and execute upon it in a systematic manner – this is the key message I took away from Darren McGrath's session at HP Discover conference on "Energizing your legacy apps through Mobility."


A key driver for mobilizing applications within the enterprise is to provide a new end-user experience that triggers disruptive, game changing differentiation. Traditional applications -- even if functionally complete -- do not provide the same opportunities.


However, this does not mean that every traditional application has to be enabled with a mobile interface. Moreover, new mobile applications may need to be developed as well. In other words, the need to go mobile in a structured manner requires the enterprise to take a step back and assess its portfolio of applications. Are the enterprise business objectives being realized with the right set of applications? This would be a good time to rationalize the set of applications in alignment with the overall business objectives.


Darren highlighted the key steps that define the roadmap to mobile enable applications that I would characterize as follows:


  • Who. Who are the users that you have in mind? What are their profiles? There are multiple user communities ranging from the senior executives to the field workers. To better define these user communities and their needs, several aspects need to be considered including the type of activities they perform, the features they look for in the enabling devices, the services they require, the funding model that best applies to them and the tangible benefits they realize.


  • Where. There are multiple platforms that mobile applications can run on. The Mobile Strategy for the enterprise needs to define the number of platforms that the enterprise can effectively accommodate. Some enterprises may choose to zero in on a single platform whereas others may need to be more accommodative of a finite set of platforms depending on their business needs and user communities.


  • What. Once the user communities and the platform(s) have been identified, the next step would be to determine the mobile applications that are required. Note that mobile applications don't address every situation and there need not be a corresponding mobilized version for every application in the enterprise. Data intensive tasks executed in back-office applications are not a good fit for mobile applications.


  • When. Once the mobile applications have been determined, it is time to define a development plan that prioritizes the realization of these applications in a timely manner.

Taking this Who-Where-What-When approach is vital to ensuring that the right applications are mobilized to realize tangible business value and improved employee productivity.


Who are the mobile users in your enterprise?  What percentage of your applications have been mobilized?  Where are you planning on deploying them?  When do you plan to engage in these activities?


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