So we have been talking about the age of mobility for a long time now. We constantly hear of how much of an impact mobility has in the business world, and how useful mobility is for businesses.But in reality, how much do business enterprises actually benefit from mobility?
In 2011, the Reynolds and Reynolds company in the U.S launched its mobile contact management package, mainly for iPad users, called dealerPAD. The purpose was to make important functions accessible from anywhere and at anytime, like creating and updating customer records, and accessing information related to the dealer’s vehicle inventory.
Similarly, Salesnet is another company which has its own mobile CRM for smartphone users.
As is evident, companies never fail to stick to the latest trends in the business world. But despite this kind of an evolution of products to mobile versions, are companies actually taking full advantage of mobility?
Graham Whistance of the Business Technology Forum asks, “Everyone gets their mail on the move but how many companies really use mobility to the length they could? Do people access their CRM, accounts, ERP and reporting tools on the go? If not, why not?”
Complexity – One of the possible reasons why firms fail to capitalize on mobility could be the complexity involved in deployment. Developers need to program, build and test for too many different kinds of operating systems and devices. The costs involved in developing apps compatible with different devices also adds to the hesitation. This is why even though there are multiple measurable and real-time benefits like time tracking, CRM and expenses management, businesses still remain in the beginning of the curve.
The issue here is that mobile devices have already become commonplace and in the coming years, it is going to become even more so. Hence, it would be more of a necessity than an option, embracing mobility.
Compatibility – Another reason could be compatibility issues. For example, developing a custom application for a company, that needs to run on different Operating systems, with a single view access to the company’s CRM and ERP information, could be a difficult process. The solution has to also operate in an offline or disconnected mode, in case of non-availability of internet access, making it all the more complex.
Security – A third reason could be mobile security, which is an increasingly growing concern for companies. According to a research by VDC Research, mobile enablement and BYOD in companies, leads to several threats to enterprise IT that cannot be taken care of or prevented by a single solution. It requires more of a layered approach to security, to protect corporate data. Developers need to come to terms with the fact that, their mobile applications require more advanced protections, beyond the regular secure coding techniques. The more ubiquitous software becomes, the more layers to security becomes necessary. Hence, people are always skeptical about going mobile, although it is high time.
To add to the security concerns, nowadays, there is a need for developers to cater to an increasingly varied range of unconventional endpoints like kiosks, smart vending machines, POS devices and ATMs. This makes it all the more difficult for them to incorporate security measures across the entire range, again limiting the scope of mobility.
On the whole, the main challenges in increasing mobility are, in developing and deploying applications on various heterogeneous devices, while maintaining consistent user experience, in backend service exposure, especially for small and medium-sized companies and in the internal processes and approach changes of business, which is much less of a constraint.
Even though most business experts are inclined towards the general issue of companies failing to utilize the benefits of mobility, there are some who also question the need to rush towards mobile applications.
Michal Stehlik, who is also a part of the Business Technology Forum said, “I do not find many situations when I would really benefit from mobile access to ERP or accounts.”
So what other concerns do you think are keeping companies from capitalizing mobility services? Share with us in the comments below.