Marshall McLuhan was a very popular Canadian media theorist, who died back in 1980. In his understanding of media, a new medium is any new “extension of ourselves” or, more broadly, any new technology. Besides language, books, TV or radio, this also includes cars and light bulbs. Every new technology we create, McLuhan said, changes the way we perceive the world around us and it creates its own new environment. The car, for example, has completely changed our mobility and made us more independent from location. We built an impressive worldwide infrastructure based on it. To say it in McLuhan’s words, “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”
Well today, mobile devices and apps help us get things done on the go, often much faster and easier than with similar desktop applications. Pervasive access to information and services has become “standard”, transforming our behavior as consumers and workers. We are no longer bound to our desks, since we have computers in our pockets. The digital environment based on computers is now getting mobile.
But what is the impact on enterprises? How do they adapt and link those new mobile environments to engage with their stakeholders?
Becoming a mobile enterprise is much more than apps and BYOD. It is about embracing mobile technology to make access to products, services and processes much easier and faster than ever before—wherever and whenever customers and employees need them.
From an enterprise IT perspective, there are usually three main questions to consider:
1. How to mobile-enable existing business applications?
2. How to manage various mobile devices and applications?
3. How to develop enterprise and consumer apps fast and scalable?
Connecting the new mobile environment to the current IT landscape is one of the main challenges. On one hand, establishing seamless and secure integration with back-end systems is crucial to leverage existing investments and avoid building new IT silos. On the other hand, due to their complexity, such projects may quickly become big cost drivers. As a market leader in application integration, Software AG supports enterprises in overcoming these challenges by providing an end-to-end solution for building cross-platform enterprise mobile apps, which are tightly integrated with the existing infrastructure. For instance, our Mobile BPM solution enables enterprises to easily bring webMethods BPMS tasks to mobile devices in just few clicks.
Further, enterprises need to be able to manage a huge number of various mobile devices (enterprise or employee-owned) and apps effectively, ensure security on the device and app level, and reliably deploy apps to internal or external users.
Let’s take an on-boarding process as an example. Once a new employee is hired, he would be registered and assigned to a corresponding mobile user group (e.g., sales team). Using the enterprise app store, he can browse and install all apps assigned to his team. These could be preapproved productivity apps from public stores or enterprise applications, such as mobile BPM or CRM. If the employee leaves the company or his mobile device gets lost, all company data and applications could be deleted over the air.
Fine-grained policies can define how apps ordevices should be used in a business context. For instance, if a company wants to avoid inappropriate usage, apps could be easily configured to be usable only in a specific geographical location, such as a particular factory. For additional protection of sensitive data, the built-in camera of the device could be disabled. To continuously improve mobile ROI and workforce productivity, app usage and user interaction could be monitored.
Once appropriate enterprise mobility management tools are implemented, enterprises can begin to develop and deploy apps to the users. The crucial thing here would be to keep developing efforts minimal and as scalable as possible.
Software AG provides an integrated set of tools to help enterprises master their mobility challenges fast and effectively—from designing and developing enterprise and consumer mobile apps to integrating them with existing IT systems. For more information, feel free to visit our webMethods Mobile Suite portal.