Note – Written by TransformTek’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Ioannakis, this article has been published in the October 2016 edition of APAC CIO Outlook as ‘3 Challenges Businesses Face While Identifying (and Adopting) Enterprise Mobile Apps’. You can read the issue here.
Enterprise mobile apps no longer represent the potential for incremental improvement for businesses today. They have become key transformation tools in reshaping business process and harnessing an organization’s most valuable assets their people. As mobile usage grows and employees expect more enterprise applications, Gartner predicts that 25 percent of enterprises will have an enterprise app store set up by 2017. The question is: why is the remaining 75 percent not following their lead? While the $250,000-$500,000 spent on app development projects may be the blame, there are three challenges preventing organizations from adopting enterprise mobile apps.
1) Competitive Pressure
Competition may be healthy, but it has a dark side as well. It prevents businesses from making profit, sets low prices in their industry, and drives them to struggle in their pursuit of a good image. When it comes to enterprise mobile apps, competitive pressure drives businesses to embrace a tactical approach to enterprise mobility, rather than a strategic one.
A strategic approach answers two vital questions: what a business should do to achieve its business objectives and why? Therefore, it focuses on the bigger picture. The tactical approach, on the other hand, revolves around the specific actions required to meet objectives. Responding to competitive pressure by opting out of strategic apps will cause a business to lose sight of what is important. It will end up forgoing benefits such as; a greater return on investment, maximizing economies of scale, and a comprehensive approach to security. Instead, tactical apps force businesses to spend more on maintaining and supporting them down the line. These issues will stagnate the evolution of business and influence future decisions relating to new enterprise mobile apps.
2) One-App-Fits-All Mentality
A `One Size Fits All’ enterprise app is a myth which many believe in. Decision makers fail to comprehend that different departments have their own classifications, terms, etc. Forcing everyone to use the same app will not only confuse them; it will reduce enterprise app adoption with employees. As a result, the return on investment (and development) is diminished.
Enterprise leaders are well aware of the need to diversify their enterprise app portfolio. That is why 87 percent of this group provide anywhere from two to ten enterprise apps for their employees. Enterprise leaders also plan to push even more apps by the end of 2016. The result is they can effectively mobilize workers holding different positions within the organization. This provides unique experiences and custom apps at each level.
3) Integration with Legacy Back-End Systems
Many organizations still rely on legacy back-end (ERP) systems. This creates a challenge for integration, as many of these systems are frozen in time. Red Hat reports, 43 percent of businesses struggle while developing enterprise mobile apps due to this issue. However, replacing legacy systems is a huge challenge because of the cost and risks associated with the process. Moreover, the credibility of the organization can be at stake if the replacement project fails altogether.
While many businesses modernize their systems or add middleware technology, integrating enterprise mobile apps with dated back-end systems limits the latter’s capabilities. Therefore, organizations take their time before venturing towards a second or third mobile app. To avoid hitting a wall while evolving into mobile-centric organizations, businesses should consider leveraging mobile platforms. That way, they can reduce complexity while speeding up development. They will need to weigh the advantages of keeping their legacy systems against disadvantages such as security threats.
Final Words – Enterprise Mobile App – Impact on Business
Today’s businesses need more than one mobile app to retain talent, gain a competitive edge and effectively automate many processes. The three above challenges are just the tip of the iceberg awaiting app developers to crash into.
Aside from their respective solutions, businesses can study a range of enterprise mobility tactics to avoid future hurdles. For instance, to overcome the challenge of a changing mobile landscape, they can become citizen developers and create their own apps using codeless development platforms.
That said, there are other drivers that can transform the way businesses identify new enterprise apps and adopt them. By embracing these, businesses will effectively maneuver and deliver their mobility strategy. As a result, they will:
- Evolve the company toward a digital business
- Improve access to enterprise data and streamline business processes
- Simplify workflows which have become increasingly complex; and
- Satisfy demand for apps from business users
Enterprise mobile app development represents a technology innovation to facilitate transformation into the 21st century. It will require leadership and an organizational shift. Adoption and embracing the enterprise app phenomenon will be imperative for company survival.