Tag Archives: enterprise mobility

How Smart is your Smartphone?

A few months ago my friends at Soluteo asked me to work with them on a short presentation on “How Smart is your Smartphone?”  It was one of those fun projects and the output which was presented about a month ago is up on Slideshare and embedded below.

Although part of the presentation is a bit tongue-in cheek we are strong believers in the final answer.   Your Smartphone is only as smart as …

  • The end user?
  • The apps?
  • The application developers?
  • The device manufacturers?
  • The network?

Or is there something else?  Let’s narrow it to an enterprise environment.    What makes a smartphone smart for an enterprise?  Feel free to comment after the slides.

Making the Most of Mobile Through Partnerships

I have commented about this same topic before… to some of you personally. Just wrote a little something over at the other site but thought I would paste it here directly:

… the entire mobile banking landscape will succeed only through partnerships. Banks partnering with other service providers… (but to what extreme? And at what cost to the customer?).

A very important partnership is the one between those that provide services to the banks… Enterprise software providers, mobile app developers, system integrators – the best way to break in and go deep in mobile with a bank will be based on your partnerships with others. This is especially true for startups in the mobile space – go out and seek partnerships with providers who already have entrenched relationships with the big banks.

Success for a lot of startups in this space will be dependent on their ability to forge partnerships and alliances as they tackle the big enterprise clients. The mobile ecosystem is no longer straightforward… it is a complex web of relationships, connections, networks and partnerships.

Leverage who you know to get in where you want to get in.   Leverage the relationships that others already possess to get your foot in the door.

You can develop a little app and throw it up on any of the application stores… but to break into the enterprise market (especially in finance, healthcare and government) you need to have more than a fun or cute little mobile app.  You need to have much, much more than a Twitter account and recent grad pushing out tweets… you need a mobile strategy.

Is Google Eyeing the Mobile Enterprise with New Management Tools?

The new tools allow Google Apps Premier and Education Edition administrators to manage enterprise smartphones directly from the Google Apps control panel, without having to deploy additional third-party mobile device management software offered by vendors like Sybase iAnywhere and Good Technology (formerly Visto).IT administrators can lock down and remotely wipe data from lost or stolen mobile devices and establish more complex password administration protocols. Google Apps Premier business customers pay $50 per user per year, while educational institutions receive the service free.

Google Apps supports almost every device on the market today, including RIM BlackBerry with the introduction last year of its Connector for Blackberry Enterprise Servers. However, interestingly, Google has yet to produce enhanced security and mobile management support for RIM BlackBerry or even its own Android phones like the Droid and its recently unveiled Nexus One.

When it comes to entering the enterprise, Google’s moves, so far, appear deliberate and calculated. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported Google plans on launching an online business software store packed with third-party applications that seamlessly integrate with Google Apps, which may replace today’s Google Solutions Marketplace. Google would not confirm the plans, saying only, “We’re constantly working with our partners to deliver more solutions to businesses, but we have nothing to announce at this time.”

The company also remains mum on when it will commit fully to an enterprise Android strategy. A Google spokesperson told Channel Insider, “To date, Android-powered phones have been targeted toward consumers. Future versions of Android will introduce more functionality for IT managers to deploy enterprise devices, which will be of particular interest to our Google Apps customers.”

Google’s silence is not stopping some business-to-business software developers and VARs from supporting Android, however. DataViz, the creator of Documents to Go and RoadSync, is experiencing substantial success in the Android Market, telling Channel Insider that it is close to reaching 500,000 downloads of its introductory version in the Android Marketplace. The company’s software also comes preloaded on RIM BlackBerrys, and supports Symbian-powered phones and iPhone.  DataViz also offers an enterprise version of its software, complete with volume licensing. The company has a variety of resellers like CDW and Insight.

Good Technology, a provider of enterprise mobile security and device management software as well as mobile e-mail and collaboration software, recently announced its support for Android. Good faces an uphill battle as its offerings are slowly being challenged with the release of the ActiveSync protocol and bundled versions of mobile device management and security offerings by Microsoft and Google.

Enterprise mobile application and platform provider Antenna Software supports Android as well, and sees the growing pervasiveness of Android in the enterprise as key to its business.

“Overall, we believe very much that device diversity is a wonderful thing—people love choice, and the fact that Google is creating choice is great for the market. We see a good amount of interest and pull for Android from our customers,” says Jim Somers, Antenna’s chief marketing and strategy officer.

The mobile OS wars continue to provide sport and plenty of blood-letting for those interested, and the fun is only beginning. Apple and Microsoft are facing a massive threat with the increased adoption of Android and Google Apps. Apple CEO Steve Jobs thinks he knows what Google wants, telling employees recently, “Make no mistake, they want to kill the iPhone.” Jobs continued, using an expletive to describe Google’s “Don’t Be Evil mantra,” which the search giant quietly dropped last spring.

Time will tell, but if Google’s early 2010 moves are any indication, the mobile enterprise is set clearly in the company’s sights.

Google is not going to ignore enterprise mobility. It is too big an opportunity to pass by.

As a Google Apps user I welcome any and all improvements to the Google Solutions Marketplace which is not very user friendly or intuitive. In fact it is the main reason I haven’t really extended my Google Apps beyond the basic stuff.

Posted via web from Mobile Strategy

13 Things To Remember When Integrating Mobility (Or How To Avoid Process Peddlers)

Regardless of whether it is the first time your mobile workers receive a device, or if you are deploying a new application, your people and your processes will never be the same. Mobility changes the way we work; it is transformational and because of this you need to pay very close attention to your processes. If you are not looking (and I mean really looking) at how to best integrate your new technology or application into your existing workflows you will be faced with anything from poor adoption to outright failure.

So what do I mean by process peddlers?

Process peddlers may be vendors, mobile application developers or even the junior resource in that other department on the fourth floor. These process peddlers talk about the importance of process mapping but at the end of the implementation, all they have done is connected a few boxes with some arrows (current and future state workflows) without adding value to the ultimate success of your project. Sadly enough, I have seen them far too many times. In fact I have even worked with them or had to come in and fix their mistakes to try and revive a failing implementation.

In case you don’t get  through the long post here are the two main takeaways:

  1. Process peddlers are a waste of resources.
  2. Real process integration experts are invaluable to the success of a mobile implementation.

To help you avoid process peddlers, below is a list of key concepts you should look for when you are being pitched to. I also understand that you yourself may be one of those people that talks about process without any idea of what or how to analyze one. This list is also for your benefit. At the very least look for the following:

  1. Experience – Real experience with relevant examples of situations where new technologies or new methods were succesfully integrated into existing workflows.
  2. Measurement – As they relate their experiences they will mention results. And these results will be explained to you through measurable improvements. You can’t talk about real improvements without knowing the numbers – the indicators (whatever these are for their given examples).
  3. Upstream and Downstream – Your process expert will talk and ask questions about what happens upstream and downstream of the specific area being worked on. Your process expert will want to understand how current changes impact and are impacted by what happens before and after.
  4. Inputs – This refers to process inputs. What feeds into the process? Actual product? Labor hours? Information/knowledge? Parts? Purchase Orders? It is different from a process trigger and it refers to all inputs into the process.
  5. Outputs – What are the process outcomes, outputs and deliverables? Your process expert will make sure that these are not negatively impacted with the new process. Quality and service levels should not suffer but either stay the same or improve.
  6. Cycle Times – Is the total time from the beginning to the end of the process. Your process expert will want to understand the cycle time for your given process and will be able to explain to you if it will be shortened by the implementation or not.
  7. Capacity – Your process expert will be able to tell you how they measure the capacity of a process and why that is important… and what it could mean to you.
  8. Workload – How much work will each individual employee have after the changes. Will it be more or less? If less then you will want to fill it with more value added work. If more, will it be too much? Your process expert will measure the workload and how it is affected by the new technology.
  9. Compliance – You do not want to overburden you mobile workers by measuring, controlling and following up on every single action. But compliance is probably important to you. Your process expert will be good at being able to find a few key points in the process and advising on how best to measure these to ensure compliance or simply to follow up on your mobile workers.
  10. Documentation – The new processes should be documented in detail in the form of procedures/manuals. It is a given … but just make sure you do ask for this.
  11. Expectations – When you optimize a process the expectations need to change, otherwise you will not reap the benefits of the improved process. If you previously expected your field technicians to do an average of 5 calls per day… the new technology should change that. What is it? 6 per day? 8 per day? Your process expert will help you with this.
  12. Change Management – No this is not about IT change requests. This is about your people and how to help them change from doing things the old way to the new way. Change management is about people and what they need to get on board.
  13. Support – When you implement mobile technology or a mobile application there are going to be impacts on your support organization. Somebody needs to look after it, right? You would be surprised how often this gets overlooked. Everything from use cases, to scripts, to escalation trees and all documentation needs to be in place. Make sure you understand these impacts early on. Your process expert will be able to do this… easily!

There are some things missing here. But if you are able to get a process expert to answer and prove their worth on the points you are well on your way to integrating your new mobile technology or mobile application into your existing workflow.

Mobile Becomes A Social Media Lifeline

Beautiful Sunday morning here in Toronto (Mississauga to be precise).
As I catch up on reading and wait for the family to wake up before we head to church I thought I would share this post from Harvard Business. David Armano writes a Conversation Starter on the Six Social Media Trends for 2010… and these are:

  1. Social media begins to look less social
  2. Corporations look to scale
  3. Social business becomes serious play
  4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)
  5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline
  6. Sharing no longer means e-mail

Of special interest to some of you will be #5:

With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it’s likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into “social media breaks” as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn’t looking.

I certainly hope that most of you reading this realize that the value of mobility goes way beyond social media. In fact it is my opinion that social media as a business tool is not for every role/position. It can certainly be a waste of time. Believe me … been there and done that. Unless you see an ROI you truly need to have social media policies in place.

Head over there for the full post by clicking here.

Mobile Applications and Loyalty

Add this one to the interesting and confusing column. But you should still pay close attention.

Take a look at the following:

  • 73 percent of Blackberry owners have downloaded 5 or fewer applications; in contrast,  72 percent of iPhone owners have downloaded 10 or more applications. [Source]
  • Smartphone Owners Only Use Half of Installed Applications Regularly (Only 57% of all Smartphone applications on a device are being used regularly).
  • Apple users download and install the most applications, [but] they do not necessarily use the installed applications any more than other Smartphone users do on a regular basis. Android users report that they have removed one-third of the apps that they had installed on their Smartphones, while BlackBerry users keep almost all of the applications they download. [Source for this and previous point]

With respect to iPhone users the previous point is further reinforced by the stats over at the Flurry Blog a few weeks ago:

Loyalty by Application Category

Loyalty by Application Category

Only an average of 25% of iPhone applications are used after three months.  If you allow me to mix some numbers we can make a jump and perhaps even conclude that BlackBerry users are more loyal and less fickle than iPhone users.  But before we do that, let’s take some further liberties with the numbers.

Some Crazy And Loose Analysis

  • If we take the following statements from above…
    1. ‘57% of all Smartphone applications on a device are being used regularly’
    2. ’73 percent of Blackberry owners have downloaded 5 or fewer applications
    3. and on top of these we add the fact that ‘BlackBerry users keep almost all of the applications they download’
  • Then we could loosely conclude (I sound like an analyst don’t I) that …

      BlackBerry users use 2.85 or fewer applications

  • We could then also take the following statements from above…
    1. ’72 percent of iPhone owners have downloaded 10 or more applications’
    2. Apple users download and install the most applications, [but] they do not necessarily use the installed applications any more than other Smartphone users do on a regular basis.
    3. ‘57% of all Smartphone applications on a device are being used regularly’
    4. But to this one we can add the extra ingredients provided by Flurry that on average only 25% of applications are in use after three months.
  • Again we could once more loosely conclude (I am now blushing) that …

      iPhone users actually use an average of 2.5 applications

Careful With The Numbers

It is actually difficult to know who to believe.  Everyone has different numbers and a different story.  At times you get the distinct impression that everyone is trying to sell you something (oops, hold on – everyone is!).  The numbers above from Strategy Analytics and Flurry seem to me to be more credible than some of the other figures I have seen over the last few months.  Did I mention loosely already?  Maybe I am being too harsh.  Perhaps the problem is that anyone can do anything with numbers (as I have in the above exercise).

Take a look for example at the App Store Market data (also published in this blog) from AppsFire that claims…

an average of 65 apps installed per device

There is certainly a big delta between 2.5 and 65. Back when I wrote it I cautioned against taking those numbers at face value since the sample was both small and probably slanted to power users.

At the end of the day we are all responsible for what we buy into or not; and how we use that information.  However, the main conclusion we can draw out of this is one that you probably already know if you have been deploying applications for some time:

Don’t ignore the end user! Or your application will be dropped like a hot potato!

It is still surprising to me how many times I have seen applications deployed or new systems installed without the end user being consulted (or at least studied) and without any awareness of the day-to-day processes.  The same applies to mobile consumer applications and that’s where the lifeflow versus workflow idea came from.

In the meantime… what do you think:

  • About the numbers and the data being thrown out there?
  • Do you believe it?  Does it match your reality and what you have seen?
  • What does it tell us about the differences between BlackBerry and iPhone users?

Enterprise Mobility Implications - We will touch on these over the next few days.  Loyalty in the consumer space is great but when we talk about adoption and ownership in mobile enterprise users we are diving into the deep and murky waters of workflows, design, usability and even mobile application analytics.  Stay tuned.

Not All Mobile Applications Are Created Equal

And therefore do not require the same metrics.  Of course if you are developer for-fun as opposed to a for-profit one you may note be too concerned about this.  However you will never know where and how to improve something unless you measure it.  If you measure there is a better chance of understanding how your applications is being used…

A lot of times there is a mad rush to put something out there and then we simply forget about it… and worry only about installations and nothing beyond that.  But you should worry about it especially if we consider our recent post on media convergence and mobility.

I can’t say much more about this right now but come back (subscribe at the top right) and you will see this topic blossom into a full-fledged discussion.

Making Sense of Mobile Application Development

My plan was to compile all the excellent feedback received here and in other places on the debate whether it is best to develop mobile applications for the browser or native to the device (platform).  I gave you a glimpse into my preference a few weeks ago with the teaser called –  Mobile Application Development: Native or Browser.  We will come back to this topic next week with a summary post but in the meantime I wanted to take the conversation in a slightly different direction… yet still related to the decisions around the development of mobile applications.

Ultimately the decision on what and how to develop your mobile application is a strategic one; one that should be based not on the currents of opinion (analysts and vendors) or on the noise around us (blogosphere and marketing).  Instead, this decision should begin and finish with the mobile user.  I realize this is nothing new … but hang in there.

When considering decisions around mobile application development I have noticed an unfortunate pattern.   There is one thing that is being overlooked too often.

When trying to understand mobile workers, most people will mention the importance of location, presence, coverage, whether or not they are power users… and yes they will mention context.  So far so good right?  Well let’s dig deeper.

  • Location refers to a users place in space.  As in geographic space.
  • Presence refers to availability and whether or not others can see if the user is available.
  • Coverage refers to network coverage and whether the user’s device is in or out of coverage.
  • Regular vs Power Usage typically refers to how much and how often a user uses his device.
  • Context typically refers to a user’s surroundings and their interactions with those surroundings.
  • These and other criteria that popped into your head are all good and valuable things to cover.

    However, if we want to talk specifically about mobile workers the conversation cannot revolve around any one of the above points.  Instead it needs to focus on one thing:

    the mobile worker as part of a process that adds value to your organization

    It may sound harsh to some.  If it does you are not getting what is being said here. We are not forgetting that the worker is also an individual, but instead we are focusing on the main reason why that individual works in an organization (profit or not-for-profit) and gets paid.  They get paid to add value.  Your mobile application strategy needs to revolve around that one fact…

  • A worker exists in an organization to add value… even if mobile.
  • A mobile application needs to add value to the mobile worker.
  • The analysis therefore needs to focus on the work that the worker performs.
  • We will develop this topic further in the coming weeks (after I get some more mobile banking posts under my belt).

    In the meantime please take a look at IT Business Edge writer Carl Weinschenk’s article with a similar title as this post and which makes reference to one of our articles.

    Is the iPhone Suddenly Incompatible With Exchange?

    A friend of mine just sent me this link with only one comment: “Love It!” You can imagine he is one of the greatest BlackBerry advocates (and probably one of the smartest ones too).

    Infoworld published the following article yesterday – Apple betrays the iPhone’s business hopes:

    Fixing a major but unacknowledged bug in the operating system, last week’s iPhone OS 3.1 update has rendered most iPhones and all iPod Touches incompatible with Exchange 2007 servers that require on-device data be encrypted, a standard safeguard used by businesses.

    In other words, Apple has fundamentally betrayed its iPhone users and the businesses that have either explicitly or implicitly supported the device.

    Check the article for yourself. If you have questions post them here and we can look for answers together.

    Just in case you are interested here are two more articles in the series.

    Sorry to post and run without any commentary but I am off to a very interesting and exciting meeting which I will tell you about later.

    Mobile Application Development: Native or Browser

    The discussion rages on. I continue to enjoy the experience of native applications much more. But there seem to be a lot of people out there jumping on the ‘mobile browser application‘ bandwagon. Of course everyone has a reason for it but if we focus solely on the end user (how about that?) the native applications provide a richer and better experience (not to mention better integration with device functionality). Inside the enterprise (as we attempt to mobilize our workers) this argument hasn’t taken off just yet. This is mostly because it adds a layer of complexity (and costs) to the roll out and support of multiple devices and platforms.

    For now, I leave you with two stories:

  • From GigaOm: The Browser as the Unifier
    A small post and a video from an interview…

    The biggest complaint coming from mobile developers is that there are just too many darn cell phone platforms and devices for which they need to create applications. Compared to the dozens of platforms in the cell phone world, developing applications for PCs is a breeze. But until the cell phone world gets a whole lot simpler, there’s an answer to all that confusion, says Jon von Tetzchner, co-Founder and CEO of Opera Software: the browser.

  • From Jason Grigsby of Cloud Four: The Five Most Common Arguments for Native iPhone Development
  • Jason presents and refutes the most common arguments for why iPhone applications need to be built using native code instead of web technology.

    Three of the arguments either don’t apply in all cases or are simply wrong.

    The five most common arguments for native app development are:
    1. Offline Mode — The ability to continue to use an application when you are not connected to the Internet.
    2. Findability — If you’re not in the App Store, people won’t be able to find your application.
    3. Performance — Javascript on mobile is too slow to use for application development.
    4. Device Attributes — The need to access things like the camera, gps and the accelerometer.
    5. Monetization — The ease with which people can and will buy your application.

    These five reasons are also provided to argue for native app development on other platforms like Android and Blackberry as well.

    Now It’s Your Turn
    Regardless of the number of visitors to the Mobile Strategy Blog we always have a tough time collecting opinions and commentary. Not sure if it has to do with our style or with our readers… But we do value your opinion and we would like to hear your thoughts on this topic (and all the others of course). So please drop us a line or leave a comment below:

    – What are your thoughts?
    – Are these arguments one-sided?
    – What are you developing for?