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Are Mobile Apps Helping Your Business Processes?

Are Mobile Applications Helping your Business Process?

There is a lot of attention paid to the impact of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) on the enterprise and IT, especially regarding requirements for safeguarding customer and corporate information while supporting a constantly changing variety of tablets and smartphones.

BYOD does indeed represent a challenge, and opportunities. What might get overlooked is how the applications running on mobile devices can impact your information and document processes.

The ease of downloading free or low cost mobile apps, not to mention the addition of mobile extensions to popular enterprise applications, has resulted in an explosion in mobile functionality. The Apple Store and Google Play each offer about 700,000 mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms.1

About 700,00 mobile apps

Just as important is the growing number of mobile apps developed or adapted for use by individuals in Lines of Business and functional areas beyond the view of IT. Development tools for mobile applications are widely available from sources like Apple’s iOS Developer Program, Android’s Developer and salesforce.com’s ISVforce; there are also Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tools that require little or no coding.2

This fundamental change in the application development landscape has far-reaching implications for IT—and the enterprise information and document processes fundamental to business success.

Mobile Apps Are, Well, Everywhere

Historically, IT exercised substantial control over the deployment and use of enterprise applications that enable critical business processes, such as those from SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, etc. This is still largely true, and today includes the mobile apps designed and sanctioned by the vendor to enable workers to leverage such enterprise applications from wherever they are: SAP’s BusinessObjects Mobile; Microsoft Dynamics NAV Mobile Sales and Service; and Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile.

But mobile device users now have easy access to a rapidly growing array of applications to enhance both their personal and work lives.  Mobile apps can be downloaded, many for free, from application market places like the Apple Store, Google Play and salesforce.com’s AppExchange as well as from public and private companies looking to extend their products and services, and social media sites like Facebook’s App Center.

Setting Guidelines for Mobile Apps in the Enterprise

By setting clear guidelines, you can help reap the potential benefits mobile applications represent to business processes while limiting your risks and costs.  The rules for what can and can’t be done with mobile devices in the enterprise are typically defined in a BYOD policy. But a BYOD policy needs to be informed by a broader, enterprise “consumerization strategy” – not just what devices will be supported.

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Highlights from the Full Paper

  • The use of mobile apps in BYOD environments can present a constant balancing act between information security and increased productivity.
  • By setting clear guidelines, you can help reap the potential benefits of mobile apps while limiting your risks and costs.
  • Your IT team set and enforce guidelines but also help the enterprise fully understand the potential ramifications for its business critical processes.
  • Tools like Mobile Device Management (MDM) software help IT better manage the use of mobile apps.
  • Using information gathered from a MDM system or user feedback, you can discover opportunities for business process improvements through the use of mobile apps.

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1 Tibkin, Shara, “Google Ties Apple with 700,000 Android Apps,” CNET, October 30, 2012.
2 McConnell, Chris, “100 Tools to Develop the Next Killer iOS or Android App”, Daily Tekk, April 2, 2012.

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