Hope you enjoyed the first part of this article; this one is the concluding part. The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), the largest Pepsi bottling company in the United States, needed to provide better tools to its frontline employees to increase sales and productivity. They chose to provide their frontline sales employee and VanSales representatives with the handheld CRM mobile device to do the retail auditing, sales, collection and fulfillment of orders. Today, Almunajem cold stores company riding high on their VanSales crm solution empowering the van drivers to effectively sell and prompt delivery of orders to 1000+ retail outlets across the Saudi Arabia. We are proud to be a part of Almunajem success story and look forward to revolutionize the consumer goods industry with our mobility crm solution.
Planning for Enterprise Mobility
Enterprise Mobility requires very comprehensive planning. Few of the critical items to consider are
✓ Support a range of back-end systems. Plan to mobilize a variety of back-end systems including database, legacy systems, applications, and web services.
✓ Support a range of mobile devices. Include support for multiple and major mobile Smartphone and tablet device form factors in your plans.
✓ Assess your resources. Evaluate your organization’s current and desired infrastructure, as well as in-house developer talent.
✓ Define application priorities. Define the types of applications your organization needs and prioritize them.
✓ Strategize for success. Determine application needs and wants, and then begin with one that will provide immediate return on investment (ROI) for internal success and support.
✓ Mobilize the enterprise. Deploy applications that connect both internal and external stakeholders to conduct better business.
Remember when we said you need to plan your mobility migration? This is why. You’re better off deciding early to support an agnostic mobility strategy and to design, manage, and deploy mobile apps via a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP).
Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP)
Some organizations start with a pilot program or a department-by-department implementation. This can quickly lead to an unmanageable situation because every device or application has its own configuration and management tools. A platform strategy allows an organization to plan for its mobility holistically, so that all devices (even new, “over the horizon” technology) can be managed from one console using one set of management tools. A platform strategy is essential for maintaining control over a mobile environment with many device types and diverse security requirements.
A MEAP approach to mobile application development
✓ supports major mobile device types
✓ connects mobile devices to back-end data sources and applications
✓ offers one console with integrated application management
Such a development platform connects many back-end applications and data to virtually any mobile device and presents a single management console to keep it working. In this approach, you develop mobile application logic once, and the platform can interface with any mobile device in your enterprise the resultant development, deployment, and maintenance structure is a lot simpler. If you think a piecemeal approach costs less, just wait until your employee demands and device diversity grow. Adopting a development platform at an early stage does require a larger initial investment, but in the long run you avoid application creep and cost explosion.
Developing Mobile Apps
There are two basic approaches to mobile device application development: point solutions and a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP). Most companies likely start development in a point solutions program, where a single application is acquired or written to support a single mobile operating system. After the single app is online, of course, the company or the user community quickly identifies more application requirements. Plus, users begin pushing for broader device support.
The point solutions development plan can continue for a while, but industry research shows that when you’ve passed three mobile applications or you’re supporting more than 150 users, moving to MEAP development is more cost effective. Also, look for costs to rise significantly in a point solutions development environment when you’re supporting more than two mobile operating systems. There are other issues to consider:
✓ Can you predict accurately how quickly your organization may pass one of these decision points?
✓ Are there productivity issues (the benefits of a broadly enabled mobile enterprise environment) that could suggest an earlier adoption of MEAP development?
✓ Can you afford the investment in a MEAP system today, even if the immediate costs seem higher?
Chances are, when you spread the cost over the lifetime of your enterprise, the cost savings will be obvious. You’ve just front-loaded some of the expense. Whether you acquire applications or develop them in house, you also need a coordinated, centralized system for managing app deployment.
Deploying Mobile Apps
Some of the same issues you confront during app development affect your mobile app deployment strategy. In the beginning, you probably can support some number of devices with one or two applications. However, it should be obvious that maintaining adequate security, managing software versions, tracking licenses, and commissioning and decommissioning devices becomes cumbersome and expensive as the number of apps and the user base grow. A MEAP can help you leverage software and data facilities you already have for deployment to multiple device types
A truly functional application management suite can handle the initial deployment, but it also can update and maintain the apps automatically over the air. In other words, workers shouldn’t ever have to bring their laptops, tablets, or Smartphones into the office to have the most current software installed. Nor should your IT staff have to monitor these devices. After the parameters are installed onto a management system, the maintenance process should be virtually automatic.
When you have in place the monitoring and over-the air update capability, there are other possibilities.
Document files can be delivered securely to frontline workers using a forced or subscription model. Document owners have control over content and can add, delete, or update content so that out-of-date documents in the field are replaced automatically. You can update file-based information from any source and format, including HTML, database files, documents, and other electronic content. Techniques used to replace or update a segment of a file rather than the whole file can provide significant efficiencies and cost savings.
By this point in your examination of mobility enterprise strategy, you have a clear picture of some of the advantages of planning, employee involvement, and training. A plan for centralized and automated management of device security, app management, and app deployment is the way to go. This article is just precursor and I look forward to explore and share more on this topic.