Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For mobile enterprise applications, perfect is the enemy of done

The pressure for IT to enable enterprise application access for iPads and the like is immediate and immense.  The problem with trying to do something fast, however, is it often requires a great deal of that IT budget of yours…which truthfully wasn’t built with many of the costs to mobilize applications in mind.
How do you balance speed and cost when it comes to enterprise mobility?  Here’s another one of the top dos & don’ts that our CTO Stephen Vilke talked about in his “Confessions of a CTO” webcast a few weeks back:
DO get to market quickly. But, do it without bankrupting the firm.
No matter what, deliver initial value quickly, said Stephen in his commentary.  Time is of the essence, especially when it comes to mobility.  Get some initial capabilities out there.  Expose them to real-world users.  Allow folks to experiment. See what they use and what they don’t, and then make further investment decisions based on that data.
Certainly choosing an approach that is scalable, affordable, and fast is no easy task. In many markets, competitive advantages are fleeting, as mass-market players scramble to create the “next big thing,” which is often defined (at least in the fashion sense) by the consumerization of IT.
As an IT team worried about enterprise mobility, where should you put your emphasis?  Stephen suggests going for speed:
“Tackle the first part of the speed/cost equation first: pace. It’s rare that technology from the consumer world is adopted seamlessly into the enterprise – and accommodating tablets with legacy applications in a natural way has been no exception.
“The resource, effort, and policy demands on a firm trying to bridge this transition can take a considerable period of time. Perfect is the enemy of done.  So, find a good – not perfect – solution that gets you started quickly.  And one that you can learn some lessons from.  That’s key.  From there, you can mature and get a deeper understanding of your users and use cases.”
Once you find a solution that your risk, compliance, and regulatory groups can live with, next comes the task of getting all relevant stakeholders engaged. Having everyone on the same page will ensure that there are no unforeseen roadblocks in implementation.  A big piece of this, Stephen recounts from his experiences, is (of course) around budget:
“After optimizing for speed, make sure that it is affordable. There are plenty of vendors in the market with blends of professional services, co-development partnership, and customized offerings that can be difficult for a company to digest fiscally.
“Mobility can be just like any other new hardware integration: expense can run high, sneak up on you fast – especially as maintenance of a new workflow creates a compounded cost structure. So have a sense of the operations and finance budget that your IT department can absorb before investigating options.”
As important as the cost factors can be, however, don’t let them derail your efforts to get something mobile actually done.  Your users will thank you for it.   After all, they are the ones trying to find ways to get their own jobs done using their newest mobile device.
Your employees won’t be shy telling you whether you were successful with your enterprise mobility efforts.  They’ll vote with their feet pretty quickly.  Or, more likely (since they are using touch-screen tablets) with their fingers.
This is part of our continuing series of posts featuring insights on enterprise mobility from Framehawk’s CTO and co-founder Stephen Vilke.  You can see a replay of Stephen’s webinar “Confessions of a CTO: 7 Dos & Don’t for Bringing Your Existing Enterprise Apps to the iPad” here or download the white paper here.

This post also appears on the Framehawk blog.

No comments: