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HP Software's community for IT leaders // January 2013
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BYOD is here to stay—here's how to master it

Employees want a great user experience on the devices they bring to work. HP’s VP of mobile management as a service says that in 2013, you’ll have to make it happen.

In recent years, employees brought their devices to work and expected the enterprise to adapt. They expected the apps team to build apps they could use on those devices, and they wanted the same high-quality user interface and user experience that their consumer apps provided. They wanted access to work data, they wanted security, and they wanted all of it anywhere, anytime.

As people continue to shift usage away from desktops and toward mobile devices, the conundrum this presents to the apps team will only deepen: How should they respond to the demand? We talked to Raffi Margaliot, vice president and general manager of mobile and IT management as a service at HP, to get his take on what mobile means for apps leaders in 2013.

Q: Building mobile apps—whether internal or customer-facing—takes a while, so how do organizations know which ones to start with?

Raffi Margaliot: It’s a hard decision, because everybody wants the same thing: Employees want a top-class experience in their work life as much as enterprises want to provide a top-class experience to their customers to help differentiate themselves, their product, and their brand. But you have to differentiate the needs from the nice-to-haves. What’s going to deliver the most value fastest? And don’t forget that you might be able to build an app that will satisfy both employees and customers at the same time. For example, at HP we decided to modernize our sales apps first, because the sales team spends the most time with customers, and they need instant info that they can provide to customers. So we decided that that was where we could deliver great value to the customer and the sales team at the same time. If our reps can get access to the info they need on the go, then customers get their answers immediately and everybody’s happy.

Q: We’ve seen a lot of “credit card provisioning” throughout the enterprise, and this will probably continue as people find apps—mobile and desktop—to solve their business problems without red tape. Should apps leaders decide to embrace this in 2013, and then facilitate it and make sure that it leads to better results?

RM: That’s right—many teams across the organization are bypassing procurement to buy SaaS services on their own. They don’t perceive IT as being nimble enough to provide them with what they need, and that can lead to some real cost and security issues when you have all of these unvetted third-party apps throughout the enterprise. But I think we have to be realistic. It’s going to keep happening, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We just need to bring it into the open. The goal is to provide flexibility to the organization without losing control over things such as costs or data privacy. So apps leaders can embrace this and do it in a way where they are seen not as the enemy but as the enabler. They should work with the lines of business to let people know this is a possible solution and that IT is happy to assist the business in exploring those options, but that apps may be able to create a solution or may already have a solution. That way, they can ensure proper control.

Q: BYOD is generally considered an ops problem, but it also affects apps. What’s the first step for apps leaders in dealing with BYOD?

RM: First, accept that BYOD won’t go away. Employees want convenience, and carrying around one set of personal devices and another set of employer-issued devices isn’t convenient. Yes, ops has to play a role in managing access, data, application availability, etc., but the apps team has to build apps that employees want to use. The VP-Apps will need to bet on technology stacks and mobile application lifecycle solutions that will enable them to rapidly deliver and evolve mobile apps, while delivering a great user experience. It’s also important that these new technology stacks not have big learning curves or require highly specialized skills, so they can use existing resources to manage them. You need people to easily ramp up and get productive quickly.

Q: Betting on technology stacks always makes people a little nervous. How do they decide where to place their bets?

RM: I think a lot of it comes down to the lifecycle of the mobile apps. Most mobile apps today have a time-to-release of three months, and then they will be updated incrementally. In some cases, the app may last only a year or so before it’s rewritten. So when we talk about betting on a technology stack, it’s not as much as betting on technologies like we did with traditional apps, but betting on a stack that can give customers the flexibility to rapidly release apps and make changes as the needs of the customer change. They should look for stacks that facilitate reusability, have preconfigured or out-of-the-box connectors to back-end systems, have a good developer and partner ecosystem, and enable developers to either leverage drag-and-drop UIs to build apps or to write complex logic via the IDE [integrated development environment].

Q: Other than mobile and SaaS, what's the most exciting—or challenging—thing that you think the VP-Apps will deal with in 2013?

RM: I think user experience is another key element that apps leaders should be aware of. Now more than ever, people want a great UI, exemplary performance, and strong but enabling security. Bringing all of these elements together will ensure that the apps team creates solutions that can be easily adopted—and, more important—that people actually want to adopt.

For more on mastering mobile technology in enterprise IT, visit hp.com/go/mobile.


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