Discover PerformanceHP Software's community for IT leaders // February 2012
Avoid the pitfalls of enterprise mobility
“Going mobile” can transform the way you connect with employees and customers—but success requires end-to-end thinking that follows the three tenets of mobile success.
Everyone is rushing to implement mobility. A recent IDC report1 found that well over 50 percent of IT departments plan to spend at least 10 percent of their annual budgets on mobility. More than 15 percent are planning to spend at least a third of their funds—representing the bulk of their innovation resources. This is a fundamental shift in IT focus, considering that the majority of today’s IT budget goes toward maintenance and operations.
But this eagerness to quickly generate cool apps for the newest devices can compromise efficiency, security and user experience. To truly gain a sustainable advantage from enterprise mobility, you need a more comprehensive approach.
Mobility pitfalls are a moving target
“Some customers are already well along in developing mobility as a strength within their organizations. But we also talk to many firms whose priority is simply to move fast with mobility and get something out there,” says Neil Miles, HP Enterprise Mobility marketing manager, who is on the team responsible for HP’s mobile strategy. If the plan is to “go mobile now” and then address pitfalls later, your organization may be open to these vulnerabilities:
- Security: Mobile applications, and the web services that power them, create another avenue for attackers to penetrate your network. And frequent security updates by mobile OS platforms, and the wide variation in mobile device security features, will complicate your risk-management efforts.
- Intellectual property: The drive to quickly “go mobile” has many companies contracting with small boutique design shops. “And in completing your mobile project, what will you be giving them?” Miles asks. “Mobility service plans? Encryption methodologies? Customer data access?” What happens when that boutique is later hired by a competitor?
- Silos: By rushing into mobility, organizations risk creating another IT silo with a separate set of tools, processes and workflows. “The opportunity here is to include mobility and converge workloads with the traditional IT environment without losing the velocity that mobility needs,” Miles says.
Mobility needs end-to-end thinking
Mobility is much more than just the mobile app. Organizations need to take a more holistic approach to mobility, one that includes:
- The app itself (which should include the security strengths of the application as well as security for application data on the device, in-flight and at the back end)
- Integration with secure back-end systems
- Security for the platform
- Support for multiple platforms
- The creation of corporate app catalogs for employees and provisions for application availability for citizens and customers
As an example of end-to-end thinking in mobility, consider a solution HP built for a regional court system to improve its scheduling of day-to-day operations. The addition of a mobile component dramatically improved the net worth of the entire system. Previously, police officers called to testify could lose an entire day or more waiting to take the stand. But now a mobile connection sends email or text notifications to the officers, letting them know exactly when they are needed to testify.
Providing officers a text alert that their testimony will be needed in one hour—and basing that notification on an up-to-the-minute schedule—is a tremendous improvement over asking them to wait for days to be called. The system will save tens of thousands of hours of police time per year, improve public safety and reduce cost and frustration among officers. In fact, the court scheduling system was so successful that the courts themselves did not even pay for the system. The police department valued the improved state so much that it paid for the entire court automation environment. But for the mobile component of the system to work properly, the app needed to integrate seamlessly with a number of secure systems.
Three principles for mobile success
Miles advises IT leaders to follow three principles to chart a course for successful mobile services:
- Connect: Prioritize your opportunities. Decide which mobile services to tackle first and identify those that will bring the greatest benefit. Valuable user connections depend on back-end systems to automate processes and fully engage the employee, customer or citizen.
- Converge: Mobility requires increased velocity from IT. Application development teams have already improved their time-to-market using agile development methods. Utilize those same parallel approaches to mobile development. Iterate quickly based on a flexible plan. Embrace changes in security capabilities or development technologies into that flexible plan. Track mobile application performance so that your efforts drive successful business results. Use automated toolsets that allow you to incorporate mobile into a single application lifecycle approach.
- Control: Ensure security within the application during development (it’s much less costly to catch problems there), along with securely managing the device and integration levels. Work to achieve compliance by including mobile in a comprehensive security policy. Use the best security solutions so you can effectively include mobile in your security efforts. Ensure that you can look at people (who’s doing this?), data (is data being misused?) and applications (is an application being used improperly?). Mobile security must reflect the extended enterprise and be ever-evolving and pragmatic, given the realities of today’s mobile devices and platforms.
When taken strategically, mobility is the best opportunity to dramatically modernize services and to open new channels. To learn more about HP’s solutions for enterprise mobility, visit www.hp.com/go/mobile. For questions about mobile application security, visit HP Enterprise Security.
1 “The State of Mobile Enterprise Software in 2011: An IDC Survey of Applications, Platforms, Decisions, and Deployments,” IDC, September 2011