Enterprise Mobility in a Nutshell

Bhavesh Gandhi, Chief Information Officer – Healthcare, Piramal Enterprises

How do I improve Productivity, Sales for my business using digital platforms? How do I bring in transparency with my Sales Team with real time Analytics? How do I help the management analyze business hygiene centrally? How do I create a Business Case and showcase the ROI on Digital Transformation for the Enterprise? Also does this transformation need to be driven by IT or Business?

These are few of the common concerns that most CIOs / Head-Digital Marketing would have, as Organizations embark or intend to embark on the journey of Digital Technology also referred to Enterprise Mobility.

Piloting an Enterprise Mobility project requires a Use Case, Project Sponsor (has to be a Business Stakeholder) and target audience i.e.

i. Management

ii. Field Force / Sales Force

iii. Warehouse Operations etc.

Key Considerations

Mobility Device

- Company Owned or

- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

- Cellular or Wi-Fi Devices

Financing Model for company owned devices

- Outright purchase

- Leased

Mobility Platform for Application Development

- Security

- Application Deployment

- Maintenance and Support

A) Mobility Device

Mobile Device strategy needs to be defined around:

i. Whether Mobility Devices must be provided by the Organization or

ii. To adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Other factors which need to be considered, is the operating system (iOS, Android or Windows) which will decide the Tablet / Mobile device.

For enterprise Android and Windows Tablets there are a few players’ mainly local who provide devices mainly imported from other countries and assembled locally. Global brands have limited models and have a very short shelf life. Hence support is a challenge. So the prime factor in selecting Windows / Android Tablet devices is a partner who can support the device for its life span which is at least 18-24 months, i.e. replacement for faulty devices, accessories like charges, case cover.

For iOS, though there is just one player Apple, however there are multiple device versions simultaneously available in the market, and new iOS versions get release annually. Key consideration is which version of device should be chosen i.e. latest version n or n-1, n-2 version. It is recommended to choose version n-1, since the difference in features between 2 versions in not significant enough for enterprise roll out.

If the Organization has higher attrition, it would make more sense to think of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy so that the ownership of the device resides with the employee.

Cellular or Wi-Fi? It totally depends on the geographical coverage of the target users. If the users are based in Metro cities with a better 3G/4G network it would be advisable to go for a Cellular device. If the target users are based out of Tier 2/3 cities or Rural Areas, Wi-Fi device would be more appropriate, since 3G/4G network is not well established.

B) Financial Model

Cash rich organizations, prefer to purchase the assets outright (CAPEX), and some prefer Lease Rental (OPEX).

However, this is a primary decision for the Finance team. In case of Marketing / Sales initiatives, business heads even consider spend on mobility device roll outs as a replacement for their existing Promotional Material spend (OPEX) which reflects in their business P/L.

C) Mobility Platform for Application Development

This aspect is as critical as the mobile device itself. There are various open source and licensed products for mobile application development.As a strategy the application should be developed compatible to all mobile operating systems viz. iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry using HTML5 and incorporating Responsive Design principles.

Native applications should be considered only if native features of the mobility device i.e. camera, speaker etc. are to be used.

CIOs also needs to decide that the development must be done in-house or outsourced based on whether the in-house team has the competency.

D) Security

Data Leakage Protection (DLP) is an important factor to keep in mind especially if the industry is bound by regulatory obligations e.g. Pharmaceuticals.

This can be taken care by implementing a Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool e.g. MAAS360, AIRWATCH, MOBILEIRON etc.     

E) Maintenance and Support

Tie up with vendors who can Level 1 support on mobility devices, accessories, MDM with a strategy to provide replacements of devices in 2 working days or less.