Smart phones, tablets, high-speed wireless networks and cheaper data costs have helped to make mobility an accepted and increasingly expected part of the everyday business landscape.
However, one of the big problems facing organisations as they consider introducing mobile services is the choice between available technologies.
The way a mobile capability is developed and delivered has an impact on the number of staff, the type of skills required, the time and cost to develop, as well as long term cost of ownership. And it is a constantly changing landscape. So how do resellers judge what’s right for their customers?
Developing device specific apps may seem an easy way to get started but long term, a profusion of mobile apps creates an IT management nightmare, taking us back to the early days of the PC era and a confusion of applications that all function in their own way, can’t talk to one another and result in information being locked in silos. They are a different class of solution to those required by an organisation seeking to deliver a complex raft of services through mobiles.
The question then is how can resellers assist organisations looking to deploy a mobile architecture?
The first point of order is to determine if your customer’s need is more of a point solution or if their mobility needs run across the enterprise, meaning their mobility requirements are many and varied, likely to evolve in complexity in the foreseeable future, and are therefore shaping as a significant challenge. If it is the latter, the more manageable approach and the approach which is rapidly gaining the following of the analyst community is to use a service delivery platform.
A service delivery platform can be viewed as higher level architectural layers, abstracted from both the various sources of content and the increasing range of mobile services demanded by a wide group of users – customers, staff, contractors, business partners – and contain all the infrastructure and administration that would normally need to be programmed. They simplify the task of getting mobile by offering a rapid delivery environment pre-populated with a range of enterprise level features that can be applied to meet the needs of each mobile service offering.
Ensure that you also conduct a review of the web services and APIs around your customer’s web, intranet and other business systems. More open interfaces to such systems allow for the easier adoption of mobile platforms and reduce your client’s dependency on restrictive vendor specific solutions. Just as your client doesn’t need to manage a proliferation of mobile apps they also don’t need to manage a proliferation of mobile offerings from each of their software vendors.
When thinking about mobility for a customer, focus on what is really required – the interactions different groups of customers will want to perform when mobile and a single framework that will enable the development of unique services for delivery across all mobile phone operating systems.
There are real opportunities for resellers to assist their customers in developing affordable, flexible and phased mobile enterprise architecture.