How CIOs can create more agile mobile business operations
Enterprises today need their mobile business operations to be flexible and fast. Otherwise, they can’t effectively compete in the real-time digital economy, where sales and customers can be gained or lost in seconds. Fortunately, CIOs have a number of mobile technologies at their disposal. These enable them to create the agile operating infrastructures that will bring their enterprise’s business to the next level.
The advantages of mobile technology are now obvious to most C-suite executives. By using mobile devices and apps, employees can access and share information from anywhere, providing the flexibility and agility necessary to collaborate and make faster decisions. A business also benefits when customers can use mobile devices to find information about products or services, communicate with a service representative or place a purchase order.
Indeed, to millions of people these days, business and life have become mobile-centric. Therefore, employees need a lot more than just their own smartphones and favorite — often insecure — mobile apps in the workplace. For mobile business operations to work effectively, IT needs to create an agile operating infrastructure that supports the level of engagement and flexibility mobile-centric employees, partners and customers expect. It should also fully support the business’s mission.
To make their enterprises’ mobile business operations agile, CIOs need to ensure their technologies integrate with the existing IT infrastructure in a way that supports the enterprise’s strategic objectives. While the end-user experience should be the starting point for mobile tool development, IT professionals must be able to manage and secure mobile devices, apps and data from the back end.
Depending on its specific requirements and goals, an enterprise can rely on vendor platforms specializing in mobile device management, mobile app management or a combination of both. Other vendors supply a full range of enterprise mobile services, including device management and deployment, mobile network services and mobile virtualization services. Once an enterprise’s mobile technologies are fully integrated with the IT infrastructure, users should be able to quickly and securely access a wide range of data, apps and other networked resources using their devices.
Have the Right Apps for the Job
After several years of watching employees go rogue by deploying their own apps and cloud tools, many enterprises are now taking mobile development seriously. They realize that users have higher expectations for their work apps, but that internally developed solutions are inherently more secure than programs downloaded from the Internet.
To meet employees’ needs for quality, customized productivity apps and the digital economy’s competitive demands, more enterprises are investing in mobile development platforms for their in-house projects. Mobile development platforms are highly flexible, enabling real-time collaboration and testing, along with rapid development and deployment. Mobile apps can be built and launched on-premises, in the cloud or in a managed services facility.
Lean and Mean
To accelerate mobile initiatives, some enterprises are turning to DevOps, which has roots in the agile and lean development movement. The method relies on a number of tools and techniques, including automation and collaboration, to rapidly build and deliver business apps.
As developers build and update mobile apps, it’s imperative that they conduct meticulous performance testing on all target platforms and systems. This will help them avoid coding flaws and interoperability issues that can hamper productivity and execution. DevOps automates the many repetitive steps necessary in the design and testing process, shrinking the development life cycle while reducing costs. This in turn frees up developers to collaborate with each other, and they can work closer with IT to streamline the app development and deployment process while improving software quality.
The practice, or art, of DevOps relies in large part on the concept of continuous integration and delivery. CIOs can expedite their mobile business operations by making the method a bedrock of their development process.
Getting to that point means finding developers with DevOps experience and building an agile culture across IT. The development team should value speed, automation and collaboration. It might not happen overnight, but the end result will be a lean mobile development process that is responsive to users’ needs and efficiently leverages IT resources.
Enterprises that lack an agile and responsive mobile technology infrastructure risk falling behind competitors, especially those that are effectively leveraging mobile devices and apps across multiple platforms, networks and data centers. To support a mobile-first enterprise, CIOs should integrate mobile technologies with existing IT infrastructure, choose the best mobile app development program for the enterprise’s needs and apply DevOps practices and principles.