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HP Software's community for IT leaders // April 2013

Six requirements for mobilizing the enterprise

Your users are in charge now. That means you meet their expectations or lose them.

Not so long ago, applications required users to conform to the nature of the system. If you didn’t know how to use green screens and command lines, you couldn’t use the applications. Today, the opposite is true: users expect apps to “know” them—their locations, preferences, history, friends, and more—and will walk away from an app that doesn’t. 

Today’s enterprise users have these expectations not just for the apps they use in their personal lives, but increasingly for the apps they use in the workplace. And it’s no simple task for developers to meet these expectations. They’re dealing with multiple platforms, devices, languages, and technologies—not to mention complex integrations with legacy systems, where most of enterprise data lives. But apps teams have to deliver if they want to keep users happy and the enterprise humming at a productive pace. Here are six key requirements that any mobile app must meet if it’s going to live up to modern user expectations.

1. Support multiple operating platforms and device form factors.

Deliver apps that can run on diverse platforms, such as iOS, Android, and Windows 8, rather than creating separate parallel apps for each platform. Native apps may require more time, upkeep, and expertise than you have in-house, and users care most about being able to use the apps on whatever device they have on hand.

2. Simplify connectivity to legacy systems of record.

For your apps to be useful, you’ll need a way to connect them with the legacy enterprise systems that hold data on your customers, products, transactions, and more.  

3. Enable management and control of mobile apps.

Managing by user role allows you to control access to specific apps and data, which gives your users easy access to the information that matters most to them and clears away the information that isn’t relevant.

4. Manage security from a central point of control.

Your IT team should have the ability to manage authentication and authorization, revoke access to an app, and remove an app and associated data from the user device. Especially as BYOD becomes the norm, it’s critical that you can control how and by whom your apps are accessed.

5. Avoid developer context switching and accelerate development.

Developers shouldn’t spend their time toggling back and forth between different systems and contexts. They need a single developer workbench that provides access to key tools within the software development lifecycle.

6. Enable context-based collaboration.

Create apps that let users easily connect with each other and collaborate within the context of a business problem. Offer prompts and suggest collaborators based on the activity a user is performing.

Stay focused on the user

When it comes to mobilizing your enterprise, the future is clear: it’s all about engaging the user. Mobile apps must be tailored to the needs and expectations of users, and not the supporting systems. As massive a change as this represents for traditional IT, it’s an unavoidable paradigm shift for success in the mobile era.

For more on how to turn mobility from a roadblock into a strategic asset in the enterprise, see the “Apps to Go” white paper (reg. req’d).


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