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

3 emerging trends in enterprise mobility

A panel of mobile experts and customers shares three surprising trends that go against conventional wisdom.

To say that mobile has exploded is an understatement. Mobile devices and apps are transforming not just the ways we work and play, but also the way we live. And while the first wave was about consumers, the second wave—well under way—is all about enterprises. How do large organizations take advantage of mobile technology to make users more productive and effective? How can they make it perform the way enterprises need it to?

At HP’s free virtual webinar, Power to Change, a panel of HP mobile experts and customers gathered to talk about how our businesses have reacted to mobility trends—and although the challenges discussed may be familiar, the responses were sometimes surprising.

Yes, BYOD is hard, but it’s becoming manageable

Having two separate mobile devices—one for work and one for home—just doesn’t cut it anymore. The problem, of course, is that users prefer cutting-edge technology that they control, while enterprises prefer tried-and-tested, highly secure devices that they control.

In the old days of the company-issued BlackBerry, mobile device management (MDM) was the way that enterprises locked down phones and data, but that stopped being a feasible solution when users decided to bring their personal phones to the office. Today, MDM is being replaced by mobile application management (MAM). MAM is finally enabling enterprises to manage and secure only certain applications on a device and leave the rest of the phone’s apps and data under the user’s control. That way, IT can still cut off access to critical apps if an employee leaves the company or loses a phone.

At HP, where 120,000 mobile devices connect to the corporate network daily, both MDM and MAM work together to keep things secure.

“We’ve taken a hybrid approach to separate the corporate and private data and give people the ability to get our corporate info, their enterprise apps, but also keep a secure infrastructure,” said Mike Jennett, who heads up worldwide mobile application deployment in HP IT. “We can cut off access, but do it in a way that we’re not wiping out their family photos. It’s been a delicate balance, and we’re still really learning how to walk that tightrope between the corporate and private.”

But, Jennett says, MAM is making BYOD more manageable.

HTML 5 is becoming the only scalable way to develop for mobile

For a while, the debate around HTML 5 has been about its readiness in quality, flexibility, and security. But in the years since those concerns first arose, the HTML 5 technology and supporting ecosystem have been improving. And today, enterprises are increasingly using it as the most—and perhaps only—scalable way to develop for mobile.

HTML 5 runs in a browser and can work across platforms, saving enterprises the time and cost of developing different versions of an app for each different platform its customers use. With HTML 5, developers can use a native app “container” that executes an HTML 5 program, effectively making the app run like a native app that was designed specifically for a particular platform. That means they can take advantage of native functionality like accelerometers and cameras, overcoming one of the earliest criticisms of HTML 5 development.

“HTML 5 does have a lot of benefits because it is standardizing how applications are developed, and that’s going to make it better for us as testers,” said Mat Gookin, test automation lead at SunTrust Bank.

Mobile means minimalism

When enterprises started designing for mobile, many tried to shrink full-blown applications to mobile size. But the best mobile design isn’t about full functionality—rather, it’s about letting users execute certain tasks on mobile.

HP understood that, when it was time to create a mobile version of a massive expense reporting system, moving the entire application to mobile was overkill. Developers talked to business users and discovered that the biggest pain was around a single task: getting expense reports approved by managers. So they built a mobile app to perform just that task. Managers can see reports, approve or reject them, and add comments. The app has sped up approvals dramatically, and the rest of the expense reporting functions are still handled via the full application—which suits the way employees want to use the system.

At Nationwide Insurance, a similar approach to mobile design is taking hold.

“I’m seeing that shift with our development to task-based, too, whether for paying an insurance bill or looking up a policy or getting a visual insurance card if someone is in an accident,” said Petar Puskarich, senior performance engineer at Nationwide Insurance. “The entire app is just a function instead of the full-blown app.”

For developers, this means they have to truly understand how people use the applications and figure out what users really need when on the go.

Keep up with the latest trends and strategies around mobility—and other key technologies, from cloud to analytics to security—with the Discover Performance newsletter.  Subscribe here.


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