• December 9, 2015

Mobility is the New Interaction Model – Engage With Customers, Employees, and Partners in Creative Ways

Mobility is not about a mobile device. It’s really not even about technology. Mobility is about a new interaction model—a change in the way people of the new millennium interact with other people of their generation.

Interact through engagement

Mobility is the new interaction model, and CIOs must plan for these new systems of engagement.

Mobility, and being connected, is simply a way of life for anyone born in the new millennium. As these people enter our workforce and become tomorrow’s consumers, we must begin to create new ways to engage them as our customers, employees, and business partners.

Perhaps the most relevant question is: As consumers, why are we so powerful when it comes to our mobile applications (apps)? And yet, as employees, why are apps so lacking?

The availability of mobile apps for consumers to interact with their peers and perform tasks in their daily lives has set a high expectation that organizations need to aspire to.

Enterprise CIOs must begin planning for new systems of engagement—that take advantage of mobile technology—to create a new user experience that is more personalized and targeted to individual users’ needs. When properly understood, mobility focuses on helping real people do real jobs in the real world.

Fundamentally though, it’s a business, not technology, challenge. As we move toward planning for these new systems, business executives sometimes struggle to justify mobility from a business perspective. Yet all too often, tech-centric arguments prevail: Is mobility about devices or applications? Should development be HTML5 or native? Is containerization the right path?

A more helpful view takes a logical approach that focuses clearly on tangible business outcomes. In fact, mobility can and does enable organizations to address very specific challenges—from growing market share and opening new revenue streams; to leveraging context-aware experiences that increase profits and accelerate efficiencies and speed-to-market; and fostering more intimate customer relationships. Yet, to tackle these problems and realize opportunities, it may help to first understand more clearly the true value of enterprise mobility.

In truth, mobility is not appropriate for every transaction, and there is little value to a mobile app that is not used. For example, a mobile app for completing a U.S. 1040 tax form would find few takers. And rightly so. Each and every potential mobile app should be assessed based on its business value, mobile readiness, complexity, and ability to connect organizations, brands, and people. A mobility strategy should be judged by its adoption curve.

To fully realize the potential for users in the workplace, mobilizing applications is not really the issue. The real challenge is how to bring access to data or mobilize transactions to solve tangible business problems. This journey often requires transforming enterprise IT, where previous-generation data management, security, and other systems are not flexible or efficient enough to handle this change.

Read on to examine why and how organizations can harness mobility to engage the world in new and more effective ways.

Mobility and social media enable a digital transformation where organizations of all kinds now have an opportunity to change how they engage the world—from consumers and customers to employees, partners, and others across their value chain.

Have one-to-one interactions

Mobility enables a digital transformation that can radically alter industries by improving the way they interact with customers, employees, and partners.

When an enterprise leverages effective mobility, it moves away from the traditional “one-to- many” engagement relationship, toward more personal and contextual one-to-one interactions. This means delivering the same level of digital experience that is available in today’s exciting new generation of consumer applications.

To reach that objective, however, enterprises must establish mobile initiatives correctly and examine their enterprises from the outside in. An outside-in architectural perspective flips the traditional evolution of IT, and begins the process of understanding and connecting consumers—customers, employees, and partners. This model orchestrates across this larger range of constituencies, and is focused on the consumer instead of a single architecture.

This starts a transition toward the New Style of IT, and focuses on explicit sets of interactions and how they evolve. To support this model, organizations need mobility systems capable of delivering applications, content, and services that are reliable, scalable, and secure.

Most of all, effective enterprise mobility should focus on supporting a convenient, personalized, and satisfying user experience. It bears repeating—the user experience should be the focal point of any enterprise mobility initiative. In the business setting, the user experience consists of aesthetics coupled with context, enabled by a process transformation, performance improvements, and availability.

Satisfying those users is no simple feat, especially considering that consumer apps have set the bar very high and users have little patience for mobile apps that don’t measure up. Delivering a highly satisfying, context-aware mobile user experience requires thinking beyond the mobile device.

Think social, mobile, cloud, Big Data, security

Organizations must think beyond the device to a New Style of IT and the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, Big Data, with security.

To become an industry-leading, digitally enabled enterprise, you must think beyond the mobile device—to the New Style of IT—and the convergence of social media platforms, mobile platforms, cloud-enabled services, and actionable insight from Big Data analytics.

The digital enterprise can radically reshape an entire industry, creating a long-lasting competitive advantage through transformation to new business models. Just think about the music industry’s transformation—forever changed by digital media, mobile connectivity, and its complete digital transformation.

We must think holistically about it in order to create personalized mobile user experiences, with real-time data insights and cloud services based on context awareness of location, profile, preference, sentiment, and history, for example.

Think the New Style of IT—Enabling enterprise mobility creates many IT challenges when dealing with device diversity: cost containment, speed to market, security, and performance.

Enable enterprise mobility

Enabling enterprise mobility creates many IT challenges when dealing with device diversity: cost containment, speed to market, security, and performance.

Enterprise mobility is a road paved in complexity. There are significant IT challenges associated with the very diverse range of devices, operating systems, browsers, and technologies. Getting good advice and consulting, before you start this journey, is recommended.

IT Challenges: Device diversity, cost containment, speed to market, performance, security

We are coming from a world dominated by Windows and Internet Explorer, to a BYOD (bring your own device) world with smartphones, tablets, and wearables, running Apple, Android, Windows 8, and BlackBerry; and Safari, Chrome, Silk, and Firefox.

So the big question becomes: “How do you contain costs in a BYOD world?”

Balancing user demands and business needs—for speed to market of new mobile apps—with IT’s need for quality, performance, and security across a diverse range of mobile devices raises the issue of cost containment. How do we contain the cost to design, develop, and test mobile apps that run on so many different form factors and operating systems?

Begin with a plan—Think about the bigger picture and implications of these important market trends; you cannot think about mobility in isolation. Designing the right strategy for your business needs and creating the roadmap you will use to implement your strategy are critical. And it will save time, reduce risks, and help you achieve the value of enterprise mobility far quicker.

Design considerations

  • How much more time must be allocated to designing a great user experience?
  • What is the mobile use case, and how will the information be used?
  • What form factors will use the app, and will your design be responsive or adaptive to multiple form factors?
  • Will your apps need to dynamically respond to different form factors?
  • What future devices should be considered? Wearable devices?

Development considerations

  • Should native mobile apps be developed to create the highest quality native experience?
  • How will you contain costs if you have to build native apps for multiple different devices?
  • Should your organization adopt a write-once, deploy-many approach?
  • Should you develop mobile web apps with a “near-native” experience?
  • How will mobile device features, such as GPS, camera, and accelerometer, be leveraged?
  • Should you invest in a cross-platform mobile app development solution?

Testing considerations

  • How can you maintain quality when testing must be done on so many different devices?
  • Which devices should testing be done on?
  • Should you test on emulators or real devices?
  • How can your organization maintain the cost of testing in a BYOD world?
  • Should you be concerned about testing performance?
  • Do you need to validate mobile apps for security vulnerabilities?

Deployment considerations

  • How will users access the apps?
  • What happens with the data associated with the apps?
  • Do you need a unified app store for multiple, different types of apps?
  • How will users be authenticated?
  • How will apps be secured on the device?
  • Do you need a separate container for business and personal apps?

Identify your mobile opportunities

New systems of engagement begin by identifying mobile opportunities across the business.

This mobile world opens up endless opportunities. Businesses can grow market share, create new revenue streams, build customer intimacy, and increase profit margins by delivering secure, seamless, context-aware experiences in a connected world. Capitalizing on these new opportunities means knowing what information to provide to your customers, employees, and partners through mobile devices. It means understanding your existing applications or processes, and uncovering new ideas to maximize your benefits in the new mobile world.

As CIOs plan for new systems of engagement, they must begin by identifying where the mobile opportunities exist across the business. They must engage with line of business leaders to identify which processes and applications will deliver the most value to the business if mobilized.

  • Identify business value.
  • Assess mobile readiness.
  • Understand complexity.

Establishing a prioritized list of mobile opportunities enables the enterprise to move beyond “random acts of mobility” with a mobile strategy and roadmap that aligns the mobile enterprise architecture to business needs.

Create innovative mobile user experiences

Mobile ideation converts opportunities and concepts into innovative mobile user experiences.

Once mobile opportunities have been identified, it’s essential to create innovative mobile user experiences that engage customers and make employees more productive. The use of mobile ideation and design thinking workshops enables you to convert identified opportunities and concepts into clickable prototypes that demonstrate business value to key stakeholders.

Simple and intuitive mobile apps are the result of understanding your users and using the science of design to build engaging applications that are designed to fit the form factors of mobile devices. It’s essential to adopt a user-centric design approach based on a deep understanding of the user persona and user experience—the context in which they operate. This method means design is built on cognitive psychology principles, evidence from users, and usability best practices, bringing meaningful business value to you and the users who make you successful.

What is user experience?

Innovative mobile user experiences can convert customer interactions into revenue opportunities.

User experience is the interaction between a product and a user—not “what it does” or “how it looks.” A successful user experience balances form and function within the context of what the user is trying to accomplish; a superior user experience provides access to the right information, when users want it, and how they want it.

The goals should be to increase user adoption by designing engaging, responsive mobile user experiences, and reduce application rework and defects through higher levels of user understanding and involvement.

Convert customer interactions into revenue opportunities

The mobile device has emerged as a key channel for customer interactions in many industries. They want a seamless, superior user experience through all available channels including mobile.

And those that deliver innovative omnichannel experiences can create growth by converting customer interactions into revenue opportunities. Forward-looking enterprises are also learning how to use actionable data—including social media, Big Data, sentiment analysis, business intelligence, and other capabilities—to foster more personalized and satisfying engagements.

Creating superior, seamless, context-aware mobile user experiences goes way beyond simply personalizing an offer with a customer name. Steps must be taken to understand the profile and preferences of individual customers and the context in which they are operating.

For example, a frequent flyer and preferred business customer has booked a flight, hotel accommodation, and rental car. In order to enhance brand loyalty with the customer, the customer is upgraded on the selected rental vehicle to a brand new two-door sports car. But, when the customer arrives to pick up the vehicle, the customer has a spouse and four children for a family vacation. Unfortunately, the context under which the business customer was traveling was misunderstood.

Being context-aware is critical to our customer interactions. By understanding information on our customer location, profile, preference, sentiment, history, and other factors, we are able to create a more personalized user experience in our mobile applications, and in doing so, increase the number of interactions that lead to revenue opportunities.

NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center

Actionable consumer insight and engagement
As one of the world’s leading racing associations found, mobility can be combined with social media, analytics, and Big Data to realize major gains. Working with HPE, NASCAR leveraged data and analytics to give its fans, sponsors, and the media real-time interactions through digital, social, and traditional print and broadcast media. Advanced monitoring and measurement technologies enabled the association to analyze fan sentiment, identify emerging issues, and provide faster and more effective communications.

Drive employee productivity with mobile apps

Effective mobile solutions create and deliver employee productivity apps to their preferred mobile devices.

While customer engagement apps are creating revenue growth opportunities, employee collaboration and productivity apps are delivering cost savings through greater efficiencies in business operations. Mobility strategies also go a long way toward improving user satisfaction.

A key part of executing a new BYOD interaction model is enabling owners of unmanaged devices to have ready access to enterprise applications. This not only ensures they have the tools they need, it greatly reduces the likelihood they’ll download or install outside apps to fill a specific purpose.

The key here is easy-but-secure access. By using cloud-based technologies, you can create a single source for multiple types of applications and enable authentication for each user via a single set of credentials—ideally, the same domain credentials they use to access the corporate network.

  • Unified app store—This single user interface—used to access and download all of corporate resources—should include access to native, web, SaaS, and virtualized applications from any supported mobile device. Storefront apps, chosen by the user, are then instantly available for use.
  • Container for native apps—Separate management of business apps and data, and personal apps and data, can best be accomplished by wrapping the business apps so they reside in a secure container on the device. Access to “containerized” apps requires authentication, using the same credentials the user entered at the unified app store.

This lets your employees use their devices for personal and business activities. They can send private and corporate email, and store and access personal and company information. It enables secure file management to address file storage, synchronization, and sharing. You may need to mix on-premises storage with secure cloud storage for compliance, geographic proximity, or data sovereignty reasons.

And what about accessing intranet systems that don’t require a mobile app? An integrated approach uses the cloud to combine services with a single administration interface rather than separate solutions running on a separate infrastructure with independent access and control interfaces.

  • Secure intranet access—Managing access to intranet resources from mobile devices can be a security issue for most IT departments. One solution is to manage access through a secure browser that creates a micro-virtual private network (VPN) connection to your corporate intranet.

If the device is compromised, your IT team can selectively wipe the applications and data in the business container, leaving personal applications and data in place on the device. Plus, a full-service, enterprise mobility management program encompasses device and application management, including configuration, security, inventory, applications, and infrastructure.

  • Two-factor authentication—This enhanced security and access control uses a software token for generating one-time passcodes that add an additional layer of security to credential-based authentication. Untethering employees from the desk and giving them anywhere, anytime, secure access to enterprise systems and data enables the enterprise to improve employee productivity. Furthermore, effective mobile solutions create and deliver employee productivity apps to their preferred mobile devices in a BYOD world.

Task-oriented mobile apps and secure intranet access enable employees to efficiently access and share data, collaborate with other employees, execute tasks, and capture results from remote locations.

City of Anaheim

Employee collaboration and situational awareness
The City of Anaheim sought to improve the efficiency and performance of police and fire services by deploying a mobile application to extend its emergency operations center capabilities. A modular and scalable mobile app lets police and fire, utility, inspection, and management personnel log on to the system directly from their smartphones. By providing fast and reliable access to a situational-aware view of crucial citywide emergency activities, alerts, and advisories, this mobile application supports faster and better emergency decisions.

Use cross-platform mobile apps in a BYOD world

The right mobile application platform reduces the total economic impact of the mobile solution.

Enterprises that support a BYOD policy for employees, and are looking to engage with customers on their preferred devices, should consider adopting a write-once, deploy-many approach to developing mobile applications.

And while mobile web apps using HTML5/CSS3 standards can achieve the desired cross-platform result with a “near native” quality user experience, it’s essential to also consider using a commercial grade, cross-platform solution that delivers a hybrid native quality experience.

In either case, the goal is to improve the time to market of mobile applications by developing and maintaining a single code set that will run on any device that a customer or employee chooses to use. The right mobile application platform reduces the total economic impact of the mobile solution, enabling the IT department to contain development and maintenance costs across a range of mobile device platforms.

Developing cross-platform mobile applications, using an iterative and collaborative lifecycle approach, enables speed to market and quality across a range of mobile devices.

Mobile apps tend to be smaller, more task-oriented, single-focus applications. As such, mobile apps lend themselves very naturally to shorter development cycles and agile development methods.

Agile development methods deliver timely increments of mobile application functionality to users, with constant user involvement and feedback. With this approach, you can adapt to changing business priorities, ensure stakeholder satisfaction, and ultimately increase the adoption rate.

Agile development methods deliver timely increments of mobile application functionality to users.

Contain the cost of testing mobile apps

One of the biggest challenges facing the IT department is the diversity of mobile devices that a mobile application is often required to run on. Users have high expectations for mobile apps when it comes to:

  • Quality
  • Usability
  • Performance
  • Security

But, how do you contain testing costs in a BYOD world?

A unified testing solution helps contain the cost to deliver secure, high-quality mobile apps to a diverse range of devices. Adopting a script once, test many automation approach enables you to test mobile apps on real mobile devices—release after release after release. Applying test automation, to test mobile apps compatibility on real devices, enables you to contain testing costs by cycling automated test cases across each device to ensure the application renders correctly and functions appropriately on each device.

A unified testing solution helps contain the cost to deliver secure, high-quality mobile apps to a diverse range of devices.

A unified testing solution enables you to test the end-to-end mobility system including the functional quality of the mobile application on the device, and any services that the mobile app may be connecting to. You can virtualize the service in order to simulate a response back from the service to test complete transactions and workflows.

Applications remain the most vulnerable layer of the technology stack when it comes to enterprise security and risk. Putting applications on mobile devices that are easily lost or stolen only elevates the risk and makes security the number one challenge to enabling enterprise mobility.

There are several steps that can be taken across the mobile application development lifecycle to identify and remediate the security risks in the mobile application layer. First, you should conduct a comprehensive application threat analysis during the architecture and design phases of a mobile app project. Understand the data you are dealing with in any mobile app transaction, its sensitivity, and any encryption requirements—at rest and in transit.

Next, scan all code developed in order to identify security vulnerabilities that exist at the code level and take actions to remediate the code and close the security holes. Then, when testing the mobile app, penetration tests should be created that are specifically designed to try to exploit the mobile application.

Finally, as the application is deployed to production, continuously monitor the threats that occur on a daily basis.

Secure mobile deployment and management

Provide your employees with an easy-to-use service for anytime, anywhere access to applications and data from any mobile device, including BYOD scenarios. At the same time, ensure IT can manage the right security policies and access controls to protect sensitive enterprise data and applications. You need the important mobile management capabilities for managing devices and their access, and you also need an enterprise application storefront to enable you to better manage application access and file management to bring sync and store capabilities to any device.

Drive business outcomes with enterprise mobility

The bar for mobile applications quality has been set high, based on today’s consumer apps. Users have neither the time nor patience to deal with poorly designed, poorly performing mobile apps.

Deliver the desired business outcome—high-quality mobile solutions that enhance employee productivity and customer engagement.

Those that create the right, high-quality mobile user experiences—in their customer engagement and productivity apps—stand to create a sustainable competitive advantage that redefines their industry.

  • Increase revenue—Convert a high percentage of customer interactions into sales and revenue opportunities with personalized, context-aware mobile applications.
  • Improve efficiency—Redesign your business processes and workflows to take advantage of mobile and collaboration capabilities.
  • Reduce cost—Untether your workers from their desktop and make their daily tasks and activities more efficient.
  • Improve business performance—Increase revenues and reduce costs as you become a digital enterprise.
  • Increase user satisfaction—Offer users the choices they want and the freedom to access the information they need to be productive anytime, anywhere.

About the author

Paul Ashwood

Paul Ashwood is the worldwide product marketing leader for HPE Mobile Applications Services. He started his career with HPE (formerly EDS) in Australia in 1985 in the Systems Engineering Development Program, and has been involved in applications development, testing, and integration throughout his 30-year career. Ashwood has helped deliver large, complex shop floor systems and enterprise business systems for some of HPE’s largest clients in Australia and the United States. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computing from Monash University in Australia.