As the world of enterprise mobility continues to evolve, the discussions I’m hearing from both vendors and workforces is evolving well beyond just managing devices. Sure, we’re still going to be talking for quite some time I expect about individual vs. corporate liability, but clearly the discussion has evolved from “basic” mobile device management to a broader debate around enterprise mobility management.
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Part of that evolution is because of applications. It’s not just about the 300,000+ applications you can find on Apple’s App Store, but about the kinds of applications that companies can develop either by leveraging mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAPs) as well as any old custom built application they may want to use. I’m not here to debate the merits of one method of developing “internal” apps vs. another because each has its own pro’s and con’s.
The one thing I do want to touch upon today however is the discussion around the next “killer app” for the ever increasingly mobile workplace. What’s a killer app? An application that can be used by almost anyone in your workplace….it’s something that is basically ubiquitous in the desktop environment. Sure, most organizations have deployed mobile email solutions, and that is still gaining traction within the workplace (in terms of penetration) but we at the bleeding edge of enterprise mobility are always thinking about what’s next.
Some people have talked about mobile CRM or SFA or even mobile unified communications as the next killer app. Heck, I was a proponent of that last one for quite some time as the heir apparent to that moniker. Well, I have been spending some more time thinking about this question. While I am still a big fan of mobile UC, I no longer believe it will be THE next killer enterprise mobility app. I want to suggest instead that there will be no future killer application for the mobile enterprise.
Yes folks, there will be no killer apps for the mobile enterprise – at least I don’t think there will be. Hunh??? So why are we investing so much time, energy, thought and MONEY on this “stuff?”
Well, there obviously IS value in creating software for mobile devices….but are these really applications per se? When I think of an application, I think of things like email, ERP, desktop productivity, etc. I think however that the greatest benefits that will come from mobile software is when we think about our internal business processes and how these tasks can me accretive to the organization when mobilized. And there’s the key. Mobile tasks.
The sales guy won’t just want to see CRM information, but s/he may also want to see the status of an order….or see what is available in inventory. Another person may want to see when their expense report will be approved. These are singularly focused tasks – mini apps if you will, that will allow you to quickly get the information you need on one specific issue/topic/request.
Remember a few years ago when we started talking about making sure we didn’t throw the proverbial kitchen sink into mobile applications? This is the epitome of that mindset. Get in….get out….and you’re done. You got the information you need and yuo can go on with your life…
So what do you think? Am I on to something here? Should we stop thinking about mobile apps and instead about how we can mobilize tasks?