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Why Most Enterprise Mobility Projects Fail

Few people recognize how important selecting the right mobile architecture and platform can be to their overall success. Deploying a mobility project is no easy task, and can be a distraction from your core business if not managed properly. For those businesses looking to do it for the first time, going mobile is seen as even more of a high-risk, high-reward situation internally.

Mobility projects, if done well, can help business operations run more efficiently throughout the organization wherever employees need to work, especially those with large field teams who engage regularly with customers. Yet there are projects that fail and some that don’t even launch before they fail. Why?

Before going over the reasons why these projects fail, it’s helpful to understand the organizations that are taking this huge leap to make processes and productivity go through the roof. This typically involves spending a fair amount of money with a limited budget with the faith that this project will, in turn, make the company profitable by making things more efficient, providing better customer service and increasing productivity. Fortunately, successful mobile projects can drive immense ROI.

Let’s look at a few of the common reasons why enterprise mobility projects fail.

Inability to Leverage Multiple Backend Systems
When CEOs/CIOs/CTOs dream of a successful mobility initiative, they envision their mobile workers, office staff, and customers being satisfied with the overall mobility experience. Far too few recognize just how important selecting the right mobile architecture and platform can be to their overall success.  Once these decisions have been made, most organizations neglect to fully consider how important integrating the data from their disparate business systems can be for a successful project. The goal of any good mobile strategy should be to improve collaboration between your company and your customers.

The ability to integrate key data from business systems into mobile apps for the field force, customers and management are critical to a successful mobile project. When employees are in the field, they need to have the right data at the right time to do their jobs, regardless if the employees are online or offline. Timely access to legacy backend systems helps drive ROI in the field. Being able to deliver critical data from business systems such as Salesforce, Oracle, JD Edwards or any other system makes the work in the field more efficient and productive. If the field tech needs to make quick decisions about changes needed for a job, those changes can happen in real-time when you have the right tools at your fingertips.

Planning for bi-directional data flow from the field to the business systems should be a high priority when planning your mobile strategy.  A mobile app is only as good as the data that drives it, so a good place to start is to synchronize business rules, processes, and data. Don’t lock out key enterprise data tables in mobile apps that might provide competitive advantages and better customer service. Selection of a mobility system that can enable connectivity to any backend legacy system is critical to a successful mobility project, ensuring long term mobile project viability and the best possible ROI.

Failure to Innovate
Organizations must continually innovate or risk being left behind. Being flexible, configurable, adapting to ever present changing business needs is why no-code mobile platforms are the wave of the future. What businesses don’t realize is that this will drive their mobile projects toward better user experiences for both their customers and their field force. The upfront evaluation time and software licensing might seem cost prohibitive to some, but selecting a mobility platform that can change and evolve with the needs of the enterprise will decrease the cost of ownership over time. Application lifecycle management for conventional hard coded systems is expensive when factoring in developer salaries and delayed time to deployment.  Because of this expense, many companies fail to continually innovate and grow their mobile apps to meet the customer’s needs.

The right tool can help an enterprise use business analytics to gain market share. Savvy deployment teams will analyze the data coming in from the field to provide better customer service and win more business. And as the business evolves, it’s important to keep up the momentum with a project by updating those apps quickly in the business systems and the field. If the deployment team can’t make app updates easily, they’ll quickly see that the ROI from the overall project will drop dramatically.  Enhanced KPIs lead to better customer service in the long-run. Develop a plan to keep innovation at the forefront of your business and use business analytics to provide feedback on your investment.

Think of it like the movie Moneyball. Analytics in baseball didn’t make sense to most during the Billy Beane-era and no other managers saw any true value in it – except him. Thirty years later, most professional sports teams use analytics to gain an edge in draft picks, winning and budget. Straying away from business analytics can leave organizations one step behind competitors.

Always push for new, innovative ideas. This leads well into the next reason why enterprise mobility projects fail. Organizations shouldn’t launch an enterprise mobility program and then fail to keep up with the interworkings of the backend systems that in turn make the mobile applications robust. Even with a limited budget, take a look at what software or hardware can be updated every year and prioritize what’s important to make the shift to a more efficient solution.

Keep Up with Advances in Mobile Technology
Mobile technology is a highly dynamic field with constantly evolving hardware and software solution sets. It’s important to select a mobile platform that can isolate you from these evolutionary changes. Standardizing on a platform will lead to many great micro and macro wins along the way. The enterprise should select a platform solution that allows them to be nimble and to make the efficiency changes needed along the lifecycle of a project.

It’s important to give the workforce the apps they need on the devices they love. Today’s fast-paced world includes a stunning array of device choices, so stay ahead of obsolescence by moving away from mobile OS platforms that are no longer supported. Today’s workforce demands the flexibility to select the right device for the job, so it’s critical that your mobile apps provide native support for iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems. Limiting yourself to a single operating system is asking for roadblocks in the future.

“This is even more confusing and takes longer than the old way” is a phrase that an employee might say when they’re forced to use apps that aren’t efficient. Creating processes that are well thought out and tested before the apps are deployed is invaluable to avoid frustration in the field.  It’s one thing to create a great application, but it needs to work well for the people actually using it. Going back to the drawing board in a scenario like this is counter-productive and will eventually cause the project to fail or be a massive financial burden.

Mobile is one of the fastest growing industries and it seems that things are changing at lightning fast speed with our phones becoming more powerful every year. Because of this breakneck pace, many enterprises’ mobility projects fail if they aren’t keeping up with the pace of technology.

Companies and projects that fare better are the organizations that select mobile solutions that aren’t compromised by issues like new hardware or new mobile OS’s; their mobile architecture will easily accommodate these types of changes. Avoiding this pitfall allows not only a faster time to market but ultimately longer life cycles for mobile projects. It’s important to keep any eye on mobility trends so you can leverage the advances in mobile technology.

Writing Code is Wasting Resources
Writing custom coded apps is an expensive undertaking that wastes time and resources, especially since most IT departments are already stretched thin. Writing custom coded apps that support all operating systems and that render correctly on all devices is a huge challenge that even the most skilled IT departments struggle with. The vast majority of companies have a huge backlog of mobile app demands from the business units, so the standard approach to development needs to be strongly considered.

Hard coded apps are typically inflexible, expensive and difficult to maintain across evolving underlying mobile OS environments. Putting concrete walls around a mobility project doesn’t give the enterprise room to scale or be creative with new applications. Instead of creating multiple mobility projects for parent-child apps, create one that can build upon itself with different facets. With limited budgets for companies, making the most out of your mobility architecture goes a long way.

Gartner expects the future of mobility to be based on code-free, mobile application development platforms (MADPs) that allow the enterprise to create and deploy even the most complex applications quickly. MADPs offer the maximum in flexibility, extensibility, and isolation from hardware changes. Code-free mobile application development platforms allow the enterprise to develop mobile apps tailored to their needs in a fraction of the time required by other code-based tools.

The most effective platform will have tools for development, deployment, management, and maintenance. To make sure the project runs smoothly, your software provider should also have robust administration tools that include mobile device management, instant messaging, GPS tracking and prioritized synchronization.

Mobility Projects CAN Succeed
Mobility projects can succeed and grow to do incredible things for companies when they’re done well. Jobs are often on the line when these big projects fail or succeed, so time and resources can often be a major hindrance. Most often, enterprises gloss over or don’t think about the little things that make a big mobility project succeed – which is often a small difference between a win or a loss for the project.

In today’s environment, innovative companies are supporting field service workforces with powerful mobility systems. When supported with the right mobile devices, device management, security, real-time connectivity and powerful applications, mobile workers can be transformed into professionals who are able to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention while delivering incremental sales revenues to the bottom line.