3G will Boost Enterprise Mobility in India

by Tabrez Khan    Jul 15, 2009

What are the mobility challenges organizations face today?
We have seen in our experience that most organizations that we have worked with understand at a high level that they would like to mobile enable their processes… however to begin with they have:

1. No clear guidance on mobile solutions and their integration with organizational resources
2. A dilemma on whether to custom build or buy off the shelf
3. No clear picture on defining the success criteria for a mobile deployment
4. Confusion on the effort required to deploy, maintain and support a mobile solution
5. Finally no guidance on the impact to them of rapidly changing trends - new devices and new capabilities that are being introduced in the mobility landscape.

Given this backdrop, how does an enterprise embed mobility in its IT architecture/fabric?
The key to embedding mobility in the enterprise rests on two important aspects:

1. Understanding the linkage between people and process - what areas of an enterprise agent’s day to day work would give maximum returns upon mobilizing.
These areas are usually around personal productivity, information collection or dissemination on the move, securely accessing enterprise resources from a mobile device  or , as has been seen recently - the mobile "act on" capability i.e. an ability to monitor, manage and drive enterprise processes from a mobile device.

For some enterprises an understanding of the people invariably leads to how we may mobile enable to customers and partners. However the general principles remain the same.

 
2. Understanding the technology landscape: having understood people and processes, a clear understanding of the current and planned technology landscape of the target enterprise is essential. That is, identify elements in a technical infrastructure which would lend themselves to mobility most easily. An example would be a J2ee based enterprise app that exposes web services or the presence of a Blackberry Enterprise server in the enterprise or Microsoft’s exchange server.
 
These two aspects are an integral part of Endeavour’s "Mobile Opportunity Assessment - MOA" which we offer our enterprise customers. This assessment, which is usually a 2-3 week exercise, is part discovery and part mobile education targeted towards an enterprise.

How are Endeavour’s applications driving enterprise mobility?
Enterprise applications developed by Endeavour  are deployed by companies ranging across sectors such as manufacturing - mobile real time factory data, banking - mobile trading / portfolio management/ Forex / commodity/equities, patient healthcare - mobile health management , healthcare providers - hospital asset management, service provisioning - servicing of heavy vehicles with any paper chain involved, media - mobile news paper readers and many more.

These applications give enterprise users an amazing reach in being able to discharge their enterprise functions while on the move. Whether it is a simple task as checking on an order status or a more complicated one such as effecting a restart of a server that has run out of virtual memory, mobile apps are allowing people to execute while on the move. In terms of role, mobile enterprise apps are being used from CXO s to functional heads to sales force agents to shop floor supervisors.

Can business critical apps be made mobile?
Indeed they can. To quote a few examples, Endeavour has mobile enabled real time factory metrics for its customers in the US; supervisors use this data to control critical manufacturing parameters; Endeavour’s mobile anesthesia manager helps doctors make critical decisions about patient health parameters vs. drug dosages; trading and portfolio management apps allow traders to place orders in real time. So business critical apps not only can be mobile enabled but it is these critical apps that give maximum return on investment when mobile enabled.

There are some key considerations while implementing mobility such as mobile network latency and bandwidth, device computing power and battery life and security.

What is your view on the current enterprise mobility scenario in India and comparison with global trends?
Enterprise mobility scenario in India since 2008 is very healthy and is at par with global trends. The area which held India back for sometime was mobile data - bandwidth and cost; but with the coming of 3g and lowered costs of smart devices, India, more than any country is looking to benefit from enterprise mobility. For example one company we are helping is doing a pilot for enabling a 10000 sales agent plus sales and distribution force with mobile data collection capabilities. This kind of scale for mobility adoption is more the exception than the rule globally.

As competition heats up Indian enterprises will be forced to unlock further efficiencies using mobility and so we are very bullish on the Indian market. Since early 2008 we have had an exponential increase in requests from Indian enterprises for customized mobile solutions.