Sell Mobility to Your Board with ROI, Not Novelty

At the Computing Magazine Enterprise Mobility and Application Management 2015 Summit a few weeks ago, Allergan’s IT chief Wei Wang told attendees that introducing enterprise mobility into the enterprise is less about impressing stakeholders with technology and far more about proving use cases.

“A big challenge,” Wang said, “has been convincing the business that mobility delivers value.” This is especially difficult because of regulatory obstacles in the pharmaceutical sector. Wang found success selling mobility with use cases like increased digital interaction by the sales force, which believes in large part that only direct personal contact with a customer is effective.

It’s no surprise that regulations in healthcare make enterprise mobility a serious undertaking. We’ve seen first-hand how frustrating regulation-laden mobile apps can be. It’s no wonder that employees would opt to go back to more traditional communication methods when they have to navigate a clunky system that could easily be improved while still remaining secure.

Wang’s idea of selling enterprise mobility with use cases and not novelty may be based in the difficult healthcare environment, but it’s worth building off of.

We know that boards and other decision-makers at companies don’t want novelty. Or at least, novelty isn’t enough to sell them on a new, large investment. (Is “Everyone’s going mobile, and we should too!” really a compelling argument? No.) But we’ll take Wang’s idea about use cases and move it one step forward. You should be selling mobility to your board with ROI, not novelty.

Use cases and specifics are good; telling company stakeholders that mobile sales apps can increase productivity is much better than saying, “We need to go mobile.” But ROI is better. The ideal scenario would be running a small test and showing key decision-makers how well the mobility program worked—how many users engaged with the app, how much time it saved, how productivity increased, and what bang they got for their buck.

Even if you don’t have a test case to build off of, it’s immensely more useful to come armed with a plan for tracking ROI than it is to sell on novelty, or even specific use cases. Don’t just tell your board that you’re planning on helping salespeople be more productive. Tell them that you have a way to monitor analytics that will help you determine the ROI of your apps.

All the decision-makers we’ve ever talked to have been delighted by the prospect of having hard data to base future decisions off of. Your argument for enterprise mobility can only be made stronger with data on your side.

When selling mobility to your board or anyone else, don’t sell on novelty. Sell on ROI.

Posted in EMM, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management | Leave a comment

As Demand for Mobile Apps Rises, Enterprises Continue to Struggle

A new study from 451 Research and Kony Inc. shows that more than half of the 480 respondents plan to deploy 10 or more enterprise mobile apps in the next two years.

That’s good news. The rest of what the study [PDF] found isn’t.

There are two main problems highlighted by this research. For one, the majority of developers and IT management within the enterprise are currently grappling with who has ownership of mobile projects.

More worryingly, many IT departments are ill-equipped to meet the rising demand for enterprise mobile apps, citing budgetary constraints, a skills gap, technology fragmentation, and more as reasons they may struggle to keep up with app development. In general, capabilities are lagging far behind expectations.

That’s the report. But what does it mean in practice?

For us, this study signifies a need for today’s companies to do three things:

  • Build out capabilities in-house, and use an app development platform to make development cheaper and easier. While there are outsourced app developers, companies concerned about cost and agility would do well to build limited capabilities for app development in-house, and augment them with tools like the ones we mentioned in our post last week. Today’s app development platforms streamline the development process and make it much easier and cheaper to manage.
  • Develop a crystal clear strategy around enterprise mobility. Companies also need to have a strategy that defines who’s in charge of mobile app development, who’s in charge of management and testing, what the company’s EMM policy is, and what the company hopes to gain from enterprise mobility. This strategy should set a framework for measuring success, and also give clear direction on how to attain it.
  • Have systems in place for enterprise mobility management. Finally, companies must remember that development is only half the battle (or less). No matter how you develop your apps, you also need to be able to manage them from development to deployment and beyond. Internal structure does help with this, but a tool like App47 can greatly streamline the process and give companies a single portal for management.

While you certainly could take this research as a sign that we’re headed for the app-ocalypse, we see it as an exciting time for businesses to build out their capabilities and really take advantage of everything that enterprise mobility has to offer.

Moving your business towards enterprise mobility maturity and away from a fear of app development can be made much easier through today’s excellent tools. That’s true from development through management.

Taking these three steps to heart isn’t all today’s companies need to do, but it is a great foundation that can help enterprises buck the trend and truly thrive in enterprise mobility.

Posted in EMM, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, Mobile App Development, Mobile Application Deployment, Mobile Application Management | Leave a comment

Enterprise Mobility: Headed for the Perfect Storm

Even if you haven’t seen The Perfect Storm, you probably have an image in your head of what a perfect storm looks like. If you’re anything like us, you probably imagine high winds, rough seas, and heavy rain, all of which combine to make the storm of a lifetime.

Would you believe us if we told you we were headed right towards the middle of a perfect storm?

In enterprise mobility, we’re seeing a convergence of many factors helping brew their own kind of perfect storm. While independently these factors may only be a blip on the radar, combined together, they create the possibility of catapulting enterprise mobility and MAM into the mainstream.

These three factors are:

  1. The disillusionment of MDM. Companies who have previously implemented MDM are finding out that it doesn’t work in all scenarios. MDM deployment models are time consuming and inefficient. As more and more companies figure this out, more and more of those same companies are looking for a better way.
  2. The maturity of app development tools. Tools have become extremely mature, making it easier for enterprises to develop enterprise-grade software quickly and inexpensively. Platforms like OutSystems, Globo, and AnyPresence have shortened the app development timeline from years to months or even weeks. This is a huge benefit for companies getting into MAM and enterprise mobility.
  3. The sheer volume of mobile apps in the enterprise. Finally, as companies become more familiar with mobility and as they implement tools like those listed above, their volume of apps increases significantly. We used to qualify clients as having ‘a lot’ of apps if they had 5 or more. Now, many clients are coming in with 10 or 20. Though quick and often inexpensive to develop, these apps and their users still need to be managed.

If ever there was an inflection point on the graph charting enterprise mobility growth, this is it.

As all of these factors continue to proliferate and take shape, the perfect storm is getting closer and closer. We think it will probably be about a year until things finally boil over and MAM explodes in popularity, but no matter the timeline, all of the elements for that perfect storm are finally in place.

Buckle up for enterprise mobility—it should be a fun ride.

Posted in EMM, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM | Leave a comment

The Three Phases of Enterprise Mobility Maturity (and Why They Matter to Your Business)

A recent article by Dmitri Tcherevik of Enterprise Apps Tech explores an interesting concept: an enterprise mobility maturity model.

As Tcherevik notes, several studies, like SAP/ASUG’s Mobility Benchmarking Study, point to a correlation between the performance of a company and its maturity in the area of enterprise mobility. Companies with high enterprise mobility maturity demonstrate higher revenue growth and better operating margins.

Of course, as we all learned in school, correlation does not always equal causation. There are likely other things at play in enterprises with high mobility maturity that influence their success. Even so, what’s most interesting about Tcherevik’s insight here is his mobility maturity model with three different phases listed below: aware, reactive, and proactive.

enterprise mobility maturity graph

If you’d like, you can read Tcherevik’s full descriptions of the different phases in the article here. The graphic above, however, does a good job of summing up the three phases.

At this point, most companies likely fall somewhere along the spectrum between aware and reactive. Fortunately, it’s somewhat rare these days for companies to have no mobility strategy whatsoever. At the same time, it’s also somewhat rare for companies to have a clearly articulated strategy and dozens of custom applications. Again, the average enterprise lies somewhere in those first two phases.

So why does all of this matter?

Even if enterprise mobility maturity doesn’t lead directly to the revenue growth and better operating margins outlined by Tcherevik, there are still many reasons to develop a robust mobility strategy, included increased productivity, streamlined process, informed app development, and more. All of which, we might add, do position a company better for success in the long run.

As more and more companies get on board the enterprise mobility parade, one final thing to note about these phases is that there’s no reason a company couldn’t jump directly from the aware phase to the proactive phase. While that would take careful planning and proper vendor support, it’s entirely possible to go from a BYOD policy only to a robust strategy with custom apps and proper management. Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what we’d recommend.

Take a look at the criteria outlined in Tcherevik’s graph and assess how mature your company is in its enterprise mobility strategy. If you find yourself looking more like an aware company than that of a reactive or proactive one, it’s likely time that you start thinking about developing a better mobility program.

Posted in BYOD, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management | Leave a comment

Recap: App47’s Spring Release Webinar

A couple weeks ago, the App47 team hosted our Spring Webinar. With our Spring Release, we wanted to take some time to review our current product and answer questions from potential App47 clients.

In the webinar, we walked through our current product and showed how to do all of the following:

  • App creation
  • User management
  • Admin management with fine-grain access controls
  • Manage different users on different devices
  • View and manage analytics including:
    • Usage by model, OS version, app version, and more
    • Crash logs
    • User engagement metrics

In addition to the overview, we also took a survey of our viewers’ experience with mobile apps and mobile app management. Over 90% of viewers have developed custom apps for the enterprise, and a similar percentage would consider using MAM to replace MDM—a positive sign for us!

Based on our feedback from the webinar, the trend is clear: now, more than ever, there are more apps in the enterprise, and more of a focus on app management. That’s a big turnaround from days where device management ruled and custom apps were uncommon. MAM is here to stay!

If you’d like to learn more about what you see here, good news: you can view a recording of our webinar! All you have to do is visit this link. To view the webinar, you’ll need to provide your name and email address—it’s that simple!

For any other questions about this webinar, don’t hesitate to reach out to us in the comments or on Twitter @App47.

Posted in App47 Product Tips/Tricks, Enterprise App Store, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, Mobile Application Management | Leave a comment

4 Choices for Secure Smartphones

Security is one of the most overlooked aspects in a typical smartphone user’s list of features, when it really should be the first. Luckily, there are plenty of options for businesspeople who use their smartphones to increase productivity in the workplace that have great specs and security features.

Samsung Galaxy S 6/S 6 Edge

The Galaxy S 6 and S 6 Edge come with security features, such as a fingerprint scanner and its Touchwiz functionality. These phones also contain a secure proprietary feature for people who like an extra step in security with their personal files (as well as business users). It’s known as Knox, which works like a mobile device management suite. Knox allows you to compartmentalize your files into a separate virtual partition on the phone, so it can be remotely locked or wiped if the device is lost or stolen. And it is handy for those who use their own devices for work and their personal lives because it keeps everything separate.

Apple iPhone 6

Apple’s iPhone 6 has been a huge hit since the first day it came out. The TouchID is one security feature on the iPhone 6 that is more accurate than Apple’s previous devices due to hardware and software upgrades.

It also includes a couple new iOS security features. The iPhone 6 comes with message encryption, which gives users peace of mind that no one can intercept their messages while they are in transit. In fact, not even a wire tap order can penetrate the transmission. Both iMessage and FaceTime utilize this feature, so users’ face-to-face chats are secure as well. Additionally, iCloud Keychain securely stores and automatically fills out passwords on set websites and apps. This lets users create strong, randomized and unique passwords without having to worry about remembering them.

HTC One M9+

The HTC One M9+ is the first HTC phone to feature a fingerprint scanner. According to Android Central, this phone is different than the original M9 because it has upgraded features, such as the fingerprint scanner between the bottom dual front speakers. This fingerprint scanner is different from the ones on the Galaxy S 6 and the iPhone 6 because it doesn’t serve a double function as a button and is solely a scanner. It’s still unknown whether this makes the scanner more accurate, but, if so, will Apple and Samsung follow suit? Currently, this phone is not available in the United States, but it can be ordered through online vendors.

Smart Circle Blackphone 2

Gizmodo claims that the Blackphone 2 is probably the most secure smartphone in the world. The Blackphone 2 runs a heavily modified version of iOS, called PrivatOS. It does not feature a fingerprint scanner like the other phones mentioned, but it does have an app store that is unique to the Blackphone. Although the App Store on the iPhone is regulated, PrivatOS kicks it up a notch. It lists the permissions in plain language so you can decide if the app is secure enough before downloading and using it.

Posted in BYOD, EMM, Enterprise Mobility, Mobile App Security | Leave a comment

11 Must-Have Tools for Small Businesses

Surviving as a small business these days is tough. Thriving in the face of competition is even tougher. Large, well-established organizations often have more resources, more manpower, and better tools, all of which position them for success.

But that doesn’t mean small businesses should give up. Just the opposite, in fact. Small businesses have a number of benefits over enterprises, not the least of which is agility. And, thanks to the wealth of tools for small businesses available today, a small company can compete and perform the same functions served by departments at their larger counterparts.

Today, we thought we’d give a shoutout to a handful of tools that help us run an efficient, lean organization. We may not have thousands of employees, but we do have a lot of tools at our disposal that position us for success—even as a small business. Take a look for a few of our favorite tools for small businesses:

  1. Quickbooks online: The one-stop-shop for accounting, vendor payment, invoicing, and payroll.
  2. Nutshell.com: We came from Salesforce, which is a great tool, but tougher to track small details with. Nutshell is a tremendous (and economical) tool for tracking leads, managing leads, and all the things you’d want sales software to do. Easily our favorite on the list.
  3. Zendesk: A great support issue management software for looking at open issues, tracking support tickets, resolving tickets, and general support management.
  4. Scout: Scout monitors production systems and keeps track of everything from diskspace to databases all in one fairly-priced portal.
  5. Hootsuite: Social media management software. A must-have for businesses like ours without a dedicated social media department.
  6. Lingohub: Trying to reach multiple languages at once? Lingohub is pay-as-you-go translation that works really well. This is ideal for small companies trying to have an international impact.
  7. PivotalTracker: A tool for requirements management. We’ve been using this since day one and have been pleased the whole time.
  8. GitHub: GitHub is our home for source code. Even if you’re only slightly involved in open source, GitHub is a must-use tool.
  9. Basecamp: Basecamp is our tool for managing projects—essentially, anything that doesn’t fit into any of our other tools. Basecamp is very easy to use and has helped us navigate an endless number of projects.
  10. Google: We all know and love the tech giant Google. App47 uses Google to host our email server. (We use the calendar sometimes, too.)
  11. Mailchimp: Finally, Mailchimp is a tool for email marketing. Whether you’re sending a webinar or testing a newsletter, it’s great to have one interface with tracking all the way through.

Tools like the ones listed here used to be limited to big corporations with lots of resources. Now, for a small fraction of the cost, small businesses can operate like large enterprises. No need for multiple departments and lots of red tape—just sign up and go!

These 11 tools have made our lives here at App47 a heck of a lot easier. We may be a small team, but thanks to Zendesk, Hootsuite, Basecamp, and company, we can remain competitive in an industry jam-packed with heavy hitters.

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How to Transition to a Paperless Office

Our world is increasingly going paperless, but the transition hasn’t come quickly or easily. A Loyola University report noted that the average office worker still utilizes 10,000 sheets of paper per year, or the equivalent of about two pounds of paper per day. Whether your company has one employee or one thousand employees, the conversion to paperless processes can save lots of money, time, and above all, increase the security threshold of your operations.

Here’s how to make the transition:

Find the Best Cloud Provider

When all the data for your personal or professional needs is located on one server, you want to be certain that that server is the absolute best money can buy. A cloud hosting service will allow you to store documents in a digital format and retrieve them from anywhere on the planet, but not all cloud hosting services are created equally. More than half of all respondents to a SiliconAngle survey reported moving sensitive data onto their cloud platforms, making them potential targets for hackers and identity thieves. Invest in your security by selecting the best, and safest, cloud provider that your budget allows. Ensure that your cloud provider offers firewall protection against Trojans and viruses, in addition to the ability to reset the security protocol remotely in case a computer or tablet is stolen.

Backup Data Frequently

The risks that a small company faces with regard to hacking are far too great to ignore. In fact, one in five small businesses will be hacked within a year of their start-up, reports OneTechSys, since they lack the resources needed to keep up with the digital arms race of information security.

By backing up your data regularly, you’ll be ensuring your small business the best defense possible against phishing attacks that could corrupt or delete information ranging from consumer credit cards to employee Social Security numbers. A daily backup at the completion of the work cycle remains the most efficient and practical way to ward off digital attacks.

Use Digital Currency

The title of a paperless office doesn’t just apply to the paper in your fax machines and printers. Digital payments allow you to eliminate cash and gain much greater security for each transaction. Mobile wallet platforms allow users to pay via tablet or smartphone, and are the newest form of exchange, eliminating security concerns with password and identity protection.

LifeLock reminds consumers that using a mobile wallet requires special care, ensuring that transactions aren’t made over unsecured Internet connections or using malware apps that can steal data. Never use a mobile wallet app from a company without a strong reputation for security.

Scan and Shred

The last steps of the paperless office transition requires transferring all existing paper onto a digital platform and then eliminating the physical copy. This is the most work-intensive step, since it requires scanning and shredding each individual document. Branch Banking & Trust Company offers a handy list of what and when to shred. Though it’s nice to have hard copies of certain documents, for most documents you only need digital versions.

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Wrapping Up Our Series On Mobility Use Cases

This post concludes our series on mobility use cases. For previous parts in the series, see: IntroductionPart I (B2C)Part II (eCommerce); Part III (Enterprise).

Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered three big mobility use cases for the App47 platform.

From Gannett/USA Today using App47 to test apps amongst its affiliates and end users, to ProPack and others using App47 to bundle apps in an alternative to Google Play, to AmerisourceBergen using App47 to manage thousands of associates and dozens of apps, it’s clear that there are a lot of different ways to use our platform.

While these mobility use cases seem like they’re all very different—and in some ways, they are—they’re all united by one common technology: App47.

Our platform offers many feature sets and covers a wide variety of uses. Though B2C, eCommerce, and enterprise users all have different needs, many of the features they use are the same. They all want to develop apps in a secure environment, distribute apps safely, monitor and manage apps, view use cases, keep apps secure, and have a deep understanding of how apps are being used. And all of those are features offered by our platform.

Despite these very different users, very different businesses, and very different needs, this same set of technology is able to solve many different challenges at once. That’s the beauty of the App47 platform: it uses a core set of features to cover a variety of uses across many different businesses.

No matter what type of business you run or what your main app challenges are, chances are, you’re united around the fact that you need to test apps, monitor them, and keep them secure.

And that’s the point of this series. We cover nearly all of your mobile app management use cases at once.

Posted in EMM, Enterprise App Store, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM, Mobile App Development, Mobile Application Deployment, Mobile Application Management, Mobile Device Management | Leave a comment

App47 Mobility Use Cases, Part III (Enterprise): AmerisourceBergen

This post is part III of III in the App47 series on mobility use cases. Today, we’re covering an enterprise use case with AmerisourceBergen. For previous parts in the series, see: Introduction; Part I (B2C); Part II (eCommerce). 

When most people think mobility use cases, they think enterprise. And for good reason: platforms like App47 (enterprise mobility management, or EMM) are built around the needs of enterprises who want to use mobile applications.

Long-time App47 client AmerisourceBergen is a textbook example of an enterprise mobility use case. All told, AmerisourceBergen employs approximately 16,000 associates with a diverse set of mobility needs. To take full advantage of the opportunities presented by mobile apps in the enterprise, the company needs a platform to continually develop, test, distribute, and monitor apps.

Although a small company with only a few apps could get by without an EMM platform, when thousands of employees and dozens of apps are put into the picture, such a platform becomes a necessity. AmerisourceBergen utilizes a wide variety of apps. Some are built internally, some are native, some are hybrid, some are web apps, and some are public apps.

This presents the first challenge: the need for a curated app store. AmerisourceBergen needs full control over which users get which apps, which users can use which devices, how apps are deployed, and how users are onboarded—all in an easy-to-use platform. If the app store isn’t easy for users to navigate, they won’t come back. What’s more, the platform needs to be secure not only at the time of app download, but also through the entire period of continued usage. 

A commonly requested feature for in-house developed native apps is version control—something AmerisourceBergen uses frequently. Users aren’t going through a public app store, but it’s still essential to make sure users are staying on the correct version of the app. Most commonly, apps are updated with security patches. Our enterprise app store ensures that versions stay current, and defines security boundaries and enforces them.

Which brings us to the bread and butter: analytics. How are apps being used? How often are they being used? Which users are using which apps? Which features are most frequently used, and what impact might those use cases have on the business? Are apps current? App47 gives you full visibility of your mobile apps within the platform, which enables that ever-important ROI tracking that should be part of every enterprise’s mobility program.

Whether they’re deploying to employees, partners, vendors, or anyone else within your enterprise’s ecosystem, you need that full control and those comprehensive analytics. While traditional MDM solutions can typically only be used for direct employees, a solution like App47’s allows companies to serve their entire base of end users at once.

All of these features used by AmerisourceBergen for their enterprise mobility program build off of the features we outlined in our B2C mobility use case a couple of weeks ago. AmerisourceBergen uses App47 to build, develop, and test apps, with full version control along the way. As a large enterprise, AmerisourceBergen uses the full suite of App47’s features, from development to deployment to monitoring and version control once an app is deployed.

Unsurprisingly, most enterprises have an incredibly diverse set of needs—that’s an almost guaranteed byproduct of having so many employees across so many different businesses. App47 covers those needs and then some, and AmerisourceBergen is a great example of the wide variety of features available to companies who use App47 as their EMM platform.

Check back next week! Then, we’ll wrap up and close out this series on mobility use cases. In the mean time, let us know your thoughts by contacting us directly through the comments, or via our Twitter feed @App47. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM, Mobile Application Deployment, Mobile Application Management, Mobile Device Management, Volume Purchase Program | Leave a comment

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