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What's Old is New Again: Mobility Brings Some Familiar Challenges

by Dave Hannon

February 14, 2012

By Dave Hannon


There's a lot to be excited about when it comes to enterprise mobility. There are new capabilities, new business opportunities, and new jobs available in the enterprise as a result of mobility's crashing the enterprise party. But, according to a recent survey of CIOs, the biggest challenge to developing a successful mobile app has nothing to do with technology --it's the soft stuff that presents the challenge.

"Building mobile applications requires intense collaboration between numerous groups within the organization, including marketing, IT, operations and sales," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "It's important for mobile application developers to have strong soft skills, in addition to the ability to write code and test and debug software applications."

Yes, according to a survey of 1,400 CIOs conducted by Robert Half Technology, the biggest challenge for IT teams when developing mobile apps is collaborating across departments. And it's an important point because it emphasizes the fact that enterprise mobility is not simply an IT issue -- it's an IT-meets-business issue. A successful mobile app simply won't meet its goals if developed in the IT vacuuum. Because a typical IT developer doesn't know what a sales person does while out on a sales trip (write your own joke there). Or what kind of information a field service technician might need on the road.

So how do you ensure that collaboration takes place in development of a mob ile app? Well for starters, pick the right people for the mobile app development team. And that might not be as easy as it sounds, since the second-biggest challenge in the Robert Half survey was finding mobile talent.

But beyond pure talent, some basic IT project team best practices and the right project platform can help foster more collaboration.

And for SAP organizations specifically, the company is going to great lengths to help foster a collaborative environment between vendor and customer. (See What Would You Like to Develop Today?)

So the takeaway here is don't underestimate the organizational challenges that a dramatic new trend like enterprise mobility can bring, in addition to the technical ones. Enterprise mobility might bring some development headaches at first, but it also might just be the thing that bridges that divide between business and IT. 

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