Development Models for Enterprise Mobility

by Kevin Benedict

April 2, 2012

My friend and collaborator Andre Guillemin and I have been pondering different development considerations and models for enterprise mobility.  Here are a few of the models we have been discussing:

Model #1 - one mobile application for use on one mobile device
Model #2 - one mobile application for use on multiple mobile devices using the same operating system
Model #3 - one mobile application for use on multiple mobile devices and multiple operating systems
Model #4 - multiple mobile applications for use on one mobile device
Model #5 - multiple mobile applications for use on multiple mobile devices using the same operating system
Model #6 - multiple mobile applications, multiple mobile devices, multiple operating systems and multiple versions of operating systems

I most often see Models #1 and #2 in environments with purpose built and ruggedized devices that utilize RFID or bar code scanners. 

Model #2 is often found when the same application needs to run on two or more different ruggedized mobile handheld computers, but all on the same version of the same operating system. 

Model #3 is often seen in line of business apps.  You have a specific ERP or business app, and a specific business process that is extended out to mobile devices. The mobile app is only intended to be an extension of the one process, but used on different mobile devices and operating systems.

Model #4 is often used when the company has invested heavily into one kind of mobile device.  This is often found when a company has a large inventory of industrial grade mobile handhelds.  Once the mobile device investment is made, the company wants to maximize the ROI , so they look for ways to mobilize additional business processes that they can deploy to the device to maximize their return.

Model #5 is a often found in companies that have all Blackberry, Android or all Windows Mobile devices.  This model is rarer these days.  The advantage is lower development, training and support costs when all users and developers are trained and familiar with the one OS.

Model #6 is the predominant model of mobile apps intended for use on smartphones today, but it is also the most complex to manage.  If you have 5 mobile applications, supported on 4 different operating systems (12 different operating system versions), and running on 25 different mobile devices, then you have the potential for several hundred different combinations that must be maintained.

Since model #6 is the model of today and the near future - mobile platforms, frameworks, IDEs (integrated development environments) and MAM (mobile application management) tools are essential for successful enterprise mobility deployments.

Did I miss any models?  Correct me if I did!


Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the SAP Enterprise Mobility and Sybase Unwired Platform Groups
Read The Mobility News Weekly
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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