Have you ever pondered where the primary value in an enterprise mobility solution resides? Is it in a smartphone with apps in your pocket or a tablet in your hand? Is it the wireless connection to the Internet? Is it the mobile middleware or integration to your back end systems, or is it the back end system?
I proposed that the core value in an enterprise mobility solution is in the back end systems. The back end systems are where the business logic, business processes, big data and business analytics are primarily located. Most enterprise mobility solutions are extending back end systems. This may seem like an obvious thing, but for many it is not. Many people feel there is something magical about mobility and that mobile solutions, on their own, offer big value.
Let's think back a few years to when many of us were carrying mobile PDAs (personal digital assistants). They were mobile and offered some value to us as individuals, but it would be hard to say they revolutionized the enterprise. At that time, the enterprise's business solutions were rarely extended out to PDAs. The PDA apps that did connect to back end systems, were mostly limited to synchronizing to a desktop via a docking stations or USB connections. Back end systems and their value were not being efficiently exposed to mobile workers at that time.
Today, however, back end systems can be efficiently exposed and made available to the mobile workforce. It is this capability that can revolutionize a business. The ability to make the back end system value, available to many more users.
As an increasing number of enterprise mobility vendors enter the market, the ability to design, develop, deploy and maintain a mobile solution rapidly becomes a commodity. The core value of a mobile solution moves from the the mobile app into the back end system again. What does this mean? It means the aggregation of data, business logic, business processes and analytics in a back end system designed to support the mobile workforce is where the biggest value is located.
Once the ability to implement mobile solutions is achieved, enterprises moving up the mobility maturity curve will turn their focus to providing more back end system functionality to support mobile solutions. Mobility vendors that want to have longevity in the mobility market will recognize this trend and devote much of their R&D to building solutions that integrate and aggregate business logic, data sources, business processes and analytics into unique and usable services that support mobile workers and their different roles.
Enterprise mobility solutions provide the means to deliver back end system value to mobile workers. Do you agree or disagree?
Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Volunteer