ThinkstockPhotos-178716575If building a mobile enterprise were easy, everyone would have done it by now. The reality is that every organization is in a different stage on its journey towards mobile maturity. Some have already found ways to make mobility a core, transformative part of their business, while others are still just stepping out of the gate, recognizing the need and starting to make sense of the different mobile initiatives that have begun cropping up around their business.

For many, the apparent magnitude of the technological and organizational change needed to accommodate a modern mobile enterprise can be daunting, leading to inaction. This can cause business stakeholders to go outside of policies and begin executing mobile projects in silos, resulting in a tremendous amount of future effort corralling these disparate initiatives back into a cohesive mobile enterprise.

Defining and socializing a clear mobile strategy is a great first step that can go a long way toward preventing this situation, but planning will only get you so far. Your organization needs to be confident that the mobile strategy you put together can meet the high-speed demands of its stakeholders.

So can you — as an IT leader or mobile program owner — take steps to accelerate your organization’s mobile maturity, reduce time-to-market and foster scalability, all while maintaining high levels of security and support?

Below are four key directives that can help get you started. Note that these accelerators focus on enterprise mobile development; employee-focused components such as mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) will be analyzed in the future.

I. Act your age

The first key to accelerating your organization’s mobile competency is knowing where you are starting from on the mobile maturity spectrum. One way to accomplish this is to let Sirius mobility consultants conduct a Mobile Maturity Assessment, which will help you understand the breadth and depth of mobile initiatives within your organization, and how those needs are being met technologically and organizationally.

A typical mobile maturity assessment looks at key dimensions such as:

Goals & Engagement: Are current mobile initiatives simply “mobilizing” existing tools, or are they more transformative?

Organization & Processes: How ready are your people and processes to embrace and support mobile?

Platforms & Technology: Which mobile platforms, devices, infrastructure and coding techniques are being leveraged?

Communication & Personalization: How are your mobile initiatives leveraging device and contextual data to communicate and provide personalized experiences?

Each of these dimensions is analyzed, and the resulting assessment can be used as a tool to socialize and prioritize future investment in mobility.

You may already have a general idea of how mature your company is when it comes to mobile, but taking the time to work through the exercise can still be valuable for a number of reasons:

First, conducting this analysis will result in a full inventory of all active or planned mobile initiatives, and is a great way to understand the highest priority mobile projects in the pipeline. Second, a full Mobile Maturity Assessment can also include competitors, which can be extremely valuable in identifying potential differentiators or market risks. Finally, understanding where your organization falls on the mobile maturity spectrum can help with budget planning and expectation setting when correlated to business goals.

II. Tool up for growth

As with any other type of software development, tooling can be a major accelerator. Convergence and rapid evolution in mobile tooling space make analyzing the landscape extremely challenging, but the main categories of tools are:

Mobile Development Platforms (MADP) consist of tools and software packages that build mobile apps, including design, development, testing, and performance management.

Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) consists of services that are designed to make it easy to set up, use and operate a cloud-based back end for mobile applications.

Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAP) consist of the tools included in MADPs, but also add backend support and often other companion tool suites.

Investing in one or more of these tools is not a requirement for every organization, but it can dramatically decrease the development effort and time-to-market associated with each project. Choosing the right toolset for your organization can be difficult, and depends on a variety of factors. Because those factors are also likely to change, the safest approach is often to choose proven tools that follow open standards so you don’t lock your organization into a particular development path.

III. Build both ways

The early stages on the mobile maturity spectrum often feel like a tradeoff between meeting high-priority tactical demands, and building out the enterprise-grade governance, security and infrastructure integrations that will serve as the backbone for your enterprise’s mobile program for years to come. The better approach is to work both paths in parallel.

Build Fast: Project teams combine cloud solutions such as MBaaS with agile development methodologies to support tactical needs.

Build Slow: The core IT team continues to build for the long term by focusing on integrations, security and infrastructure.

IV. Always be deploying

Creating a continuous integration and delivery environment sounds like a longer-term, “build slow” effort, which may be why so many organizations shy away from attempting it out of the gate. It is true that there is a bit of planning and setup associated with CI, but the dividends it will pay more than make up for the initial investment.

Automating integration, delivery and even testing will save your development teams countless hours (and headaches), and more importantly, allow them to focus on building high-quality applications.

There are many tools that can take some of the pain out of this process, including cloud-based tools specifically built for mobile continuous integration environments. Again, which tool is right for your organization will depend on a number of factors, and appropriate time should be taken to design your continuous integration environment.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the ways that you can position your organization to meet the rapid mobile demands of its business stakeholders while maintaining focus on the longer-term components of your mobile strategy. Stay tuned for more!

Contact Sirius to get started on your mobile journey!