Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guest Writer: Alok Pant on the Mobile Cloud

I want to thank Alok Pant, with Unvired, for writing this article and sharing his insights on mobile strategies and cloud computing.

Lowering the Activation Energy for Enterprise Mobility Implementations

As we talk to customers, it is clear that enterprises have not adopted Mobility as quickly as consumers.  We have had many conversations with customers, and two main points stand out.  The first is that they are finding it difficult to justify the ROI for many mobility projects.  Yes, it is true that there are certain scenarios like Field Service or Sales where the value of mobility is accepted, but beyond these it becomes more difficult.  When enterprises look to mobilize processes like Purchase Order Approval or Travel Expense approval, the barrier to mobility has to be reduced. 

An analogy can be drawn to the Activation Energy concept we all learned in Chemistry—for a reaction to occur, the activation energy barrier has to be overcome/lowered.  Similarly, in our world of enterprise mobility, the ROI barrier has to be lowered.

Our second insight gleaned from customers is that IT departments today are under extreme pressure to deliver multiple projects with dwindling resources.  One large SAP customer was all set to mobilize their applications, when they had a major restructuring in their IT department.  Another high tech customer in the US is rolling out SAP to their subsidiaries globally, leaving no time or resources for mobility projects even with a recognized need.  A third customer was given the mandate to mobilize multiple business processes running on SAP in just one month.

These situations suggest that the old model of installing software on-premise, and conducting, say a 3 month POC to prove the ROI of a project is obsolete.  Companies do not have enough budget, and the cloud is increasingly getting the mindshare of the CIO.  The consumerization of IT has made all of us seek instant gratification—we want the mobile application instantly, inexpensively, and without any bother.

All this sets the stage nicely to usher in the era of the Mobile cloud. The Mobile cloud delivers a rain of mobile applications at a low cost without consuming the resources of a strapped IT department—no hardware investment, and minimal time commitment.  It is a Pay As You Go model, and eliminates the need for a capital investment.  It is scalable, provides flexibility, and insulates the firm in a rapidly changing technology environment.  The data security concerns of the cloud are understood by now, and have been successfully managed.

As more applications move over to the cloud, can the mobile cloud be far behind? Are you ready to lower the activation energy for your Mobility projects? There is no reason that your Mobile initiatives be confined to just a few use cases.  It is time to make Enterprise Mobility ubiquitous. The mobile cloud may be just the catalyst you need.

Alok Pant
CEO, Unvired, Inc.

Kevin Benedict, Mobile Industry Analyst, Mobile Strategy Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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.