The second wave of mobility is coming, according to Andrew Fox.
Fox, head of mobility and cloud solutions at SAP, said while mobility has been driven from the top down, with senior executives bringing in their own devices and requiring greater security control, the new wave of mobility is how phone apps are being managed.
“The change is really because people are beginning to appreciate the complexity of deploying in consistent, fashion enterprise-grade applications across multiple devices. It’s not just multiple types of devices, it’s the scale of such deployments,” Fox told Computerworld Australia.
Fox likens it to a HR company with 1000 employees who want an app on their mobile or tablet which allows them to perform HR roles, such as leave requests and workflow management. If the app isn’t created efficiently, users may be required to perform logon and certification roles, which he said is an IT function.
“So what we’re seeing is the convergence between the need to deploy apps and the need to manage those deployments in an automated fashion. That’s adding the next layer to what was previously just a device management scenario,” Fox said.
This will also be driven by the number of apps employees use – Fox aid the number of apps are no longer in the single digit territory and now can easily end up being more than 50. The greater the number of apps, the greater the need for an end-to-end strategy, he said, including supporting new operating systems.
“If you look at the likes of Apple and Google with Android and how often ... they are releasing new versions of their operating system, every time they do that necessitates a recertification of the corporate apps to ensure that they still work in the new environment. So in the managed world, you need a platform that helps you manage that constant change in the market,” he said.
This will pose a problem in the workforce – Fox said many users are misguided about what mobility is and how it works. This is necessitating a mobile strategy for many companies and effective executing that strategy.
Customised apps are also becoming a thing of the past, with many companies now preferring generic apps. Fox said around 75 per cent of apps were custom-built last year, but that percentage is quickly declining as companies rationalise the time-to-value aspect.
“It’s now down to about 50 per cent custom and it looks like by the end of the year we’ll be down to about 40 per cent custom and 60 per cent will be standard, out-of-the-box apps,” he said.
The mobility market will continue to evolve with increasing client and consumer demands. Fox concedes that SAP’s initial apps were clunky as it was learning how to engage with the consumer. However, he said it has been working on that in the past couple of years and it now begins designing apps with the user’s interface top-of-mind.
Social media is also increasingly a part of the mobile strategy for companies. Fox says it’s so important that any strategy which doesn’t include it is missing a whole generation - he said his teenage children do not use e-mail and have even moved on from Facebook.
“I think they’ve moved on because the older generations like myself hang onto them, so they’re no longer cool. So we have a whole generation hitting the workforce who thinks that email is from the ark and expect to interact in social media,” he said.