Enterprise Mobility & Collaboration

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and augmented reality brought into the mainstream for business. For some, such as Mike DeNoma, chief executive of hotel group GLH, the future of apps is connectivity. With wi-fi running at up to 197 megabits a second – more than eight times the UK domestic average – installed in a number of the group's London hotels, staff now collaborate primarily using off-the-shelf Google Apps on mobile devices. Mr DeNoma hopes to move 100 per cent of the company's systems into the cloud by the end of 2015. GLH employed what he calls a "ship alongside" strategy, sidelining the company's existing infrastructure and rebuilding it from the ground up on a mobile, cloud-based model. Soon wear - able cameras could allow hotel staff to report problems on the spot and even offer virtual guided tours to customers. This could become the blueprint for a radical departure in mobile strategy – with apps at its heart. systems," says Mr Hunt. "Mistakes are made when companies go ahead with developing mobile, without having those integration points ready. Before we look at a mobile solution, we'll always ask what it's integrating with." As the demand for apps grows within business, they're set to become easier and less costly to develop. "While many organisations allocate large budgets to one or two consum - er-facing apps, they may need many internal apps, but the budgets for those are much smaller," says Burley Kawa- saki, senior vice president of products and strategy at Kony, a leading supplier of app development platform tools. The answer will come from customisa - ble template apps. "Mobile applications will become more of a buy-and-config- ure eco-system," he says. One aspect of this will be a trend towards "micro-apps". Mr Kawasaki predicts we'll see a proliferation over the next five years of simple, often sin - gle-task, apps. App management will become sim- pler too, with more companies set to host their own internal app store using a wide range of off-the-shelf solutions. According to research from analyst Gartner, 25 per cent of enterprises will follow this route by 2017. Wearables and the wider availability of wi-fi and fast mobile connections such as 4G, could see streaming video N o one doubts the public's ap- petite for apps. In June Ap- ple announced that down- loads from its App Store had reached 100 billion. Google's Play Store for Android is set to achieve a similar figure later this year. But while consumers almost instinc - tively grasped the appeal of apps right from the launch of the iPhone in 2008, enterprise took a little longer to warm to them. Now, however, with more or - ganisations realising the power of apps to streamline internal processes, drive cost-savings and propel busi - nesses forward, we're on the brink of an enterprise app revolution. The spark that began the process was consumerisa - tion. As Matt Hunt, chief ex- ecutive of Manchester-based developer Apadmi Enter- prise, puts it: "People started to think, 'We've got this great computing platform in our hands. We use it in our con - sumer life, why can't we use it in our business?'" Mobile apps help to keep the workforce connected, increas - ing employee engagement. Beginning with basic tools, such as mobile e-mail, mes- saging and calendars, many businesses are now realising the ability of apps to mobilise their business-critical data in new and exciting ways. By connecting together previously isolated functions within businesses, apps can create new opportunities and revenue streams. Along - side technologies such as the internet of things, apps can not only connect a company's employees but its assets too, enabling businesses to do things that previously were not possible. "We're engaged in a very diverse eco-system," explains Juan Pablo Lu - chetti, consultancy director at Bris- tol-based app developer Mubaloo. "There are three different types of application: built-in applications for a particular operating system, for ex - ample, a calendar; then there are off- the-shelf solutions you can download from an app store; and bespoke appli- cations. "In practice, a good strategy combines all three. One of the key challenges is to understand where off-the-shelf fits, where custom comes in and how to use as much as you can from those built-in solutions." The key to a successful enterprise app strategy, he says, is to identify clear ob - jectives, whether that's to streamline the existing processes within a business or innovate and drive opportunities. The rewards for getting it right are substantial. A custom app developed with Mubaloo helped student accom - modation provider Unite boost the productivity of its service engineers by 30 per cent. The app replaced a pa- per-based process for managing main- tenance tasks and reduced the time it took the company to invoice for work from more than 45 days to fewer than 15. Unlike a paper system, the app also gathered data on how and where work was carried out. This helped to predict when common tasks – changing a light bulb, for instance – would need to be carried out and enabled these to be devolved to staff, such as receptionists, already in the building, avoiding the cost of an on-site engineer visit. The role of enterprise apps differs markedly from sector to sector. In transport, mobile applications enable operators to improve customer service and avoid regulatory penal - ties as a result of delays. In other sectors the emphasis is on collaboration, with all members of a team having access to the right informa - tion at the right time. Family-run business SD Sealants replaced the cum- bersome paper-based system used by its field salesforce with an app. The resulting streamlining of the compa - ny's processes helped boost its turnover year on year by 25 per cent. Although bespoke apps have been seen as the pre - serve of large enterprises, the trend is trickling down to smaller business. According to Apadmi's Mr Hunt, size isn't an accurate predictor of the maturity of a business's approach. "It's not that the big companies are doing it well and the smaller compa - nies aren't," he says. "The times we see success stories are when decision-mak- ers understand technology, are good at finding the right suppliers and are will- ing to listen to those suppliers rather than simply directing. It's not always about big budgets, it's about a mind- set." One pitfall, he says, is trying to achieve too much, too soon. Good development starts with a "minimum viable solu - tion", often available in as little as a few weeks or months, to which features are added incrementally, often based on feedback generated by users and by the app itself. The biggest hurdle to overcome, for businesses of all sizes, is integration, in particular ensuring their existing back- end systems are ready for the leap to mobile. "Organisations may have the ideas and see the opportunities, but they need to start by looking at their legacy UK is on the cusp of an app revolution Mobile apps for smartphones and tablets keep a workforce connected, but also bring together business functions in potentially lucrative new ways Apps can not only connect a company's employees but its assets too, enabling businesses to do things that previously were not possible ENTERPRISE APPS JAMES NIXON FASTEST-GROWING UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS APPLICATIONS NUMBER OF CUMULATIVE APP DOWNLOADS FROM APPLE APP STORE Source: Infonetics Research 2014 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Source: Apple 2015 Video conferencing 71% 65% 54% 38% 88% 83% 83% 54% Web conferencing Collaboration Social networking Using now Planning to use 0 40bn 20bn 60bn 80bn 100bn Source: Veracode 2015 35% of apps share personal information 85% expose sensitive data 37% perform suspicious security actions 06 | ENTERPRISE MOBILITY & COLLABORATION 04 / 08 / 2015 | RACONTEUR raconteur.net

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