Ask a business user what value mobile brings to the enterprise and chances are good that she’ll talk about being able to get her job done from anywhere at any time.  

You’ll hear stories about approving invoices while watching her kids play, signing-off on documents from the top of ski slopes, and even listening to conference calls during five-mile runs.

Ask IT what mobile brings to the enterprise and you'll hear words like "transformative." 

There may be tales of fitness challenges, Fitbits and lowered insurance rates, workforce engagement apps and decreased employee turnover or providing sales reps with the latest data they might need to close a sale a few minutes before they make a customer presentation.

Enabling or Transformative

Line of business users see mobile as an enabling technology. IT sees mobile a transformative technology.

This isn’t a theory. These are the conclusions of Newbury, England-based research firm Vanson Bourne, which conducted two surveys in behalf of Raliegh, N.C.-based Red Hat, a provider of open source software solutions.

Why is Red Hat talking about mobile?. Red Hat got into the mobile platform business when the acquired FeedHenry around eighteen months ago.

In the Eyes of the Beholder

Cathal McGloinThe points of view probably differ because IT has typically taken the lead on mobile projects up until now; however that’s a trend that is expected to flip in the next two years.

As this happens, line-of business (LOB) decision makers will focus on client-side development tools and technologies while relying on IT to support them with a range of modern app and integration technologies. Cathal McGloin, Red Hat’s vice president, mobile platforms provided us with five things companies can do to set themselves up to win.

  1. First Things First:  “The first thing any organization needs to do is get a clear, honest picture of where they stand in terms of mobile maturity,” said McGloin. “Starting from scratch requires different strategies and measurements of success than if you have a fully mobile-first environment in place.”
  2. Think Simple: One of the key mobile myths is that apps need to be complex – some of the most successful mobile apps are simple with a few straightforward powerful features or functions. Well-conceived apps like this, shorten development time and resource and can generate fast return on investment.
  3. Look for Hurdles “Once that is settled, planning and prioritizing for the likely hurdles has to happen. Many top enterprise companies are actually shifting to more collaborative approaches between business and IT when developing their mobile app strategies, even going so far as to establish a Mobile Center of Excellence (MCoE) where developers and IT operations come together to tackle mobile issues on a regular basis.
  4. Start Small: Then it’s about actually getting started on the development, I always recommend start small and focused when it comes to creating and deploying each app and choosing an open technology and flexible architecture during the development process. This will help keep up with a rapidly changing marketplace – proprietary technology is on its way out!
  5. There’s a Lifecycle, Not an End At the end of the day, it’s all about remembering that developing an app just the first step in the total life cycle of an app. A successful program will see a constant process of design, development, integration, deployment, measurement and management of their apps.