Catalysing digital transformations by Mobility Platforms



October 14, 2015

Mobility application adoption is going through a mature phase as per the latest surveys of Gartner. Enterprises are focusing more on retention strategies by enriching applications to define new meanings that can increase the value of applications. While mobility gets a renew focus; enterprise wearable will become a significant focus for enterprises with a prediction of 139% CAGR from 2014 to 2019 as per Research and Markets. IOT applications are focusing more on revenue generation beyond hype and studies by Harbor Research points to revenue generations by 80 percent of IOT applications by 2018. 
Use cases of future will get gets enriched with context awareness, environment sensing and self-learning. This gets accelerated by the seamless integration of mobile channels, wearables and IOT integrated environments. The fundamental behavior of applications will become more dynamic i.e., by environments interacting with applications, applications re-render based on the sensed environment and user expectations for that environment, applications giving recommendations to user for decisions in a particular context. End users will become open to sharing their contexts to businesses with the guarantee of enterprises safeguarding the privacy.
Use case enrichments, the way forward 
Enriching use cases opens up lots of scenarios beyond the ways existing businesses engage with end users.

  • Mobility enables a retail customer to visit a store and enjoy personalized shopping experiences as the enterprises are already aware of the preferences and the contexts of the user.  The environments guide customer to navigate seamlessly within the store based on the interests. Contextual promotions will get pushed to users and users complete order & fulfillment via a mobile or a wearable channel. Users get the facility to book for out of stock items and get it delivered or picked up
  • Mobility enables businesses to provide services to customers faster by having insight into the historical context of the customers. This gives recommendations to users on how to react in a situation. An aggregate of user history contexts, when analyzed and filtered based on a user context, amplifies the user experience. Eg : City Guide applications can have real time information curated, analyzed and recommended that help end users take a best in a context decisions.
  • Mobility adds more security to workflows by integrating context and biometry in and between the use cases. Wallet technologies enriched with context aware security enables businesses to safeguard their customer privacy in real time. Eg : Commerce, finance transactions intensive workflows can sense the context and environment and increase the security level of application on run time.
  • Workflows of future will have capability to pause from one channel and resume from another channel. This One App , Any Channel experience enables end users to trigger any digital workflow based on the convenience and context. Eg: A shopping cart be populated by online web can be realized by an assisted in store navigation with a payment realized by a mobile or a wearable.
  • Productivity of individuals gets multiplied by smart alerts produced by analyzing the context of the users via wearable channels. Eg : Smart calendar scheduling , Smart visit planning, Smart rescheduling, Smart pre booking of resources, Smart itinerary etc are feasible as environments and contexts can trigger re-planning of scheduled tasks
  • A field workflow will have mobile devices interactive with peer devices, systems, and people to collect workflow data , analyze and present to users. Eg : A field force engineer will be able to interact with systems via NFCs, BTLE channels rather than manually auditing. He/she will be able to focus on audit and analysis rather than data collection.

Mobility Platforms, key business approaches
Digital transformations will be dealing with multiple workflows, multiple use cases, multiple application recipes, multiple backend systems and systems of records.
Mobility platforms enable development acceleration, data path integration with security and synchronization capability, enterprise friendly integrations, application deployment and maintenance.

Platforms are great business assets to build agility in enterprise.  The future of platforms will have significant values beyond what it exists today as 

  • Businesses will have to deal with bigger data volume than before. Key inventions that deal with large data processing with column oriented systems like in BigData world will get inherited into mobility platforms which makes the response faster when dealing with large data volumes.
  • Businesses will get more contextualized where customer contexts can get monetized. Applications will be more aware of platforms and backend systems. This means that enterprises can make applications recalibrate the behavior based on a new enterprise scenario: Eg – Enterprises can enable applications to perform tasks in offline mode, while the backend systems are unavailable or maintained.
  • Business decisions are becoming more and more autonomous. Workflows on mobile devices will have more capabilities in offline mode. Mobile platforms will enable devices to make necessary decisions assisted by learned contexts.
  • Businesses expect intuitive user experiences even when ecosystems grow bigger. Optimal data path enabling between enterprises and devices by ensuring that devices will be presented with differential data against the previous state. The platforms will provide efficient synchronization and enterprise data caching.
  • Businesses get more agility integrating more AS-A-SERVICE models. The source of truth for future enterprises will be a mix of backend systems or cloud services. Mobility platform will be the core component that can provide a unified security and data model strategy for a wide range of access.
  • Businesses need data to be secured and demand supreme integrity in transactions. Platforms will provide hyper data integrity to transactions. It helps scenarios involving occasionally connected devices, unreliable data paths, large data queues, backend load distribution etc.
  • Businesses want to compete and race ahead taking advantage of latest of the technology innovations. Platforms will leverage the latest of the development paradigms that support any devices and wearables. This should enable applications to leverage more of cloud infrastructure for decision making.
  • Business stacks and reference architectures will prevail; there will be affinity towards certain technologies for specific business scenarios. Eg: B2C Content mobilization patterns, B2E SAP field workforce mobilization patterns, B2B dealer integration Salesforce mobilization patterns etc.

The Road Ahead
The choice of a mobility platform as a transformation lever is a function of the business context and the various attributes defining it. Themes of use case transformation can vary based on

  • The transformation needs of businesses on incrementally integrating workflows
  • As is ecosystems and their capabilities in realizing the transformations
  • The choice and width of channel possibilities covering devices and wearables involved in the business scenario
  • The number of touch points at the point of engagement between users and environments
  • The capabilities enterprise applications wish to offload to platform components like containers, wrapping technologies, management agents etc
  • Flexibility of enterprise systems to define and integrate contexts as one more dimensions to problem solving
  • Amount of data generated and collected at the points of engagement
  • Amount of data to be analyzed by the enterprises in critical decision making

Existing mobility platforms are undergoing evolutions to integrate these elements. Mobility platform capabilities also vary from vendor to vendor. The following are the three schools of platforms of mobility that form the foundation layers to realize transformations. However there is no one recipe that can realize all digital transformations together  and it is important to gauge businesses scenarios against the available options.

Mobility Platform Area Primary responsibility Key future trends
EMM ( Enterprise mobility management) Technologies EMM platforms focus on end to end governance and health analytics Current capabilities are around securing device, application, access, contents, and emails. Focus is shifting more towards context security, perimeter defense mechanisms, application performance monitoring, application wrapping, mobile identity, unified end point management, content security, EMM provided  app SDKs, application performance management capabilities.
MADP (Mobile application development platforms) Technologies MADP platforms realize multi app , multi device factory models in dealing with multiple enterprise systems Current capabilities are on cross device, cross development methodology and deployment, micro app cloud based building etc on premise as well as on cloud. This gets complemented by out of box enterprise connectors, application life cycle management integration etc.  Focus is shifting more towards template based transformations, backend on cloud capabilities, scalable offline and sync capabilities, in app analytics support, micro applications deployments, rapid prototyping, integrating or complementing MBAAS strategies, consuming EMM services as an API within the APP for more context aware scenarios. 
MBAAS (Mobile backend as a service) Technologies MBAAS technologies provide MADP like capabilities on cloud with mass reach and quick enablers Current capabilities are in cloud ecosystems that support service orchestration, messaging, storage, custom backend creations. Focus is shifting towards integration capabilities with digital core technologies SAP, Salesforce and Oracle. Accelerated workflow deployments with micro service and API capabilities, custom quick backend services development using node.js like light weight yet efficient technologies, are also gaining momentum. MBAAS players start owning critical enterprise scaleable data, and in future the  lines between MADP and MBAAS may fade away.  Enabler services for messaging,  feedback, app sentiments, health, analytics  etc will also become part of the core services offerings.

The reality of embracing innovation approaches for transformation is that the key levers of transformations like context, presence,  proximity, gestures etc will still have to be realized to an extent as custom built extensions on certain products based on the core capabilities available. Some of the digital enablers defining the environments as such have to be provisioned using external systems. Mobility platforms are still evolving to incorporate a wide variety of enabler systems like  proximity systems, navigation systems, digital integration frameworks etc. 
A careful blueprinting based on the current and future needs of the customer is essential in creating a mobility platform strategy for the enterprise. A careful assessment of the fit gap analysis on available technologies and the strategies to address those gaps are essential for the digital architectures of future. Mobility platforms are the way forward to standardizing transformations and innovations within a digital ecosystem. By providing a platform strategy for enterprises to introduce, enrich, retire and reuse technology components; businesses get best benefits in adopting outcome driven transformations.

This article was written by akp from CapGemini: Capping IT Off and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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