Implementing a mobile strategy can bring huge benefits to a business when done right, helping corporations to improve revenue streams, functionality and streamline operations. There are many reasons why businesses decide to incorporate mobile into their activities and it’s inevitable that at some point enterprise architects will be faced with the challenge of implementing the new and disruptive technology.

Integrating mobile technology into a business means that employees and customers can always access information, potentially improving both sales and productivity. Other benefits to embracing the modern mobile movement include building brand recognition, greater sharing and utilising of information and sourcing future business opportunities.

Why are businesses keen to embrace mobile technology?

Utilising mobile technology can help drive a business forward but what are the main motivations behind embracing the trend?

According to a McKinsey survey, mobility is the key driving force for chief information offices adopting mobile technology. Improving mobility has a positive ripple effect on other areas of business too, including productivity, communication and reaching customers, meaning when implemented well it can be a worthwhile investment.

  • Communication and cooperation – Improved mobility can give employees access to a whole host of communication tools wherever they are, such as emails. Making communication easier between staff members, including those across different departments, advance cooperation efforts and increase creativity and innovation within a business.
  • Productivity – Disengaged employees can cost a business but by making tools for reviewing information and undertaking tasks accessible they can help to boost productivity. Statistics from a global study by the Economist Intelligence Unit found mobile enablement was linked to a 16% rise in work rate, as well as having a positive effect on loyalty, satisfaction and creativity.
  • Customer engagement – As the technology improves, mobile is accounting for more and more of online usage. Increasing mobility means not only reaching employees more effectively but customers too.
  • Sensor networks – One of the areas McKinsey highlights as benefitting from mobility is sensor networks, by making them more efficient and adding new capabilities.

If your business can benefit from these improvements integrating mobile technology could be transformative.

Challenges for enterprise architects

While the benefits of improving mobility for some businesses are clear, the technology does present some challenges and concerns for enterprise architects, not least security and compliance. It’s vital that these concerns are addressed during the early stages of development.

  • Security – Improved mobility means that security risks are a real threat. Enterprise architects will need to balance these risks with the advantages of mobile technology by working both with IT and business leadership. Measures taken can include treating all mobile devices as threat vectors and educating end users.
  • Compliance – Your mobile strategy will also need to meet compliance standards. You will need to ensure that the risks of sensitive data becoming lost or stolen is minimised as much as possible and meets frequently changing governmental regulation.
  • Architecture – Finally, building or adapting the necessary architecture for mobile technology is a challenge on its own and one that involves many different elements. Enterprise architects will need to evaluate and assess a range of different areas, from costs to access methods, in order to deliver an efficient strategy.

Mobile technology coupled with cloud use means that it’s crucial for enterprise architects to ensure their security, compliance and architecture all up to scratch. It’s estimated that by the end of the decade 30% of corporate data will bypass traditional perimeter security methods and flow directly from mobile devices to the cloud.

The nature of new technology and processes means that those within the enterprise architecture industry need to be one step ahead and considering both risks and opportunities when it comes to integrating mobile strategies.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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