Managing the Growing Appification of Business

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1 Managing the Growing Appification of Business

2 Since the iphone mobile device burst onto the scene in 2007, companies have spent a lot of time, money and attention developing apps that enable them to engage and connect with their customers. However, increasingly, organizations are beginning to uncover the potential that apps have to improve employee efficiency and productivity too. For instance, one company Accenture works with currently supports more than 300 such enterprise apps. While that s exceptionally high many companies only have a fraction of that number or are just getting started it does illustrate the technology s potential and the growing attention enterprise apps are commanding from companies around the world. Indeed, according to research firm IDC, mobile enterprise app demand contributed to a 3.3 percent year-over-year growth in the broader applications market in

3 A company s initial foray into enterprise apps typically begins by focusing on simple apps that target a very specific function or transaction such as employee lookup, submitting time and expenses, viewing reports, or approving an employee s request. They then move on to more complex apps that need to access some kind of enterprise data remotely to function properly, such as creating sales orders. More-experienced companies are developing apps that go beyond simply replicating the functionality of established desktop or laptop software to actually transform key business processes. A great example is field service. Traditionally, field service technicians arrive at the office in the morning, collect their service assignments for the day, and head out to their scheduled calls. Now, a mobile app mounted in service vans allows technicians to bypass the morning stop at the office and go directly to their first customer s site, with all of the necessary information they need contained in the mobile app. The app also enables dispatchers to more effectively coordinate field technicians by sending out assignments in real time based on technician availability and proximity or urgency of customer requests. Our experience indicates that this not only makes the entire field service team more efficient and productive, but it also helps boost customer satisfaction. With more attention and resources being paid to enterprise apps, companies need to have a solid approach in place to make sure that their apps both deliver the kind of user experience that will encourage employee adoption (in other words, the experience employees have come to expect as result of their use of consumeroriented apps), as well as provide the functionality necessary to help employees do their jobs. In Accenture s experience, there are six main keys to getting enterprise apps right. 3

4 Contents Governance App Development and Testing Security Enterprise App Catalog User Support Usage Metrics Conclusion Tap or click icon to jump to that section. 4

5 Governance The most critical piece of the puzzle is governance, which establishes the guidelines, standards, policies and procedures for an application from its inception to its retirement. Strong governance is key to preventing the unbridled proliferation of apps especially because, unlike traditional software applications, enterprise mobile apps tend to be driven primarily by the business rather than the IT organization. 5

6 The governance model should clearly spell out how key aspects of apps are handled from ideation to sunsetting. That consist of: Identifying which group or function is responsible for vetting app requests and coordinating those requests across the company to avoid duplication and wasted resources Providing guidelines on how apps should be built (including tools, technology and infrastructure) and by whom (for example, by in-house developers or an approved external agency) Defining the types of reviews apps must undergo (such as legal, branding and security) before being approved for release Describing how apps should be distributed to internal users Detailing the process by which apps are updated (to, for example, align with the releases of new mobile operating systems or accommodate new functionality needed by the business) Specifying when and how the app is retired. Strong governance not only provides consistency and structure, it also can help keep app development and management costs low by supporting the reuse of approaches and technologies across the business. 6

7 App Development and Testing There is some overlap between app development and governance. But fundamentally, app development is focused on giving those who build an app the tools and approaches they need to do so. That could mean providing developers with access to a set of standard, cross-platform tools the company has implemented that all app builders must use, or to a repository of common APIs or objects that can be reused across applications, or the coding standards and user interface guidelines that everyone in the company must follow. 7

8 Similar to the governance model, formal app development policies, procedures, and tools can help a company reduce its apps-related costs while helping to ensure a consistent level of quality, functionality, and user experience across its app portfolio. And any application, regardless of where it runs, should be tested before launch to make sure it s performing correctly and that data usage is in line with expectations. Data usage not only impacts cellular data plans, but may also add additional load to corporate WiFi networks which may need to be enhanced in order to support new apps and users. Overall, mobile app testing tends to be somewhat more complicated than traditional software testing, for the following two reasons. One, testing should account for the multitude of mobile platforms, operating systems and devices on which an app needs to run. And two, the rate of testing for mobile apps typically is higher than for desktop or laptop apps due to the general expectation among users that apps will be updated more frequently. Companies should make sure they make the necessary changes to their testing practices to accommodate these unique needs. 8

9 Security Maintaining security of data and networks is a crucial concern for companies everywhere. Doing so becomes even more difficult with the proliferation of mobile devices and bring your own device or BYOD practices that are increasingly common in the workplace. 9

10 Most companies have a basic set of security standards and practices that they have long applied to desktop and laptop applications, and at minimum, those should be extended to cover enterprise apps as well. However, a number of new approaches have emerged that are specific to apps and that companies should explore. One of these is containerization, which involves running an app in a secure, isolated area in a mobile device s memory to enable data loss prevention. Another is app level-vpn, which enables an approved app to establish its own secure VPN connection to a company computer, thus isolating that app and the company s network traffic from all other apps running on the same device. As mobile security technologies continue to evolve, the focus needs to shift towards protecting specific apps and data, rather than the entire device. This is especially useful in BYOD scenarios where organizations are more concerned about enterprise apps and data versus personal apps and data. 10

11 Enterprise App Catalog Employees can t take advantage of an enterprise app if they can t get their hands on it easily. That s where the enterprise app catalog comes in. Similar to the public Apple App Store or Google Play online store, an enterprise app catalog enables employees to locate and download the apps, as well as the on-going updates, to help them do their jobs. While the concept of an enterprise app catalog has been around for a few years, it is experiencing strong growth now as companies build more apps. ABI Research reports worldwide enterprise app catalog adoption is expected to triple by 2018, 2 while Gartner says that by 2017, 25 percent of organizations will have their own enterprise app catalog. 3 11

12 The tools and approaches to creating and managing an enterprise app catalog vary. Some solutions focus strictly on distributing and managing apps and their updates, while others handle that plus mobile device management. Both types of solutions enable companies to set restrictions on which employees can download which apps, or to proactively push apps and updates out to employees so they don t have to remember to download them. And solutions can either be implemented in the traditional on-premise fashion where the company runs the store itself, or they can be run by a third party as a managed service that includes the base app catalog solution as well as day-to-day administration, operation support, and infrastructure maintenance. Regardless of which route a company chooses, Accenture s experience indicates that a wellconceived and -run app catalog is vital to helping enterprise apps fulfill their potential. 12

13 User Support For a company to get the most out of its investment in an app, it s important to let employees know it exists and where to find it. That s why all new app releases and updates should be accompanied by communications that describe the app, explain the app s value to employees (in other words, make the case for why employees should care about and use it), and provide a link to the app in the enterprise app catalog. 13

14 It s equally important to make sure employees understand how to use the app, which makes training or documentation key. That s especially true for more complex apps, which may require an extensive user manual and possibly even classroom sessions to foster user proficiency. For simple apps, an FAQ sheet, reference card, or a few screen shots or videos may be sufficient. But even if communications and training are highly effective, companies still should provide some level of support for employees who need further usage guidance or technical help. Companies that have an established organization for supporting traditional software applications should extend that function to provide enterprise mobile app support which, in turn, requires verifying that the people staffing the contact center are prepared from a knowledge and resource standpoint to handle those types and numbers of calls. Effective training provided upfront will help minimize the number of new calls to the service desk and, consequently, the cost impact on the service organization of adding app support. All companies, even those with call-center support, should consider creating self-service options, such as a web portal, that enable employees to perform remote functions (such as remote wipe), troubleshoot and solve problems on their own. 14

15 Usage Metrics When a company dedicates resources to developing an app, it naturally wants to be able to justify its investment. And to do that, it needs the right set of metrics. 15

16 It s easy to ascertain how many people have downloaded and installed an app that s a standard metric provided by any enterprise app catalog. But the fact that an employee downloaded and installed an app doesn t mean the app is providing value. To demonstrate that, a company needs to know whether employees are using the app after installing it, how and how often are they using it, in what situations are they using it and, perhaps most important, the impact the app has had on employees jobs. Building into the app various usage metrics that gather and compile such data is helpful to both determining if an app is truly useful, and pinpointing functionality that could be improved or added in future updates. 16

17 Conclusion With consumer mobile apps having become an integral part of many people s lives, it should come as no surprise that the appification of business is gaining steam. Yet as they ramp up their pursuit of enterprise apps for employees, many companies are finding that developing and managing their apps can be a challenge. A formal structure that addresses the six elements just discussed can help companies build and maintain a more cost-effective, rationalized portfolio of apps that help achieve established internal branding and quality standards, address employees expectations for user experience, and provide the functionality that can make employees more efficient and productive. 17

18 References 1 IDC: Mobile enterprise app demand contributes to applications market growth, Fred Donovan, Fierce Mobile IT, April 22, 2013, idc-mobile-enterprise-app-demandcontributes-applications-marketgrowth/ Significant Growth Rates Expected for Enterprise App Stores, Bob Violino, Information Management, July 2, com/news/significant-growthrates-expected-for-enterprise-appstores html 3 Gartner Says That by 2017, 25 Percent of Enterprises Will Have an Enterprise App Store, Gartner news release, February 12, id/ Tap or click footnote number to go back to reading.

19 More from Accenture Mobility is the official home of Accenture Enterprise Mobility providing news, trends and insights to CIOs in relation to the ever-changing mobile ecosystem. Mobile App Download the Accenture Mobility app and get immediate access to a wealth of information about Accenture Mobility offers and related client successes across industries and geographies. This app features Accenture s most recent news and latest thought leadership on mobility - including points of view, research reports, videos, and podcasts. Download from Windows Phone Store

20 About Accenture Mobility Accenture Mobility plans, implements and manages mobility solutions for businesses and public organizations, including developing and implementing enterprise mobility strategies; incorporating applications and managed services; creating and delivering mcommerce solutions; and supplying credible, business ready Connected Product offerings. Accenture Mobility services are based on deep industry insights and technical expertise that helps clients across all industries achieve growth, efficiency and manage a successful transformation as they adopt the tools of a digital business. Find out more at About Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 275,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, Its home page is Contents Cover Copyright 2013 Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture. This document is produced by consultants at Accenture as general guidance. It is not intended to provide specific advice on your circumstances. If you require advice or further details on any matters referred to, please contact your Accenture representative. This document makes descriptive reference to trademarks that may be owned by others. The use of such trademarks herein is not an assertion of ownership of such trademarks by Accenture and is not intended to represent or imply the existence of an association between Accenture and the lawful owners of such trademarks. November

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