1 SPAN White Paper SPAN Solution Engineering Approach Introduction The days of being tied to one s desk for long hours to access information and do productive work are gradually decreasing for many as smartphones and tablets started to provide increasing capabilities. This realization is driving enterprises to turn towards Enterprise Mobility (EM), which enables employees, customers and partners to access their enterprise data anytime, anywhere and on any device. In the wake of brilliant evolution of mobile applications, enterprise mobility has taken a new form and gained prominence by allowing business workers to stay connected 24x7. As enterprises migrate to mobile and virtual workforces, selecting right-fit solutions is a constant a key factor. While the idea is not to move every business process out of the office, the concept is to create an alternative of having a mobile work environment to keep executives, employees and partners connected and working irrespective of their location. This paper describes the nature of enterprise needs and requirements, methodology and steps that are necessary and, options that are possible. It also describes the solution engineering essentials based on experience across several projects executed by SPAN s mobile competency group.
2 Identifying and Defining Mobility Requirements In any enterprise mobility solution engineering exercise, it is important to set the expectations right and identify the needs for mobility. Besides defining the key business processes that require to be mobilized for maximal benefit, the security, data integrity and reliability aspects have to be defined as well. Another factor that necessitates higher attention from an enterprise s perspective is the optimal cost of application development and maintenance. While providing solutions, it is very important to understand and engineer how features can be combined and coordinated. In addition, factoring efficiency and richer user experience that is seamless, friendly, optimal and beneficial play a critical role. Giving appropriate weightage to meet the diversified necessities is essential to enterprise mobility s success. There is no doubt that it is a balancing act to be played by experts. At the end of the day, the goal of any Enterprise Mobility Solution should be to provide expected benefits to the enterprise as depicted in the adjoining box. Key Enterprise Mobility Requirements Managing the device and the applications Device capability and features exploitation Data synchronization as per application design Selectively enabling off-line storage and offline work Integration with existing enterprise backend systems and services Hassle free application distribution and management Incorporating scalability considering the enterprise applications spread Applying best-fit solutions depending on the context of use (native app, hybrid app, web app) Expected Benefits Ability to create new business channels Increased efficiency of business operations Enhanced mobile worker and executive management efficiency SPAN s Approach to Enterprise Mobility Over the years, SPAN has perfected an Enterprise Mobility approach. Four key stages are identified in this approach along with the significant activities to be performed leading to successful implementation of Enterprise Mobility. Business process flows to be mobilized in the near term and long term are identified after thoroughly understanding the requirements from stakeholders and, a solution architecture is visualized. If necessary, Proof of Concept (POC) prototypes are built and validated. This optional activity helps to address any issues and concerns before expanding the scope of deployment across the organization.
3 Expertise available on a range of third party tools and technologies help the architects choose the best third-party tool that is appropriate for the given requirements and expectations. A combination of expertise in mobile application development and enterprise technologies ensures that complex ERP, CRM, SCM, Work Force Management and other related solutions are securely and effectively integrated into a holistic offering. Engineering Methodology For enduring benefits, any solution engineering methodology must emphasize Mobility Analysis & Assessment along with Technology & Solution selection steps as major steps where significant focus is required. The three key areas that have to be well understood and addressed while executing the above steps are: Cost of engineering and maintenance Existing business and technology context Security, scalability, reliability and performance expectations Major Focus Areas Competency Injection Mobility Analysis & Assessment Technology & Solution Selection Solution Delivery Solution Validation & Tuning Competency Injection Designing and delivering an effective mobility solution for an enterprise requires the right competency and expertise in the relevant technologies. Prior experience in the relevant domain is invaluable in addressing domain-specific requirements. A dedicated Mobile Competency Group which has built solutions across focused domains and across several projects would certainly add effectiveness and strength to the engineering effort. Mobility Analysis & Assessment SPAN conducts a custom analysis that provides an assessment of the mobility requirements including several factors such as: Scope and reach of mobilization Short and long term road map for an enterprise-wide mobility rollout BYOD, deployment models, security models and the architecture stack Build v/s Buy: Use COTS solutions v/s Custom solutions
4 Technology & Solution Selection Mobility architecture has to be comprehensive in its approach. Enterprises have varying degrees of requirements and expectations depending on the enterprise size, distribution, scale and range of operations, types of devices to be supported, user roles & levels, reliability and security needs. Enterprises may plan mobility in a phased manner as they may have constraints in terms of cost and scope. Solution designers must consider these factors. The methodology should enable tailoring of solutions easily to fit an organization s needs, scope, requirements and budget by providing appropriate choices. The choice should be based on the user base, total number of applications, integration points, robustness, security requirements, volatility of the applications and the like. An enterprise can start with piloting of few business/work flows and mature progressively towards large scale mobility integration. Enterprise Mobility solutions must address the following aspects: Build (mobile client), Connect (backend services) and Manage (user, application & device). The solution has to be engineered using a Solution Integration approach where off-the-shelf platforms and / or custom built modules are used for implementation. It is very important to validate and factor requirements for social media integration, cloud hosting and business analytics as a part of the exercise. Nowadays, enterprises need these capabilities to grow, perform and build efficiency into their operations. Such requirements, together with mobile devices, are vital parts of a "digital business" strategy adopted by today s enterprises. It is therefore necessary to consider them as parts of a comprehensive approach in the planning process. Build Enterprise mobile applications can be built as a native, hybrid or web-based apps. Each approach has its own advantages and drawbacks. In many BYOD scenarios, the hybrid approach strikes the right balance between performance, cost-effectiveness and flexibility. A hybrid application is generally built using web technologies, while the device-dependent features including push notifications, NFC, GPS, Maps etc. are implemented natively. HTML5 and Cross Platform Toolkits such as PhoneGap and Sencha Touch exist to ease the development of hybrid applications. Native applications could be considered when performance and intensive use of device features are a major consideration. Connect The mobile client connects to the enterprise backend services to consume data. In a heavy-weight solution, the connection to heterogeneous back ends and services is facilitated using MEAP servers like SMP (SAP Mobile Platform), IBM Worklight, RhoMobile, Precom or a custom built integrator module. The data interchange format between the mobile app and the server is usually JSON or SOAP messages. Manage Enterprises would like to ensure that sensitive corporate data that is accessed by employees on their devices is not compromised by physical theft of the device, unauthorized access or malware present on the device. Mobile Device Management tools like Afaria, MobileIron, Airwatch, Zenprise provide security features such as device lock, remote data wipe and authentication management. Enterprise app stores allow the corporate IT department to host corporate apps, roll out application updates, modify the app configuration, perform app inventory reporting, volume license management and broadcast important notifications.
5 Choice of Architectures A typical architecture consists of one or more mobile applications that connect to a Mobile Application Server. The heterogeneous enterprise backend services are accessed using integration services. A full-featured flexible solution may typically employ commercial off-the-shelf MEAP and MDM products or would be built using well designed custom components. It is necessary to give appropriate weightage in terms of choices to meet the diversified demands in such comprehensive services. The choice of the target platform for development of the mobile applications is also considered important. In a BYOD scenario, hybrid applications that use Web technologies help in targeting multiple platforms with a single codebase. It is essential to apply the most suitable technology for BUILD, CONNECT and MANAGE segments satisfying the need and context of any solution requirement. SPAN methodology recommends one of the three options: Light Weight Medium Weight Heavy Weight The options are illustrated in diagrams below. Light Medium Weight Weight Heavy Weight Light Weight Enterprise Mobility Scenario Applicable when: Simple connectivity to enterprise back-end is sufficient Small scale deployment No MDM is required Enterprise Applications Secure connections Enterprise Specific Mobile Application Server Secure/Unsecure connections Native / Hybrid / Web Applications
6 Medium Weight Enterprise Mobility Scenario Applicable when: Heterogeneous data back-ends exist Separated Mobile Data Objects are required MDM features are required Simpler app distribution suffices Secure connections Mobile Application Server Enterprise Applications MSDP (Mobile Services Delivery Platform) Optional Data Synchronization Module DB Admin & Control Consoles Device & User Management Module Simpler Application Distribution Mechanism Native Applications OR Web Applications Heavy Weight Enterprise Mobility Scenario Applicable when: All requirements are significant and elaborate A large number of enterprise applications are to be enabled for mobility
7 There is no one-size-fits-all approach in Enterprise Mobility. Adoption of mobility within enterprises is often a gradual process that is incorporated at different points of time by taking into account various business aspects. It is driven by factors such as potential benefits, budgets available, end-user acceptance, skills etc. and therefore needs to be supported by a flexible approach that accommodates diversity of situations and essentiality. It is important to partner with companies that have the ability to cater to a range of requirements as well as provide guidance about crucial issues in order to address the increasing demand for mobile applications in an organization. Conclusion Enterprise Mobility is quickly becoming a significant strategy for improving productivity in enterprises. An organization should be well-equipped to assess its mobility requirements, select appropriate technology, and deploy scalable solutions to generate higher returns on investment in the mobility segment. Maximum importance has to be given to security and manageability of the devices and applications. SPAN s mobile competency group has a welldefined methodology that has been proven across projects in diversified verticals delivering effective solutions that not only have satisfied the customers but have also offered them substantial benefits. For more information on our entire range of solutions and related offerings, get in touch with SPAN at: About SPAN: SPAN is an established software services company offering comprehensive IT services since Our clients include Fortune 1000 companies, software firms (ISVs) and tech start-ups. SPAN s offshore development centers in India are certified for ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 27001:2005 and appraised at CMMI Maturity Level 5 and PCMM Maturity Level 5. SPAN has a global footprint with offices in the U.S., Singapore, India, and group offices in Europe. There are multiple offshore development centers in Bangalore and Chandigarh, India. SPAN is ranked as #7 Best IT Employers in India by a leading IT publication. SPAN s Relationship Management (RM) Model is a well-defined, yet flexible framework, which provides ongoing business value to both, the client and SPAN. SPAN is wholly owned by the largest Nordic IT services major, EVRY (www.evry.com). USA Headquarters >>> SPAN Systems Corporation, 1425 Greenway Drive, Suite 490 Irving, Texas Phone: / SPAN-SYS Fax: India Headquarters >>> SPAN Infotech (India) Pvt. Ltd. 18/2, Vani Vilas Road, Basavanagudi, Bangalore , India Phone: Fax: Copyright 2015 by SPAN. All rights reserved. The contents of this document are protected by copyright law and international treaties. SPAN acknowledges the proprietary rights of the trademarks and product names of other companies mentioned in this document. The reproduction or distribution of the document or any portion of it thereof, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of SPAN is prohibited.
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