Two Ways To Prioritize Mobile Software Development Needs

Okay, your company has strategies in place for MDM and MAM. Now what? How do you prioritize your mobile software development projects?

The best way to start a prioritization process is to examine two critical issues: (1) audience impact and (2) economic impact to your business. Let’s examine each in turn:

The broader the intended audience, the more likely the application will be immediately successful. A good place to start is with your internal audience – your employees! For example, if your HR department has determined that every employee needs to have sexual harassment training, then the app becomes a mandatory requirement. Everyone within the company needs this training regardless of job description. Next, stop and ask these delivery questions: is the best choice for this specific app development to be geared for individual training or for classroom training; can it best viewed via a mobile device, desktop, or large monitor projection; should the style be interactive or lecture; and, finally, do you have remote users that can’t be easily reached or is everyone in your office location? The answers will help point you in the right direction for your company.

Economic impact implies that the use of an app may result in some type of financial gain. If, for example, you discover that purchase order requisitions are not being approved in a time manner because of executive travels and there is a back log of orders, then there is a definite issue that potentially impacts your bottom line. It may make sense to build a mobile app for traveling executives who can approve orders from anywhere. This app may be geared for on a chosen few within the company, but the financial impact may be very serious for the financial health of everyone at your company.

Before You Start Any Mobile Software Development Project, You Must Do This First

Before your IT department or independent software developer starts cranking out Enterprise Mobile software code, there are two foundation core steps that first must be addressed.

You’ve probably already seen their core name acronyms elsewhere: MDM (mobile device management) and MAM (mobile application management). Simply put, MDM will be your rules on which mobile devices will be managed, controlled, and supported. MAM will be your rules on how the applications loaded on supported mobile devices will be managed, controlled, and supported. Your company should  discuss and agree in detail on what these two core steps will be – prior to any code being created or mobile software distributed.

There are too many Internet articles providing in-depth details and advice for both MDM and MAM to repeat their recommendations here.  A recent deep-dive and comprehensive article I recommend is by Galen Gruman, downloadable from InfoWorld:

http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobile-technology/infoworlds-guide-successful-byod-and-mobile-it-strategy-179111

Your intellectual property, in the form of Enterprise app content, has to be protected. This content is just as valuable as any other intellectual property your company creates or owns; but, it is at greater risk and perhaps the most vulnerable property category your company will ever create. That is because, by definition, mobile “property” can’t be easily locked down, tracked, traced, or deleted without a significant degree of upfront planning.

The proliferation of BYOD, in an age of a very mobile workforce, means that control of Enterprise apps loaded on personal devices will immediately be at jeopardy when trusted employees become former employees.  BYOD means the devices and all of their loaded software departs the premise when the former employee does.

As Galen points out in his deep dive article, common sense guidelines and employee usage policies may offer practical solutions; but, if the nature and use of specific apps is company sensitive – for executive use only, for example, nothing may protect your company interests better than company-issued devices that must be returned by departing employees. Ownership always remains with your company in this regard.

Your MAM and MDM rules should address as many business usage scenario specifics as one can imagine. And, don’t write any code until you can provide a basic framework for where and how your mobile apps are to be deployed, managed, updated, or revoked!