How To Avoid Mobile App Overload

More than 85% of CIOs and IT managers surveyed believe there's a pressing need for them to retire apps that have outlived their usefulness.

Unfortunately, says Forrester, the bulk of IT leaders are focused on implementing or improving mobile security and not on adapting to employees' mobile app wants and needs.

Instead, experts say, CIOs should build their mobile engagement strategy using these four steps:

1) Determine your current mobile app situation. Survey your business managers regarding what they're doing around mobility. Introduce proper application portfolio management practices to get a baseline of the existing landscape.

"Mobile apps present an opportunity for the CIO to regain control and create a mobile strategy for the company," says 451 Research's Hazelton. "The CIO needs to say to business managers, yes, absolutely embrace mobility, but when it comes to apps, when it comes to corporate data, I, the CIO, can provide you with best practices for developing or acquiring apps."

2) Start to rationalize the existing landscape based on the individual business value of each of the apps. Use portfolio metrics to drive decisions and involve and then commit business stakeholders.

"We believe proper app portfolio management can help companies determine how right their app mix is," says Capgemini's Tolido. "It will not only provide a financial and technical overview, but will also help to establish priorities and determine the actual value of each app to the company. The business value of each and every individual app should be the driving force here, not the number of apps."

3) Set priorities. Once the CIO has surveyed the enterprise and determined the needs of the business leaders and how mobile apps will meet those needs, the CIO needs to prioritize them.

"You're getting all these requests for new apps," says Michele Pelino, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "Are they all equal? Can they be scheduled based on the revenues they will bring into the organization or the efficiencies they could bring to, say, the sales team?

4) Moving forward, consider using an app store which, some experts say, is the best way to distribute apps, to avoid app overload, and to enable the CIO to determine what apps his or her enterprise is using and to regain control of mobility.

Forrester's Pelino's best advice to CIOs is to seek out a third-party app store provider, like Partnerpedia or Embarcadero Technologies, which brings to the enterprise a tool with which smartphone users have become very familiar.

"CIOs will find that, because people have become skilled at and very willing to go to consumer-type app stores—like Google's and Apple's—to download apps in a self-service manner, the concept in a corporate environment has great appeal," she adds.

"At the same time, the app store places the enterprise's apps in a controlled environment that the IT organization can use to ensure the security and viability of the apps, control which versions will be used, and so on," Pelino says. "Use of an app store is really one of the best ways to avoid mobile app overload."

About the Author

Paul Hyman is a freelance technology writer and editor. He was an editor-in-chief at CMP Publications (now United Business Media) and currently reports for such publications as Communications of the ACM, IHS’ Electronics360, and CRM Magazine. See an archive of some of his stories.

This article was originally published on 06-25-2013
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