Oracle EBS Mobility
Posted in Blog

Building an Oracle EBS Mobility program that fits your Organization

Purpose

  • Readers should use the document to plan their Mobility investments.
  • Understand different technologies, their pros and cons.
  • Demonstrate Algarytm’s superior expertise in Mobility and generate business.

Oracle EBS is a mature product with all the significant functionalities customers needed. Customers are reaping in the benefits of ERP by customizing it according to their needs, reducing total costs and achieving value through thousands of EBS features. However, accessing it from desktops is tough. Mobile is the new desktop and ignoring it has severe consequences in the form of low employee morale, backward employee culture, poor customer service, and more. Not surprisingly, people – your customers, employees, would instead go outside without their wallet than their smartphone. Inside organizations, widespread adoption of smartphones has led to a shadow technology – people using their phones and apps to get their work done. So, Mobile presents whole new benefits for organizations that are investing in it.

However, Developing mobile apps without a clear strategy can be costly, and the majority of these initiatives have failed miserably. These organizations have failed for multiple reasons. First, there is not a clear strategy. They have started with few apps and did not plan for all different use cases. Second, User Experience was an afterthought. These enterprise apps did not meet consumer grade expectations. They did not like the consumer apps from Google, Facebook, and start-ups. These apps often developed by large system integrators took the same old approach of dumping the information from ERP systems to Mobile Device. Third, Companies have selected the wrong platforms and did not clearly understand the pros and cons of various technologies. Fourth, some companies were overwhelmed with options available in the mobility space and did not even know where to get started. The final reason is, many of the ERP customers waited for the maturity of the platforms offered by these vendors and the maturity was in flux for a long time. Choosing the right platform, right UI, and understanding in-house vs. custom development, are some of the questions that are on top of the minds of decision makers. In this comprehensive guide, I would like to discuss the approach for Oracle EBS mobility & provide recommendations that you can take to achieve success in Oracle EBS mobility.

Opportunities with Enterprise Mobility

  • Competitive advantage: Dominos pizza’s mobile app helped the company increase sales by 19%. If you are selling directly to consumers, not having a mobile app is no more an option. It is the kiss of death.
  • Productivity: If you have an app just one tap away, it is easy to get things done. Organizations have a tremendous opportunity to improve the productivity of their employees by offering them mobile apps. With a mobile app, they can be anywhere and work anywhere.
  • Optimize supply chain: On-time delivery performance, ability to track goods in real-time, real-time stock information are some of the KPIs businesses have been trying to improve for a long time. When supply chain professionals have access to their supply chain systems in real-time, you have visibility into the entire supply chain and optimize the supply chain.
  • Agile and re-salient organization: Information can be captured in real-time. Salesforce seizes the moment and bags the order. Delivery drivers could elevate the customer service when they quickly can help the customer with a return order. Executives can have a pulse of the business in the palm of their hand. Managers can make decisions such as leave requests, Purchase order approvals, credit line increases no matter whether they are traveling or in a meeting. Your managers do not need to wait to go back to the office. They do not need to open a specific app to see the notification for a request. With one tap after seeing a notification, They can decide in the blink of an eye, which otherwise would take days or week.

One of our clients, a chemical manufacturing giant, discovered that its project management process was taking over several months for projects with more than five approvers. This Old, archaic process hindered the company’s growth and hampered compliance. With an iPad based workflow app, executives were able to make decisions conveniently from their tablets.

  • Reducing Costs
  • Improve Customer Service: When enterprise customers serve themselves, there is a less burden on call centers and salespeople.

An industrial manufacturer we advised has provided a mobile app to its customers. Before the mobile app deployment, customers would call either the call center or the salespeople to find their order status. This has consumed around 20% of the 500 sales force time on a typical day. After doing the Return on Investment exercise, this customer discovered a mobile app that has customer’s order history, order status could save the salespeople 1.5 hours of a day.

  • Amazing experiences for customers and employees: Customers are expecting rich, interactive and amazing experiences. As products and services become commoditized in the ever competing business world, experience is what separates best companies from the mediocre.
  • Hire and retain millennials: Millennials intertwine with Digital technologies. When they enter the workforce in a warehouse, salesforce, or operations, they find it easy to work with modern interfaces such as tablets and smartphones. When they are given archaic devices with poor interfaces, not only they struggle to learn, but also not show interest in your firm.

The Objective of Oracle EBS Mobility

Improving Productivity of employees, simplifying user experiences & enabling employees to take real-time decisions from anywhere anytime are primary objectives of companies planning to mobilize EBS. True mobility ensures that the end user has a simplified version of required use cases of Oracle EBS in his or her pockets to perform work anywhere on the go.

Defining your Enterprise Mobile Strategy

When you are planning towards mobilization, it is vital to know what your company holds for Mobility in the long term & plan accordingly. An Enterprise mobile strategy is designed to meet a company’s business objectives by aligning it with existing IT strategy & chalking out an execution plan. However, with a plethora of options available today to mobilize business processes, companies are caught off guard and do not know where to begin. In our conversations with many of the organizations, we realize businesses understand the value of mobility but do not know where to start. Oracle EBS itself has competing technologies such as MAF, ADF, APEX and it is often time-consuming and futile to have a clear mobile strategy. As an Oracle EBS mobile development partner having developed our own 100 mobile apps, various mobile app consulting projects and practicing mobility every day, we understand the concerns, many options available, and what an organization needs to chalk out a successful mobility strategy.

When you are planning towards mobilization, it is vital to know what your company holds for Mobility in the long term & plan accordingly. An Enterprise mobile strategy is designed to meet a company’s business objectives by aligning it with existing IT strategy & chalking out an execution plan. However, with a plethora of options available today to mobilize business processes, companies are caught off guard and do not know where to begin. In our conversations with many of the organizations, we realize businesses understand the value of mobility but do not know where to start. Oracle EBS itself has competing technologies such as MAF, ADF, APEX and it is often time-consuming and futile to have a clear mobile strategy. As an Oracle EBS mobile development partner having developed our own 100 mobile apps, various mobile app consulting projects and practicing mobility every day, we understand the concerns, many options available, and what an organization needs to chalk out a successful mobility strategy.

“Your mobile architecture should make way for performing existing functionalities on mobile and improve employee’s productivity and simplify the user experience.”

Enterprise Mobile Strategy is essential because Mobile is the future way of people do business. It would be best if you prepare your organization to meet this technology shift. With unique business processes & objectives, each Oracle EBS customer has a unique IT strategy built in place. Your mobile strategy should align with your existing IT architecture & seamlessly integrate with Oracle EBS. Moreover, Your Mobile strategy should determine how the organization achieves current objectives in a better way and how flexible your mobile architecture is to meet future technology changes.

For example, some EBS users access the ERP on the intranet to protect their data whereas some access EBS openly through internet but are connected to many third-party softwares that EBS could not do or perform well.

So Should I Buy or Build?

Companies planning to incorporate mobility have a common dilemma in deciding whether to build or buy enterprise mobile apps.

In Buy Scenario, you get access to industry best practices, depend less on IT development, reduce risk of technology obsolescence & understand vendor’s roadmap vision.

In Build Scenario, you avoid dependency on vendors & their solutions. However, enterprise creates its roadmap vision & tailor makes mobile solutions for its business.

However, there is no singular answer to the question of whether to buy or build your software — buying, building apps for your organization. Each has its advantages.

Pursue Build Scenario when

  • enterprise is looking for everyday needs & is planning to implement on a large scale.
  • enterprise has time & resources to implement mobility.
  • enterprise can assess the existing mobile application development technologies & obtain the expertise to design, deliver and maintain the solution successfully.
  • enterprise is not on the lookout for several integrations, customizations, better UX &, etc.

This process is time consuming as companies need to start from scratch & require a lot of resources to accomplish mobile goals. Besides, some tools lack flexibility & require you to pay heavy license fees.

As per a report by Gartner, Companies internally building apps are mobilizing EBS at a rate of 5-6 apps per year. At this rate, mobilizing all your workflows will take light years to complete. Developing the right mobile app involves understanding the use case, identifying essential functionalities to be included in a mobile app, selecting the right technology for development, testing & deploying a mobile app. Besides, app needs maintenance to comply with the latest OS updates & mobile needs.

Pursue the “buy” scenario when an existing software can satisfy most or all of your functional requirements.

Evaluate a Buy Scenario by

  • The frequency, ease, and cost of upgrades.
  • calculating the value from buying mobile solutions.
  • The reliability and visibility of the vendor’s product roadmap.
  • The vendor’s industry expertise, domain or geographical coverage; its and/or its partners’ implementation services in your geographic area.
  • Extrapolating development and maintenance costs for functionalities that will not be met by the COTS product.
  • The vendor’s and/or its partners’ track record(s) in deploying projects of similar scope and complexity.

A right vendor must have a comprehensive suite of applications, frameworks & technologies to meet enterprise needs. These vendors may have a better understanding of your current and future business needs, be more able to support ongoing maintenance and training and be more willing to share with you their product roadmap.

See: Deploy Enterprise Mobile Apps in Economical Way

Technology Selection


Whether the scenario is Build or Buy, Enterprises should select a technology that is

  1. flexible in developing apps for your enterprise needs. (Applies for Build & Buy)
  2. Flexible in integrating with EBS & third-party software.
  3. Evolving & Compatible with latest mobile devices
  4. Widely used
  5. Budget friendly & Avoids high maintenance costs

Futuristic View of Technology & Consumer side of mobile App Development

Consumer mobile applications & devices have become a part of our personal and work routine. Heavy use of consumer applications is one of the reasons for enterprises rearing mobility at the workplace. The consumer market is driving the mobile industry, and enterprises are catching up by leveraging mobile technologies that suit enterprise requirements. So, enterprises shall not ignore the trending mobile technologies in the consumer market and shall possibly choose a technology that will continue to evolve in the future.

Native VS Hybrid VS RMAD

Conventional application development tools are insufficient as they use unfamiliar languages, APIs and paradigms. Besides, application development & maintenance is costly if the app needs to support multiple platforms.

Low code development tools & hybrid and cross-platform tools see significant demand for developing enterprise mobile applications.

Best Platform: Ionic & Oracle MAF. Ionic lets developers build mobile solutions for every use case, whatever the complexity a use case is, with a single set of code for any platform, with the web. This google owned app development platform, combined with Oracle MCS (MBaaS), reduces the development time as MCS provides many options to integrate other services & build better apps faster.

Best Use Cases: Almost anything – Offline Apps, High end multi platform apps

Here is a brief on Ionic & Oracle MAF

Ionic & MAF are app platforms for web developers to build amazing mobile, web, and desktop apps all with one shared code base. Ionic & MAF leverage the use of existing open technologies such as HTML, CSS JS. MAF has Java as an additional language.

Both tools offer templates to speed up your app development. However, Ionic templates are feature rich. Also, Ionic offers Pro creator to build apps visually instead of coding everything.

Ionic is an Open source & widely used cross-platform tool for consumer & enterprise app development. Whereas, Oracle MAF is licensed as an independent product and doesn’t require any specific backend server. You can license Oracle MAF per named user per app, or app with an unlimited number of end users.

Ionic & MAF can call REST and SOAP services that are on any server whether it is an Oracle server or not.

        See Xamarin VS Ionic VS UI5

RMAD tools: Unlike native & hybrid tools, RMAD tools enable developers to build mobile applications in a short time. RMAD tools are for everyday use cases such as Approvals. These tools lack complex features that an enterprise need & do not allow much customization. However, RMAD tools are evolving & enterprises are adapting to these tools faster than ever. Some of the best are Oracle APEX, Capriza & Kony.

APEX

Oracle APEX (formerly known as Oracle HTML DB) is an RMAD Web/Desktop application development tool available for all editions of Oracle databases. APEX, along with APEX Listener, a lightweight web listener, enables a developer to build & deploy a professional application through a web browser quickly and securely. In contrast to traditional application development, APEX application development simplifies building web applications through APEX wizards.

Best Use cases: Data-driven Applications, Online Reporting Apps, Spreadsheet Web-ification, Oracle Forms Modernization & Access Replacement.

Advantages:

  • APEX is FREE & is database-centric; as an integral component which resides in the Oracle database, APEX development, and runtime environment are managed by database Metadata directly.
  • Supports Oracle database 9i and higher. (pre-installed in Oracle release 11gR2 and higher)
  • APEX is browser-based development; as such, the users and developers can easily create an application and deploy it through web access.
  • APEX has a broad user community with very active and robust support;
  • APEX has attracted lots of business interests with EBS integration.

Disadvantages:

  • Mobile applications developed with APEX are browser-based applications that run inside the browser on the mobile device.
  • Offline Capabilities – These applications must have a connection to communicate with the Oracle Database and cannot operate in a disconnected environment.
  • Older devices render applications made using APEX but offer less advanced features.
  • Integrating external REST Services with an application page is a little tricky. To access a single REST Service URL, one need to create different process during a page development contrary to the Native Mobile development.

Recommendation: Layer MADP and RMAD Over Mobile App Services for a Potent Mobile App Strategy

Where to Start? It should be based on Value

Yes. We want to mobilize. But Which Oracle EBS Module to mobilize? How do we prioritize? Mobilizing all your workflows (including optional ones) is foolish and costs you dearest. So, prioritize & allocate the right amount of resources on the right task.

Here are some steps you need to consider.

Find out where employees have difficulties

Accessing ERP outside the office is essential for employees such as field workers, sales personnel in an organization to speed up things and improve productivity. Mobility reduces human factor involvement and speeds up business processes. To know which departments are facing difficulties, IT managers may pass a questionnaire to the department managers to find troubles, complications, etc.

For example: A person dealing with Supplier agreements will find a great need for mobile applications.

Tabulate the results for all modules and analyze the problems that can be solved using mobility and prioritize the important apps.

Usage of Module/ Absolute Need

Employees may have difficulties accessing EBS from the desktop. However, it is also crucial for IT to find the # users of each module. If users for a particular module are very few, it may not be a priority unless the importance of work is very high, needs an active response and chokes other activities.

Calculate ROI based on this for all the modules

ROI = Users*productivity improvement rate*average value in productivity imp./INVESTMENT

No Finance executive approves a project without ever knowing about the Net Present Value or Return on Investment. To get funding, and to execute your mobility project, you need ROI calculation. This exercise not only helps you understand the numbers/math involved but also improves your organization prioritize projects. For example, A simple productivity app may not have an impact comparable to a mobile sales app.

Case study:

A Food distributor in Chicago consulted us to calculate ROI for their planned Proof of Delivery App. This exercise helped them understand the benefits in numbers rather than gut feeling. For this mid-level manager, this exercise also empowered him to articulate the business value and benefits to the organization. In a preliminary calculation, we found out there is 1800%. We provided the costs, and our prospect provided the benefits he plans to achieve.

At a high level, ROI calculation is not complicated as long as you understand all the different costs and benefits associated with it. You need to consider Device hardware costs, App license costs, maintenance costs, and Integration costs. After understanding the costs side of the equation, you need to understand the productivity benefits, cost reductions, and improved revenues. Having both costs and benefits, proceed to discover whether this mobile app investment is worth the investment.

Common Mobility Areas

  • Procurement — Procurement teams can remotely review and approve requisitions and purchase orders.
  • Warehouse Management — Workforces operating in remote warehouses (e.g., stocking locations that are not wired to their desktops) can acquire real-time access to picking, packing and shipping details, as well as real-time visibility on stock movements in the warehouse.
  • Financials — Finance and sales teams can have real-time access to key financial data, including providing sales staff information on a customer’s financial position, showing outstanding invoices and account activity.
  • Quality Inspection — Quality inspectors can track non-confirmations and take appropriate actions. They can also track quality metrics at every stage of inspection and be notified of exceptions.
  • Plant Maintenance — Maintenance engineers and technicians can respond faster to breakdowns and emergencies.
  • Sales — Sales reps in the field can have access to critical client/prospect information, capturing sales orders, stock positions and order details, historic order information, complaints and quotes.
  • Inventory Tracking — Material-handling workforces that are on the move can remotely track stocks at warehouses, stores, depots, quarantine locations and make immediate adjustments during counting and stock reconciliation.
  • Field Service — The field service force can access schedules, ticketing information, incident details and inventory status, as well as accurately capture data that is uploaded to ERP systems, thereby minimizing inaccuracies.
  • Shop Floor — Users will have improved visibility on the plant floor, and workforces on the shop floor can use mobile solutions to track work in progress and eliminate the need to go back into large systems to search for products.

Application Integration

Oracle’s application development frameworks/tools directly connect with EBS database and do not need any specific integrations. However, if you are developing mobile applications through third-party tools such as Ionic, Xamarin, you need to integrate mobile app with EBS & database using Oracle Integrated SOA Gateway that exposes and offers out-of-the-box web services from Oracle E-Business Suite for consumption via standard Web service clients.

Oracle Integrated SOA Gateway:

Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway is an integral part of Oracle E-Business Suite from Application Technology layer enabling service-oriented architecture with the capability of seamlessly exposing and offering out-of-the-box web services from Oracle E-Business Suite for consumption via standard Web service clients. The Service Invocation Framework provides the ability to invoke and consume any 3rd party public Web service that is exposed and available for consumption via standard Web service communication mode of SOAP over HTTP.

With out-of-the-box business services, Oracle E-Business Suite Integrated SOA Gateway facilitates faster design-to-deploy integration flows. Integration administrators can take actions to transform public interfaces into standard Web services, and then deploy the same for integration. They can enforce service related securities, monitor and manage the entire deployment life cycle. Integration developers can perform end-to-end service integration including orchestrating composite services that transform discrete Web services into an end-to-end business process. Integration Analysts can browse and search for public integration interfaces / services and view interface details via centralized Integration Repository.

Cloud and Mobile Back-End Services

Mobile App Service developers spend most of their time connecting the app to a back end rather than building the app. Connecting to a backend is a time consuming and daunting task; however, with mobile backend services such as Oracle Mobile Cloud Service (MCS), the activities are easy. MBaaS allows developers to rapidly build mobile apps with minimal effort, by providing a rich set of mobile platform and client development services that will enable mobile app developers to focus on design and creativity. For Instance, Mobile Cloud Service is agnostic to client development tools, provides integrated security and has features to measure & optimize customer engagement.

Oracle MCS

MCS has built-in API’s that provides support for:

  • Mobile User Management with built-in “Platform APIs”
  • Authentication & Authorization
  • Provides Database Storage & Content Storage
  • Content Storage
  • Deep Insights & Analytics
  • Offline Data & Syncing

In addition to the built-in APIs, Custom APIs can be written using JavaScript and provides developer the ability to quickly connect, shape and transform backend data before exposing it as a RESTful API to your mobile application.

Recommendation: Must for companies incorporating enterprise wide mobility.

See : Build Apps Faster with Oracle Mobile Cloud Service (MCS)

Building Mobile Applications Using Ionic & Oracle MCS

With Oracle MCS, mobile application development is easy. Here’s an end-to-end guide that portrays the development of Oracle EBS based Expense Approval mobile app in Ionic framework using Integrated SOA gateway to develop REST services and Oracle Mobile Cloud Services as middleware. This guide provides you details on

  • Creating Custom PLSQL Package with annotations
  • Registering Custom Packages in Integration Repository
  • Deploying PLSQL Package as REST Services
  • Creating Backend in Oracle MCS & Placing API in MBE &
  • Creating screen in Ionic Framework.

Here’s your access to Creating Ionic Mobile App using Oracle MCS & Oracle EBS.

Security

Common misconception of IT team is that mobile devices are not secure either because the devices are easy to hack or because they connect to unsecure networks. However, with the latest technologies & options available, companies can fully secure their data in many ways. Typically, apps running on mobile devices need to integrate with the enterprise-wide identity governance and access control infrastructure for security and compliance reasons.

Mobile devices need to blend seamlessly into the corporate computing landscape in order to preserve security without disrupting the workflow of the enterprise.

Best Practices for Securing Enterprise Mobile Apps

  1. Restrict user and application access to native OS services, such as the built-in web browser, email client, calendaring, contacts, application installation services, etc.
  2. Encryption of all communications in the form of VPN, firewall etc. between mobile devices and servers. Leveraging a secure per-app VPN tunnel to authenticate and access servers behind the firewall.
  3. Protect the mobile app with a passcode or username/password or other authentication (e.g., token-based authentication, network-based device authentication, domain authentication) before accessing the organization’s resources.
  4. To protect app data in transit, SSL/TLS should be in place, typically in the form of HTTPS, along with using a digital certificate to ensure that the mobile app is communicating with the right enterprise servers, and not a malicious server
  5. Encrypt the local database with a device specific encryption key
  6. Only store the absolute minimum of data on the mobile device.
  7. Go beyond obvious controls such as encryption at rest for high-security apps — harden/obfuscate code, preparing against loss/theft of the device and reverse-engineering attempts.
  8. Verify digital signatures on applications to ensure that only applications from trusted entities are installed on the device and that code has not been modified.

App Distribution & Device Administration

Mobile Device Management (MDM) & Mobile Application Management (MAM) tools get you to speed in covering these best practices (varies by tool) and help administrators to gain granular control of devices/apps.

MDM solutions facilitate IT departments to control, encrypt data and enforce policies on the devices. MDM solutions such as Airwatch work support management of multiple lines of business devices such as corporate owned, employee-owned to meet business requirements. However, these solutions work best in environments in which the organization supplies the mobile devices because many BYOD users & non-employee personnel are reluctant to give IT department total control of devices, including the ability to wipe all data, of a device they purchased.

MAM takes the concepts of MDM and attempts to apply them just to corporate applications. App-specific encryption adds a second layer of security on top of device-level encryption and hinders malware and rogue apps from accessing mobile app data even if the device is compromised.

Organizations typically use VPN before accessing the EBS applications. However, logging into the corporate VPN is not feasible for external users (suppliers, partners) and hence the need to control access at Mobility for Oracle Applications using Fusion Middleware 12 the DMZ layer to protect the APIs that have been exposed outside the firewall for mobile and other users.

Best Available: Airwatch, SOTI MobiControl, Xen tecMobile, APPTEC360

See: Comparision of MDM tools

Quality User Experience

One reason why employees avoid using Oracle EBS is for the lack of quality user experience. Poorly considered UX design leads to low app adoption and user retention rates. So, let’s not make that mistake when you are implementing mobility in your organization.

Since mobile applications are used mostly on devices whose screen sizes are small, it is necessary that you create quality experiences for users who are on the go. A quality user experience avoids “app fatigue” by focusing the application on those functionalities & details that an end user needs. UX designers use Design Thinking as a framework or methodology to ideate & create amazing UX by finding the right problems to solve instead of solving a particular problem.

Best Practice: Assess existing business processes via observation of targeted app users with the intent of revising them to better suit mobilized apps.

Design Thinking

Design thinking is a paradigm shift in solving problems and innovating. Your mobile app users are not just looking for a product or a service, but also expecting amazing experiences along with them. Using empathy to put users, customers, vendors, employees, and business partners at the center of problem-solving is the primary foundation of design thinking. The design is more than making buttons pretty. It’s about helping users get things done in the most effortless way possible. Whether it is a software tool, a check-in process at a hotel, a landing page of a marketing campaign, or optimizing the sale process, design thinking enables you to transform your organization.

Design extends to how a customer experiences service or even how a government serves its citizens. For IT Teams, a design is about achieving the full potential of software applications. Understanding the methodology and stages of Design Thinking, IT executives can simplify their customer’s digital experiences.

Design Thinking is an iterative (non-linear), collaborative (cross-functional) process and consists of five main phases: 1. Empathize 2. Define 3. Ideate 4. Prototype and 5. Test.

Design Thinking benefits

See: Attend Design Thinking Workshop

One Complex App vs Multiple Micro Apps

Unlike consumer mobile application users, Enterprise application users are involved with very few tasks or functionalities in a department. They perform the same tasks number of times, and they look out for simple user experiences. Complex mobile applications, with all the features bundled, test your user’s patience and decrease employee’s productivity, ultimately driving them away from using a mobile app. On the other hand, role-based micro apps, with specific use cases & features, reduce the number of clicks needed to perform a task and create remarkable user experiences.

If a user plays multiple roles, enterprises can use the Launchpad to bring all your apps in one place. Launchpad not only saves user’s time in searching for apps but also offers features such as signing into all the apps at once & view pending tasks.

Hardware & Mobile Data Costs

Among the essential elements of enterprise mobile strategy, choosing the right business approach such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) OR Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) is essential. Some employers prefer to make available their employees a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet so that they can fulfill their daily missions. Others choose to let employees use their own devices. These two trends are commonly referred to as BYOD & COPE.

BYOD VS COPE: DIFFERENCE LIES IN THE OWNERSHIP OF DEVICES

Each model has its benefits, and you should consider this checklist of things to see what fits in your organization. A massive push in the use of the same devices & technology for personal purposes and corporate purposes is making companies go for BYOD. So BYOD is not going away, and COPE devices are finding new ways in enterprise mobility with organizations replacing BYOD with COPE. However, the BYOD market value is expected to see a 22% CAGR now through 2023, proving that SMBs and enterprises alike haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of mobility’s capabilities.

Recommendation: Prefer COPE. BYOD is an option. If COPE is not possible, try leveraging both BYOD & COPE policies such that the most important/valued workflows come under COPE & less important ones under BYOD policies.

See: BYOD & COPE – Advantages & Disadvantages

Mobile Governance

When employees use smart devices for business and personal purposes, issues such as security breach arise and put their company’s data at risk. With Mobile device governance, companies can mitigate most of the problems by establishing a mobile governance Charter. Before implementing mobility in the enterprise, the Mobile Governance Team shall bring out all the possible issues and risks they may face in the future. They shall determine boundaries for using mobile and execute mobile governance policies necessary to put a check on the dangers that may arise. These policies reduce the wasteful spending of resources and improve security. Some of the key topics included in policies are protection of corporate data, app restrictions, mobile data reimbursements and agreements to standardize the use of mobile phones and apps for professional and personal purposes.

Mobile Solution providers, with their experience in implementation of mobile solutions, can help enterprises get to speed by implementing mobile governance policies that are standard or customized to enterprise needs.

Testing

Mobile application testing is a process by which testing tools inspect the application software for its functionality, usability, and consistency. Before moving the application to the production stage, Developers & Consultants shall perform intense app testing to meet business requirements & eliminate defects/bugs that can negatively affect performance & user experience. Mobile application testing can be an automated or manual type of testing.

Common Types are:

  1. Functional Testing
  2. Performance Testing
  3. Security Testing
  4. Usability Testing
  5. Unit Testing
  6. User Acceptance Testing

Best Solution available for automated testing: Mobile Labs, Perfecto Mobile – Continuous Quality Lab, Keynote

Usage Analytics

Let’s say you followed all the above steps & did your best in designing, developing & integrating mobile applications with Oracle EBS. However, some mobile apps got poor adoption or low usage rates. So, you planned to re-work on those poor quality apps. How do you plan to do so & what details you have to make sure that you do not repeat previous mistakes?

Usage analytics provides key metrics and information that help enterprises understand usage trends and discern meaningful patterns and to identify opportunities for new workflows and methods of engagement. User analytics helps enterprises to benchmark their apps, drive app improvements & avoid unexpected app behaviors. Some MADP, RMAD and MBaaS products such as Xamarin, Capriza and Oracle MCS offer usage analytics through the use of API’s & SDKs. Besides, Mobile application management (MAM) products such as Apperian & EMM vendors such as AirWatch provide mobile app analytics as part of their platforms.

Measurement

Productivity Improvements, Business value, Cost Savings & finally ROI.

Challenges

There are numerous opportunities and numerous challenges with Enterprise Mobility. In the traditional desktop world, there are three major browsers, and the majority of the apps are coded in HTML. Irrespective of the operating system and browser, all apps can run anywhere. It is a straightforward process. However, In the mobile world, there are multiple Operating systems such as iOS, Windows, and Android. There are different types of devices in different sizes. An app built for a phone needs to be explicitly optimized for a Tablet. Just in the Android ecosystem alone, there are around 4000 device and operating system combinations. Mobile devices could lose connectivity, and you need to consider offline enablement. There are rugged devices that are entirely different from smartphones. There are more than 15 ways you could develop a mobile app. Due to this smorgasbord of options, Picking one platform and build a competency center around it is challenging for organizations. Fast changing technology compounds the problems. Here are some of the challenges faced by our customers.

While Mobile projects look simple on the surface, they are much more complicated than the web projects. There is only form factor when you develop a web site that is accessed over a PC. However, in the mobility world, there are well over 4000 combinations of operating systems, screen size, device type (phone vs. Tablet). Screen real-estate is small, but the complexity is high because you are trying to provide the same information that you have on the web on a mobile device. Cutting edge features such as shaking, swipe, voice, geolocation, scanning and responsive design add much more complexity to the implementation process. Apart from disparate technologies, it would help if you upgrade your apps every 3 to 4 months to run the apps smoothly and also leverage the latest features. Addressing security bugs through upgrades is not something you can ignore.

Due to the complexities involved in executing mobile projects, we recommend you follow a hybrid approach of some in-house development and partner with Enterprise Mobile specialists.

Once you have a prototype and established a road-map of apps you want to develop, it is prudent for a customer to have resources that cover at least 50% of the work.

Control over resources makes sense for long term projects.

Helpful for both during development and Maintenance of the apps.

Challenges with In House Development:

  • Upgrading skills in the fast changing technologies is hard.
  • Access to different skill sets and knowledge in a variety of app development languages such as Swift, Objective C, Typescript and Angular could be very hard.
  • Establishing Best practices on cutting edge technologies could be challenging.
  • True costs may exceed the benefits of In-house development.

System integrators whose mobility business is one of their 1000 areas of focus may not add much value in rapidly changing and cutting edge technologies like Mobile. True Enterprise Mobile solutions providers can add tremendous value to your mobile implementations through best practices, dedicated focus, and relationship with Oracle EBS.

Algarytm’s Advantage

With experience in developing their products on the Oracle EBS platform & deep connections to Oracle EBS Product development, Industry Principals and Support teams, Algarytm has a well-rounded team of designers, testers, developers and process experts to help you execute the project.

“You are good at your business. We are good at Mobility. Let us handle Mobility for you”

  • Whether it is that new beacons feature you want to leverage or simply want to improve user experience, this is what true mobile solution providers do day-in day-out.
  • We carry tools and templates that we use at other projects, sample code for common tasks such as security, offline enablement, sorting etc from our own in-house product development.
  • We have readily access to videos, white papers, blogs, articles.

Comment (1)

  • Hi everybody, Please provide your feedback and get a free Enterprise Mobile Strategy Template.

    In case the article does not meet your environment, Share us your challenges in adapting to Mobility… My solution advisor team & I are here to help you.

    Regards,

    Ravi Jasti
    Reply

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