At last week’s ‘Mobile India’ conference in Bangalore, Enterprise Mobility was the hot topic on the minds of many of the high-profile participants. In one panel, representatives from KPMG India, AT&T, Infosys, Ramco Systems, Huawei, Sasken Technologies and Uniphore debated and deliberated on the challenges and opportunities of today’s networked world for Enterprises on the Move.
According to Uniphore’s CEO, Umesh Sachdev, there are four major challenges to successful enterprise mobility initiatives in India:
I. Security: Real-time connections via enterprise applications combined with local storage of data on mobile devices increase the potential for exposure of sensitive, confidential and legally protected data.
II. Usability: In India, voice calls are still the preferred mechanism of communication on phones, not sophisticated smartphone applications. Moreover, there is a lack of applications in local languages. Most of the current enterprise mobility applications ignore these trends, have an unintuitive user interface, and involve a steep learning curve.
III. Compatibility: With the rise of BYOD, enterprises can save significant capex costs. However, this same trend presents a challenge for businesses to keep up with new platforms and devices. Mobility applications must be scalable across iOS, Android, and basic phones, or otherwise risk a slower adoption.
IV. Integration: Mobile initiatives are only successful if they have access to a robust backend IT infrastructure with which they can interact and feed data. New mobility initiatives must therefore integrate with legacy IT systems.
With these four problems, the solution is to create and deploy an enterprise mobility solution that is secure, personal, compatible, and end-to-end.
To ensure a secure solution, enterprises must create an ‘Encryption Container.’ This means that encryption should happen on the device itself – irrespective of whether the device is corporate owned or consumer owned. Also, to protect any data that is in transit, encryption must be present between the device and the servers behind the enterprise firewall. Furthermore, an enterprise mobility solution must enable remote access control, giving a small group of administrators permissions to remotely erase the information on the devices. Less security-intensive tasks like loading software can be delegated to a larger group of administrators. This is commonly known as Mobile Device Management. Finally, mobile applications must involve some level of user authentication to prevent unauthorized usage of a device and/or application. Depending on the needs of the enterprise, methods of verification can vary from low-security tactics such as PIN codes or password, to high security methods such as voice biometrics.
The success of any mobility initiative is be measured by how often and well it is used by employees. Therefore, the solution must be catered to the personal needs of the users, and compatible with their mobile preferences. You must make sure to understand your employee’s preferences and expectations in terms of devices, applications and services, and assess their technology skill capabilities. Given the diverse demographics of India, with various languages, phone types, and literacy levels, a robust mobility solution must work across devices all platforms, including basic mobile phones. It should also enable inputs to be given in an intuitive form, through a combination of data/3G application, SMS, and speech technology, and include functionality in local languages. Multilingual Speech Recognition is an important component of any mobile solution as it meets all these requirements.
Finally, any enterprise mobility solution must answer the information needs of employees from end-to-end. Mobile apps need timely enterprise data to empower business processes and mobile users. For examples, sales representatives often use applications to quote prices to their customers. For this, they rely on sound, real-time integration to a back end system through middleware. Furthermore, the results, insights, and collaboration outputs generated via mobile apps should have a way of being fed back to systems of record. Managers making decisions will thus have real-time insight into the processes and cashflows of the company. In order to accomplish this two way street, mobility platforms must have comprehensive integration capabilities.
To see Uniphore’s presentation elaborating on these points, go to http://mobileindia.kpoint.com/.
About Uniphore: Uniphore Software Systems is the leader in Multi lingual speech-based software solutions. Uniphore’s solutions allow any machine to understand and respond to natural human speech, thus enabling humans to use the most natural of communication modes, speech, to engage and instruct machines. Uniphore operates from its corporate headquarters at IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai, India and has sales offices in Middle East (Dubai, UAE) as well as in Manila, Philippines.