This is part 3 in a series of posts based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback.
Keys Concerns Of Smartphones In The Enterprise
These are the factors that you need to be aware of and address in order to build successful enterprise smartphone applications. Most of them have nothing to do with the application itself as you will see here.
Managing devices is a factor that is going to effect how much your company will have to spend outside of developing the applications. How will you track the devices within the corporation? How often will you have to replace phones and as a consequence have to upgrade your applications to support new phones? The devices can represent a significant investment of capital. If these questions are not addressed you will find a number of hidden costs throughout the life of your solution.
Purchase or BYOD
We have seen the trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) lately within the enterprise. How many meetings have you been in where someone is on their personal iPad, iPhone, Android phone or Windows Phone? The issue is if you can afford to support everyone's choice in device? That is a lot to take on even if you only support the current release of each platform. Do you go with the most popular device or do you pick a platform that best matches your current ecosystem and distribute company owned devices? There is no easy answer here, but you should be able give some dollar value to both hardware and development costs related to platform coverage.
Smartphones are devices that are easier to lose or have stolen than laptops and desktops. Not only do you have your normal asset management concerns but also assignment of financial responsibility. You also will need to insure them against damage and theft and add legal documents that spell out the responsibilities of the employees that use these devices.
Personal vs. Corporate Data
What happens when you terminate an employee? How do you recover the device? What happens when they have put personal data on the device? These are all situation that can cause possible loss of corporate intellectual property or legal repercussions of reclaiming a device with personal data on it. Policies need to be put in place that protect the company from being exposed to type of loss. This can mean significant legal and procedural cost that you need to consider.
In the last installment of this series I will cover application development considerations.