by February 1, 2010 0 comments

You can’t carry your laptop everywhere, but your mobile accompanies you
wherever you go. That’s a pretty powerful medium to be more productive on the
move, and lots of organizations and individuals are attempting to take advantage
of it. Unfortunately, most of this progress is happening in a haphazard manner.

For instance, many organizations hand out official smartphones like
BlackBerries to their workforce. This is because they don’t know whether their
enterprise applications would work on their employees’ personal mobile devices.
This makes matters worse for the employee who now has to carry an official
mobile device and a personal one. A CIO I know bought an iPhone at an exorbitant
price a few months ago, but despite having such a powerful device, was forced to
carry an official BlackBerry because his iPhone didn’t support Lotus Notes!

Likewise, there are organizations like banks who get mobile banking
applications developed for their customers. This is a huge effort because the
software team has to develop the application for multiple mobile Operating
Systems, each of which in turn comes in many versions. Even after that, there
are lots of customers whose phones don’t support it. Moreover, this development
has to be a continuous effort to ensure that the application can run on the
newer smartphones being launched.

To extend the banks example further, there are also banks who provide WAP or
SMS based banking services to their customers. Here again, customers face issues
like forgetting the bank’s mobile URL or the SMS short code because there are
zillions of them floating around. On top of that, the application (installable
or WAP based) has to work on a slow GPRS connection. Hopefully whenever the
great 3G auction takes place, and we get higher mobile Internet speeds, the
bandwidth problem would hopefully be alleviated.

All these hurdles are hindering the full-fledged induction of mobile phones
into an IT infrastructure. It’s not happening at the pace it should. One thing
that could speed this up is the development of common standards, so that apps
work across different mobile platforms. Though there are multiple mobile
alliances who’re promoting open standards, they’re all pulling in their own
direction. This doesn’t really help consumers who would like their favorite apps
to work irrespective of which smartphone they buy. It makes the job of IT
managers and CIOs ever more challenging because they can’t truly leverage such a
powerful medium.

So for now, SMS remains the most common denominator amongst all mobile phones
today, which can be leveraged to deploy enterprise wide mobility applications.
Otherwise, you have to resort to deploying different mobile apps for different
pockets of employees, customers, and partners in your organization based on the

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