Top Enterprise-Mobility Challenges: How to Tackle

Executive summary

Enterprise move to Mobile Platform is a necessity with wireless connection becoming a default option for connecting everything. Enterprise Cellular Connectivity requirement is growing in many different ways. However, adding cellular connectivity as part of Enterprise IT, mobile strategy and products have a lot of challenges and pain points that senior decision makers must weigh against the benefits, in order to achieve ROI, productivity and new revenue / products objectives.

This causes many difficulties for the leadership of enterprise IT and product development departments to combat, but Cellular Connectivity & value-added services is a necessary component of gaining advantages over competitors both as an employer, and a business, in the modern world.

1.  Mobile strategy & planning

Mobile technology can no longer be ignored as a key component of how people go about their daily lives in the modern world, and every organization should be attempting to build an understanding of how to leverage it to improve their business.

Enterprise is adopting Mobile & Cellular technology in many different ways.  Mobile office is becoming essential part of every enterprise and Enterprise-IT is looking for best ways to maintain security with high-level of connectivity to ensure business agility and productivity. The de-facto method of connectivity has become Wireless Connectivity.

Enterprise Wireless should ideally be approached at the drawing board with a forward-thinking, well-educated and robust strategy that aligns with the fundamental goals of the entire business.

While this in itself is a challenge for Enterprise leaders, they must ensure that the senior executives of the organization are fully bought-in to their mobile strategy, and that there is a positive mind-set towards the transformative nature of such technologies upheld throughout.

Beyond these core aspects of introducing mobility into an organization, the strategic vision also needs to answer the diverse range of questions presented by such a fragmented and vast marketplace which is constantly evolving.

CIOs will typically place mobility high in their IT priorities, but mobility is no where near high enough in terms of IT budgets, which is a mistake being made by a large number of organizations. IT leaders have been talking about mobile technology in terms of strategy for some time now, but levels of investment and resulting implementations are still not driving the necessary business transformation.

To navigate these challenging processes and essentially reach the universal goals that mobile technology should be pointing towards, enterprises should seek help and guidance from experienced partners and solution providers when devising their mobile strategies, and trust the expertise at their disposal.

Firstly, a mobile strategy should not aim to look too far into the future, because change within the marketplace happens so fast, organizations need to have a dynamic strategy which focuses on present opportunities and considers scalability. Furthermore, failure to involve all the right stakeholders and lines of business when mapping out a strategy will hinder mobility from re-defining mission-critical workflows and processes.

One increasingly popular method of nurturing this universal engagement throughout an organization is by establishing a Mobile Centre of Excellence, which brings together representation of all business units with industry experts and maximises the use of the most relevant expertise for all aspects of enterprise mobility.

Although this is traditionally a larger enterprise initiative, it is a concept which can be useful for leveraging existing IT capabilities, helping to define standards, provide better educated decision making for vendor selection, and guide other important steps within the strategy.

This can facilitate the governance to become mobile first, saving time, money and risk for the organization.

It is then critical to understand that mobility is a conduit for business innovation, and can deliver immeasurable improvements to enterprises that implement such technologies with a sufficient strategy in place. The companies that have taken the biggest leaps towards success with mobility, and towards becoming truly mobile-first, have often been cited as those with higher tolerances for failure.

Perhaps the most important thing to be aware of when investing in mobility, and subsequently deploying complex mobile solutions throughout a business, is that it is ok to fail, but those failures must be used to learn and to move forward more successfully in future.

This will help the organization overcome any fear factor related to the decision to invest in mobility, presenting the opportunity to maximise the potential of their implementations.

2.  Migration to Cloud + Mobile

Migration to Cloud (public or Private or Hybrid) is a growing trend considered by Enterprise as part of operational efficiency. As Enterprise applications are moved to Cloud, it is a good idea to consider a cloud choice which is best suited for migration to Mobile as one combined effort or future effort depending on Enterprise priority. However, factors to facilitate migration to Mobile must be considered during planning stage for migration to Cloud project.

This can involve making the decision between re-architecting existing applications for a mobile setting, or investing in developing new applications for specific use cases, as well as optimising all mobile systems within an organization to provide enhanced productivity and efficiency for the workforce.

3. Expected Mobile User Experience

When introducing mobile technology into workflows, the main objective is developing a working environment on a mobile device that allows employees to do the same work they can do at their desk, from virtually any location at any time.

However, the main challenge which underlines the strategic decision to mobilize within a business is to encourage and achieve user adoption of these apps, by delivering an intuitive and satisfying mobile experience.

Without a positive user experience, mobile apps will not be used to their full potential, and if apps are not fully adopted by employees, an organization will never gain the return on their investment that they planned for.

When stated in this way, it becomes clear just how important user experience is to the success of mobility deployments throughout an enterprise. It is all too frequent that IT departments overlook the experience their employees will encounter when working in a mobile setting, and as a result they settle for the average.

It is vital to ensure that shortcuts are never being taken in this area, otherwise employee satisfaction will not be achieved, and neither will a strong ROI. As per Gartner, most popular web-application should be selected for migration to Mobile platform first to get strong ROI.

Once Mobile user experience for application is well defined, enterprises can dedicate the necessary level of investment into ensuring that their chance of user adoption is maximised, focusing on the quality of user experience as a high priority in terms of development resources and costs. Working with the right partners to advise, build, deploy and manage effective enterprise applications is essential to overcome difficulties achieving ROI and reaping the desired rewards with mobility.

4. Mobile Security

Concurrently, the aforementioned influx of devices causing management and security concerns within the enterprise is part of a wider spectrum of challenges related to the protection of corporate information and data.

There are, without doubt, a myriad of difficulties which arise from the ever-changing mobile landscape when attempting to instill the adequate security measures, and this area is the number one priority for many senior enterprise mobility practitioners.

Firstly, the appropriate authentication needs to be in place within all mobile channels, with access to the corporate network controlled at the correct levels. This will also involve the management of separate user identities in certain cases. Enterprise applications must then be secured to prevent data leakage when being used on personal devices.

Unfortunately for enterprises, employees themselves are also an enormous risk to security, especially when operating on mobile devices. Email and file sharing habits, accompanied by the use of unauthorised apps and similar hazardous behaviour will often raise concerns among IT leaders.

With all these issues to comprehend, it is then crucial to maintain the efficiency of these protected mobile channels to prevent the security measures from hindering employee productivity or satisfaction levels.

Security will remain a persistent and prominent issue in the mobile space, so organizations cannot be hesitant and wait for a miracle solution to solve the challenges for them. Unlike other aspects of mobility, security is a constant across industry, business size and use case, and it is absolutely essential for any organization to ensure the sufficient measures are taken to secure corporate data regardless of the mobile initiative.

IT leaders should be prepared to trial security strategies and learn from their mistakes, investing the necessary resources in order to ensure they do not suffer from a severe breach or attack.

There are many diverse and agile solutions available in the current market, many of which are now focusing heavily on applications and data, which can help solve these security issues for enterprises, with complex and meticulous capabilities. No matter what solutions are implemented, IT leaders need to consistently encourage the correct use of the highest quality mobile security tools available, throughout the entire enterprise and across all lines of business.

To truly cover the needs of a secure mobile strategy, organizations will want to nurture a multi-layered approach that can prevent threats against their sensitive and valuable information. They should authenticate their enterprise applications, reinforce this with some form of agile device management solution, and then ensure their wider corporate networks are also equipped with measures of protection.

5. Multi-MNO Support – Pros & Cons

Enterprise wants to use multiple MNOs for company business, products and services. However, MNO wants exclusive relationship with Enterprise. Enterprise relationship with MNO is not always a smooth experience despite best effort of MNO and Enterprise to make this marriage successful.

95% of organizations allow employee owned devices to be used for work purpose. Cellular connectivity is getting added as part of company products and services and support of all MNOs for company business and services is critical. This is in fundamental conflict with MNO-mission of building exclusive relationships with Enterprise businesses.

How to best support multiple MNOs for Enterprise business? It is not easy. Each MNO has different way of working with enterprise.  Adding each MNO as part of Enterprise relationship has a cost and pain-points which has to be analyzed for benefits.

Much like cloud development, using MNO infrastructure for cellular connection is proprietary and effort is needed to integrate every new MNO as part of Enterprise IT and product configuration. This is where hiring an expert to help in development of multi-MNO support and mobile strategy development is important and cost-effective instead of trying to Do-It-Yourself (DIY).

Therefore, Enterprise IT and product development decision makers should look at MNO-support options very carefully and strive for multi-MNO support as strategic shift. In long run, multi-MNO support is always desirable and keeps Enterprise-IT and product development adopt to best connectivity options as cellular technology evolves or MNO business changes (such as MNO merger or late adoption of new technology).

Employee Mobility for work has following options:

  • Separate business mobile device Vs personal device
  • Use personal device for business purpose – BYOD

Both options have pros and cons.  BYOD requires multi-MNO support by Enterprise-IT. Separate business device allows company to choose one operator and extend / support only one MNO for corporate assets.

6. Mobile Application Strategy

Balancing security with usability, to enable productivity for users within large corporate IT networks, is a challenge which naturally serves the key step of enterprise mobile strategies, which is developing and deploying mobile applications.

Within this critical process, there are many decisions which must be made that can be extremely challenging for IT leaders if they are not fully equipped with the necessary resources or expertise.

This can include deciding whether to develop apps in-house, or finding the right partners to work with when outsourcing development, imploring a BYOT approach, code-less development, HTML5, native apps, and even hybrid, custom or cloud-based apps.

These issues are compounded by cost of development, customization, testing, successful deployment, and as previously mentioned, adoption of the enterprise applications. All of these aspects will be challenging in specific ways based on the industry verticals that enterprises operate in, as well as the types of devices, operating systems and also use cases that the apps must be compatible with.

Once apps are deployed throughout the organization, it is then important that they can be properly hosted and maintained under the necessary amount of control by the IT department. Designing apps without considering their full lifecycle and the related support is a significant weakness in the opinion of David Krebs, Executive Vice President, VDC Research; another Enterprise Mobility Exchange Advisory Council mainstay. Understanding the lifecycle of apps is a crucial component of the process, and many organizations don’t think from the standpoint of how their mobile deployments will need to be upgraded, which in turn becomes a pain point down the road.

At the core of all of these issues, the question enterprises must be able to answer when devising their strategy is what functionalities and requirements they need to satisfy with their mobile apps. Once it is understood, the route to take in terms of development will appear to be clearer and more straight-forward.

There is also a significant opportunity in custom development for mobile enterprises, and that is commonly met through internal development or third-party solution providers, with more and more standardization occurring in terms of reducing the time spent on development, and the task of then integrating and deploying those apps.

Whichever option is taken in this area by organizations, it is critical to make these decisions at the beginning of the process, and understand exactly what is needed from the apps to ensure the decision is the correct one. When budgeting for both the time and costs of the development, enterprises should weigh up the pros and cons, considering all the tools available.

As long as the security, the maintenance and the usability of the applications are built into the development strategy, the investment will be justified by the adoption among the workforce.


Due to its highly transformative nature, enterprise mobility will always bring with it a number of challenging decisions for business leaders to make, as well as difficulties with the complexities of development and implementation. To tackle migration to mobile platform challenges, Enterprise center of Excellence, in partnership with mobile consulting experts, should be created within enterprise with measurable results and ROI objectives.

It is clear from the exploration of the six challenges featured within this report that there is a great deal of crossover between the diverse areas of enterprise mobility within an organization, which makes it even more important to ensure the approach to mobility, and the solutions that are implemented in doing so, are fully understood and leveraged correctly. There is still plenty of confusion within the market caused by the pace at which technology evolves, but this fragmented landscape is not something that enterprises should have to deal with on their own.

In order to overcome these challenges, senior decision makers should be prepared to take risks, embracing the failures which will inevitably occur as learning opportunities rather than backwards steps, and perhaps most importantly they need to be brave with their investments in the mobile productivity solutions available.

Mobilestack Inc is an expert in Mobile and Wireless technology and available to help navigate this complex transformation to Mobile or Mobile + Cloud. We offer free webinars on this topic for education purpose and enable Enterprise to take more educated decisions in the marketplace.  Join us for free webinars.

Mobilestack Inc also offers free initial consulting to better understand value proposition of hiring Mobilestack for Enterprise Mobility consulting & engineering services.

Contact Mobilestack Inc for Enterprise Mobility Consulting packages which will help in providing regular updates on challenges of Enterprise Mobility strategy, Migration to Mobile+Cloud, Mobile Security and Multi-MNO relationship aspects.

Ten steps of adding LTE to a Wearable?

Adding LTE to a Wearable is not as easy as adding Bluetooth to a Wearable. Mobilestack Inc has deep experience in adding cellular technology to a Wearable and launching it in a carrier network. In this article, I want to outline steps for adding LTE / CAT-M / NB-IoT or legacy 2G / 3G wireless technology to a Wearable.

Adding a cellular modem to a wearable is a very different wireless design lifecycle Vs Bluetooth integration into Wearable. In a way, Cellular Modem enabled Wearable is a completely separate category of device Vs Bluetooth enabled device. Bluetooth enabled Wearable design is limited to hardware and software engineering effort to make it work with smartphone application that is optimized to reduce battery consumption as much as possible without compromising on user experience. WiFi connectivity solution is little more complex Vs Bluetooth because of new WiFi-6 design for IoT devices or WiFi AP-setting for wearable device. Still, this is not as complex as adding cellular connectivity solution to a wearable.

Adding LTE to Wearable has many product dimensions and life-cycle steps. Steps involved from idea to launch for adding LTE to a Wearable device are as follows:

Step-1: Product Requirements Definition:

Requirements definition needs to capture answer of following questions:

What is the main business objective of adding LTE to Wearables? What if LTE / CAT-M / NB-IoT coverage is not available at a given location – Is there a need to support 3G/2G as fallback option? Target market? Engage with mobile operators in target market for Wearable support and develop business case for operator support and technical requirements. New device features such as device management requirements, SIM Vs eSIM, Firmware update, Device security, Supply chain impacts, Number sharing, Voice Support, Text Message support are good examples of device requirements that must be considered.

Mobilestack Inc is very familiar with details of device requirements and pros/cons of different features that must be planned for IoT device development.

Step-2: Wireless Technology Choices

Based on device requirements, Wireless Technology choices must be made.

Band support:- Which RF bands are supported by target device. It is not feasible to add all RF bands and device OEM may be required to pick and choose. This choice will define the global footprint in which OEM device will potentially work. In other areas (not supported by RF-bands of Wearable), only Bluetooth or WiFi will work and Cellular modem has to be disabled.

Wireless Technology Choice – There are few options to be considered: LTE-Only, LTE/3G/2G, CAT-M Only, CAT-M / NB-IoT, CAT-M / 3G, NB-IOT/3G, CAT-M/NB-IoT/3G etc.

SIM technology and form-factor choice – One major decision is SIM Vs eSIM. How about SIM-Swap support? What SIM form-factor is best suited – such as Industrial grade embedded, Commercial-grade Embedded SIM or Removable SIM?

Mobilestack Inc has deep expertise in wireless technology choices and we can help customers in this step.

Step-3: Planning

Detailed planning is needed including discussion with all stakeholders- Sales, Supply Chain, Vendors, Mobile Operators as Partners, Engineering, Product Management and Operational teams that will be involved in any new wireless device development, launch, sales and operational processes. New testing and device activation work-flows have to be worked out to create expectation alignment of all stakeholders.

Mobilestack Inc can help customers in planning this project to ensure the success and eliminate cost-overrun due to bad planning.

Step-4: Supply Chain impact and Vendor Selection

By adding Cellular Wireless connectivity, new vendors for wireless module and SIM-card are added as part of supply chain. Also, operator certified Wireless Module + SIM-card must be tested (on operator network or stand-alone) before it is added to a target device. Since most of this supply chain process is done off-shore, there are challenges in achieving smooth process for this step.

There are ways to solve this issue and Mobilestack Inc can help.

Step-5: Product Design

This has two components i.e. Hardware design and software design

Hardware design – Main design considerations are: Antenna Placement, Battery Power Management, Wireless Module integration, SIM-card placement, Battery capacity augmentation

Software design – Power management, always best connected Solution switching between Bluetooth and Cellular, One number solution for Voice, messaging services, Firmware update (FOTA), Device Activation / change in ownership aspects, eSIM / SIM-Management aspects, future-proofing of solution to enable eSIM later-on, User Interface impacts.

Customer experience should be painless and simple for using and activating wearable device. Usability factor will drive customer adoption. Bad usability or complex device activation process will create customer returns of a good working device. This should be considered as key performance indicator of device success among others.

Mobilestack Inc has deep expertise in Wireless Design and Engineering services.

Step-6: Development

Execute on Wireless design identified in step-5 above. Development should use agile development process with measurable progress and DevOps development model for frequent integration testing.

Mobilestack Inc offers cost-effective Wireless Connectivity Design and Development Services to achieve faster time-to-market for our customers.

Step-7: Testing

System level testing must be done after development is completed with focus on automation as much as possible. Also, field testing must be included as part of this testing in which device is tested at multiple different locations with specific focus on edge cases such as roaming (specially new device activation in roaming), coverage edge of 4G and 3G etc. Mobile Operator resources can be used for field device testing.

Mobilestack Inc has expertise in creating test-plans (or advice customers on test-planning) and actual testing of wireless devices.

Step-8: Device Certification

In this step, device is submitted to different device certification centers that are approved by Mobile Operators including any in-house device testing by Mobile Operator. Not all operators require in-house device certification testing. So, as part of device planning step, Device certification plan must be developed and executed as part of this step. Before device launch, as part of pre-launch testing, Mobile Operator requires test-devices in large number for internal testing by different stakeholders including network operation team and regional / nation-side device sales and marketing channels.

Step-9: Device On-boarding process

For launch, Operator defined device on-boarding process must be followed. This includes submission of millions of manufactured devices identity (IMEI) and SIM-card identity (ICCID) details of devices (going on future sale) to Operator for proper provisioning or device on-boarding. It is best to integrate this process as part of supply chain of Device Manufacturing process. In the case of e-SIM based development, this process will be slightly different.

Mobilestack Inc can help navigate this process for our customers.

Step-10: Launch

Congratulations for reaching on the finish-line. First few days of launch should be spent in a device launch war room to help operators and all different sales channel trouble-shooting and support. This is the most rewarding phase of project and smooth launch will help elevate device OEMs image in the marketplace.

After a month of launch, Device OEM can do a project post-mortem analysis to identify lessons learnt during this journey for future improvements. Smooth device launch and good customer reviews help in building Device OEM’s brand equity. All efforts must be made to make launch successful in a timely manner specially around Nov-Dec timeframe when alot of OEMs are trying to launch their device and Mobile Operators are always very busy.

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