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.
Mobilestack 5G Products using future-proof Hardware
Future Proof 5G products are needed to reduce network cost with faster upgradability. Hardware-Software separation provides cost efficient 4G/5G Network Equipment cost model that is desperately needed to reduce “total cost of ownership” for deploying 4G / 5G service. Mobilestack Inc provide 5G RAN software running on future-proof radio-network hardware.
RAN Hardware – Software separation
Given that MNOs margins are getting squeezed, Mobilestack wants to give complete ownership and independence to MNOs for RAN Hardware that is based on open hardware standards similar to “Open Compute Project” from facebook which help reduce cost of datacenter hardware by 50%. As of now, XRAN is considered to be the main focus for OPEN-RAN strategy. However, I doubt that XRAN option is a good one because same vendor solution at BBU (RAN Base-Band Unit) and RRU (RAN Remote UNIT) will always perform better. No incumbent RAN vendors (such as Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and other) want to give-up control on RAN-HW. If MNOs want to change the direction of this industry then they need to spend in new RAN startups like Mobilestack who are committed to support this architecture as part of their core mission and product strategy.
In my view, it is time to place bets on RAN Hardware Neutrality. If we fail to adopt this strategy in 5G then it may be too late to do it in the future. Mobilestack is not a hardware company, but we are willing to work with MNOs as a consultant to help them define this future and build open RAN HW ecosystem.
Small cell is a major part of Network densification. 50% to 70% of small cell CAPEX is in “installation”. As number of small cells grows to millions in a network deployment, small cell hardware replacement is simply not an option. This is the problem that we need to solve. The solution is to use future proof small cell “commodity” hardware that allows in-field upgrade from 4G to 5G. Commodity HW is the key differentiator here to create a very low cost small cell solution.
Use of future-proof hardware for small cell is business critical. Given that small cell is going to be deployed in millions of locations, hardware replacement cost will be huge and roll-out of new features requiring hardware upgrade will be extremely slow.
5G relay cells are going to be deployed much like Verizon 5G service today which provide WiFi / 4G LTE inside the building or as local network and use 5G link to the macro / micro / small cell as backhaul.
Use of commodity RAN HW is business critical for this use-case as well. Today, Verizon has used “proprietary HW” with a critical need to upgrade when 3GPP compliant 5G Relay cell is available. Now, consider huge cost of this hardware replacement for Verizon which can be avoided if future-proof Relay-Cell hardware is used with customer replaceable parts for custom hardware if required.
Private LTE Network
Private LTE network create local private LTE network which can be used in many different vertical market use-cases in which “network delay and network coverage” is a huge consideration such as Hospitals, Hotels, Convention centers, Airports, Ports, Industrial complex or Oil & Gas markets.
Again, in these markets, use of commodity hardware and being able to use same hardware for future wireless upgrades will reduce “total cost of ownership” and encourage adoption. Mobilestack Inc is targeting these markets and invite customers to engage with us for trial / PoC demos.
Critical LTE Network
In recent CA fires and other natural disasters such as Puerto Rico, restoration of Wireless Network is “mission critical” for public safety services and rescue operations. Every second counts in these restoration efforts to provide help where it is needed and identify / locate people that need help.
This best option in these situations is to provide a portable LTE-solution that can be mounted on public safety vehicles / backpacks (such as fire trucks, Ambulances, FEMA resources) that can be connected to serve any operator's mobile phone / SIM-card.
Mobilestack Inc has developed a portable 3G/LTE-network solution (future upgradable to support 5G as well) to serve these critical needs. We invite customers to contact us for a trial / PoC demo.
Mobilestack Inc is creating 5G Products with focus on Hardware-Software separation and use commodity hardware to build 5G products and services. With main focus on Hardware-Software separation is the core differentiation for Mobilestack 5G products.
Customers from many vertical markets can leverage Mobilestack Inc products. We invite customer to contact us for details of our products and services with a trial, PoC as a start.
Our demo setup architecture is described in a diagram below:
Figure – Demo-Setup
Current Mobilestack Inc effort and prototype demo is available on YouTube at:
This demo proves feasibility of creating a future-proof radio-network solution. Instead of PC, for higher capacity requirements, Open Compute Platform (OCP) hardware can be used to run multiple instances of BBU. Intel is also creating Network Edge Virtualization (NEV) platform which is also a candidate hardware platform of higher capacity vBBU solution.