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May 17 2019

Why Indian SMEs are adopting Enterprise Mobility?

Last quarter we helped a start-up in non-tech space move from ideation to inception to moving off the ground. All this happened in a matter of 90 days. The company launched operations in 10 branches.

There were two reasons why we managed to move very fast. Early adoption of cloud and enterprise mobility was the first. Immaculate planning for the roll-out was the other reason.

Except for the head office, there are no desktops or laptops in any of the branches. Every business executive uses an Android Tablet or their own phone to run the business. Netzary's development team created an Android application for the remote and mobile users. We customized our own Micro ERP hosted on a VPS server, which talks to the mobile app. The organization still relies on Tally ERP for all their accounting. Now in the third month of operations, their revenues are more than Rs 2 crores a month.

I have several reasons to believe that enterprise mobility will see faster adoption in the next few quarters. The belief is further substantiated by the number of inquiries our sales team is receiving.

Changing Mobile App landscape

Through most of this decade, there was a gold rush to create consumer-facing mobile apps. It was difficult to hire quality developers to create apps for the Indian SME. The gold rush is over. And there are developers who have skilled themselves, available at affordable rates.

Also helping the cause is low mobile broadband. With the entry of Jio, every service provider has cut down the rates.

Familiarity

The biggest reason is that human beings are getting used to smartphones. This familiarity makes it easier for them to use the same for business applications. Also, they access these phones round the clock. Very few users respond to alerts on the web and client-server applications outside of business hours.

Smartphones change that. Since most users are connected all the time, they don't miss business app alerts. There is also less resistance to getting users to adapt to a mobile application, compared to a web app.

Cloud and SAAS

In a classic small or mid-sized enterprise, for non-power users, there exist a few standard applications. This would include standard office apps, some kind of CRM, email, and a bunch of business apps.

Most of these applications have moved on to cloud, or there exists a compelling SAAS alternative available.Many of the standard apps have a mobile version for both Android and iOS. Hence the resistance to moving apps on to the cloud is reducing.

PCs are not getting cheaper

PC pricing hit a plateau a few years back. While Intel releases a new processor family every year, the improvements are incremental at the best. Users are increasingly getting aware of TCO costs of PCs.

While high-end smartphones are even more expensive, you can actually get a lot done with a device that costs around Rs 10,000. There are decent Android phones starting at Rs 6000 and even 8-inch tablets that cost less than Rs 8000.

But I don't see phones replacing PCs as any serious creation of content is still a challenge of tablets or phones.

Concerns of Security

Apart from the content creation challenge, the biggest concern is security. And while there are a number of Mobile Device Management(MDM) solutions out there, there's nothing that's guaranteed to deliver.

To ensure business app security organizations need to invest in some best practices.

The biggest security practice needs to revolve around access controls. Access Controls need to be also based on not only user credentials, but also about the location from where an app is accessed.

Another criterion is what kind of data gets stored in a phone's local storage. And if they are stored, are you using encryption to protect the localized data.

In a future post, I will discuss some of the best practices while planning a business app that is expected to run on an unsecured device.

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