Mobility is an important business driver in the connected world of today, says Paulo Ferreira, Head of Enterprise Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. 
In South Africa, which is renowned for its extensive cellular network that has a significantly greater reach than fixed-line infrastructure, it becomes especially critical to have a mobility strategy in place. But to benefit from this, organisations need to ensure that they are using the right platform for their strategic requirements.
Underpinning this drive, the business needs to ask itself what the reasons are for being mobile. Is it a case of providing employees with flexibility to access company resources or information while on the road or from home? Do customers require a mobile access point to engage with the organisation?
What role will mobile applications play in addressing these questions? Will the platform be secure and protect company information from falling into the wrong hands should an employee’s device get lost or stolen?
The need for mobile
While there are many other strategic questions that require answers, the intention is to highlight what the business impact will be for going mobile. Getting that much-needed competitive advantage and delivering more value to customers should underpin the selection of the enterprise mobility platform.
At times, South African organisations are frustrated that despite their defined business objectives, there are still complex challenges inherent to implementing the mobile enterprise architecture due to a number of challenges.
These vary from the lack of standardisation across mobile platforms and applications, difficulty in integrating the platform into existing corporate systems, limited flexibility or customisation options to meet specific organisational and customer requirements, and a lack of control over the mobile devices used by customers that could lead to an inconsistent experience.
Mobile enterprise architecture
However, architecturally the mobile enterprise infrastructure can become the central point of access to manage all applications, services, and devices for the organisation. In working closely with its partners, the organisation is able to ensure that a consistent customer and employee experience is created and that the platform is tested and refined with existing systems and processes.
A mobile platform that is flexible enough to do this, and that allows for the development of applications that will be the portal between seemingly disparate items, becomes a critical business decision.
Unlike the past, the modern organisation needs to factor in user preference when it comes time to make these decisions. Given the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices in South Africa, screen size and form factor are important elements to consider when developing the integration support for enterprise architecture.
The platform needs to be fluid enough to match this variety and can easily adapt to bigger and smaller screen sizes should the need arises.
Forming part of the plethora of mobile devices available is the choice between operating systems. On the one hand, organisations might have preference for a specific system and on the other consumers are used to easily moving between, for example Microsoft or Android. Now, a mobile architecture needs to look beyond hardware but also be flexible enough to be customised to accommodate different operating systems.
Given some of these elements, organisations need to consider entering into partnerships with vendors who are able to provide this flexibility through their solution offering. These vendors are typically able to offer a standardised foundation capable of supporting the mobile architecture of an organisation.
It is also important to investigate value-added services – great benefit can be gained from accidental damage from handling (ADH) warranties which cover two screen, liquid or accidental damage claims within a 24-month period on certain products.  A vendor should be evaluated based on their capability to provide the complete device offering, support infrastructure and very best service level agreements.
Growing support
One also needs to consider the support behind the platform and the enterprise infrastructure. Many proprietary systems are inhibited by limited resources while more open platforms suffer from a lack of structure, at times.
Decision-makers need to understand that irrespective of the mobile enterprise solution being implemented, the culture of the organisation also plays an important role. The employees and customers will ultimately drive mobility requirements. The underlying enterprise architecture needs to be cognisant of this and be flexible enough to meet changing requirements.
South African organisations are finally in a position to do more than just develop the strategic direction for mobility. They are now able to combine the business deliverables with mobile reform as a result of increasingly sophisticated solutions that are able to match their requirements in a more customisable manner than ever before.