5 Key Considerations When Creating A Mobile Center Of Excellence

Important For The Initial Planning Stages

Divyang Bhatt

Setting up a mobile center of excellence (mCOE) can be complicated, and there will be countless things to consider early in the process. Here are several factors to consider.

1. Define Your Strategy

Your mobile strategy should not only focus on business expectations, but also on user expectations. By considering this, you can develop a comprehensive roadmap for reaching business goals. Secure the necessary funding for the mobile strategy by defining the business drivers and developing a business case with a positive ROI.

Then, define the mission and vision of the mCOE. It is a good idea to define short-term and long-term goals, as well as objectives. During this time, identify the key metrics and critical success factors for the mCOE.

Once the mission statement and vision are established, ensure that it is communicated to the business stakeholders. Introduce the center of excellence at the next town hall meeting. The quicker the center of excellence is embraced by everyone, the faster all employees will realize the benefits of it.

2. Identify The Type Of mCOE

As an organization, you will need to decide the type of mobile center that will be implemented. This can be based on the organization needs and preparedness. For example, you can have a centralized or dedicated mCOE; A centralized mobile center will have a dedicated leader and team focused on all mobile solutions for the enterprise. This team will take all mobile application requests and work with the respective stakeholder and IT teams to deliver the app. The centralized mCOE will manage all financial aspect of the project.

Alternatively, you can have a best practice service model. In this service model, the mCOE establishes guidelines for best practices. However, each business unit would have the responsibility for development. Another item to consider is whether the center of excellence will focus on mobile applications only or will you support everything mobile — including mobile device management (MDM).

3. Development

There are several decisions that need to be considered as to where the development will take place. Will all development be in the house? If so, does your organization have the necessary skills, or are you in an area of the country where you can easily find and hire developers? If the development is not in-house, then will you need to leverage third-party development vendors. Whether they be off-shore or on-shore, the cost should not be the only factor in your decision making. You may also choose a model where both in-house and third-party service providers work together.

4. Technology And Tools

You will have to decide if you will be planning to develop only native apps or hybrid apps. This decision is dependent on the roadmap of the mobile app. You may want to use native apps if you are planning to leverage default functionalities of the mobile device. Examples of this include the phone, GPS, etc. If you are considering hybrid development, then you will need to choose a mobile application framework. Some examples of the hybrid framework include React Native, Ionic, PhoneGap, and Xamarin.

You will need a quick time-to-market for your mobile app, and therefore you will need to consider a Mobile Backend as A Service (MBaaS) provider. Since a mobile app relies on several backend resources (i.e. infrastructure, storage, API, etc.), MBaaS can save you the backend development time. There are many providers in this space, and it will require architecting the solution to best optimize for your company.

5. SDLC vs Mobile SDLC

By nature of the product, your business will expect you to deliver mobile releases quicker than traditional software delivery. If your organization requires huge documentation requirements before releasing to production, consider developing a mobile SDLC at the onset of the mobile center. You will need to partner with various governance and compliance teams at the beginning of the development of the mobile SDLC. The main goal of mobile SDLC is to have the ability to deliver mobile releases quicker while following all audit and compliance requirements.

These are only few considerations in the journey for creating a mobile center of excellence. It is important that you consider these and other items at the initial planning stages to avoid potential risks in the future. Mobile is here to stay, so bring value to your organization and have fun while establishing a center of excellence.