Whenever you look around yourself, everyone seems to be going someplace. Whether it is to a meeting, or for shopping, everyone is intent on getting to his or her destination, whatever it may be. Have you ever stopped to wonder, where are the enterprises going? Today, the answer to that question seems straightforward – They are all going mobile! Just like the ERP initiatives of the days past, today, the key focus area for most companies is mobility. Build vs. BuyThe first question any organization is faced with when deciding on a new technology investment is how to execute the implementation. The all pervasive IT has long mandated that any company worth its salt have an IT department. The first option that executives have when embracing the big M is to either expand their existing IT team by hiring skilled resources to help with the rollout. Whether contractors or permanent hires, these resources are not cheap, and can burn a hole in your pocket. The second option is to re-task the existing techies to do the job. This approach is fraught with risks, since mobile app developers and mobility managers are required to have very different skillsets and mindsets. The benefit of the do-it-yourself approach is that the company can create the app / solution exactly as they want it. Also, the intellectual property stays within the organization and they can control the future roadmap to their specifications. These same benefits however, can turn into potential issues. You would probably not eat at a restaurant where the chef’s special menu consists of ‘okra seasoned steak’ or ‘honey marinated tuna’. The dishes turned out exactly as the chef wanted them to. However, they do not agree with the palate of the customers. The DIY approach has the potential of creating something no one likes, because the planning team did not think it through well enough. There is always the second option – going the COTS route. Where there is will, there is most likely a COTS product to fulfill the need. Now most of the products available are time-tested, and used by peers from the same vertical as your organization. Therefore, there is some credibility to their claim to fame. Also, they eliminate the need for owning and maintaining a team of developers. However, you lose the ‘personalization’ and customization’ so close to your heart. Further, the product would meet 80-90% of your requirements, which is mostly more than enough, but 100% has its own charm. Call in The Experts – Best of Both WorldsThere is a third way out – hire a mobile services company to do what you would have done yourself. Since they are the experts, they would be much more efficient and less prone to errors than your internal teams. More importantly, they bring with them the experience of doing similar rollouts for other enterprises, and can help guide you to the right path whenever you stray. The single most critical part of this relationship however, is the engagement model. It is easy to find a yes-man team, who will help you write the tragic end to your mobile dream really efficiently. The key is to find not a vendor, but a partner. Companies engage with the customers like a partner, which allows for a mutually beneficial relationship. Partnership includes engagement at a strategic layer, where the provider and the customer a jointly involved in the decision making, design, and architecture discussions. Once finalized, the provider owns the plan’s execution. This helps in ensuring that the customer’s needs, and the service provider’s wisdom, along with his technical expertise, come together to deliver the pest outcome possible.