NetApp at the Industry Forefront with its Enterprise Mobile App Strategy

by Abhijeet Solanki, Sr. Manager, BI Architecture and Enterprise Mobility


NetApp at the Industry Forefront with its Enterprise Mobile App Strategy

pyrmid_mobile.pngGartner predicts there will be 1.39 billion mobile app downloads in 2014, with no end in sight for growth. NetApp is at the forefront of this adoption—embracing the mobile app revolution as a way to enhance productivity, generate revenue, improve customer service, and reduce costs.

We talked with Enterprise Architect Abhijeet Solanki, NetApp’s mobility expert, about what mobility means to NetApp employees, customers, and partners and the mobile store, the central portal for accessing mobile apps. Abhijeet works with the business to identify, implement, and manage mobile apps used throughout the enterprise.

How is mobility changing the enterprise?

We are only beginning to see the impact that mobility will have on how we work. We are entering a new digital age where the rate of technological change is rapid. Mobility, social, and cloud are all causing disruption in the way we live. Mobility is truly a disruptive force because it has such a huge potential to act as a market differentiator, add revenue streams, and improve customer satisfaction and engagement. As an early adopter of mobility in the enterprise, NetApp is always exploring the emerging technology landscape.

What is NetApp’s mobility strategy?

Our strategy is simple: to use mobility as a channel to drive NetApp’s success through productivity, service or revenue. The apps align to our core business goals. IT enterprise architecture (EA), legal, branding, and business teams participate in the app development processes to help evaluate how new mobile apps can deliver business value to NetApp. Mobile apps give NetApp employees, customers, and partners a layer of agility so they can be more productive on their mobile devices.

How did our mobility program start?

As the popularity of the smartphones and tablets increased, we saw a jump in business requests to use mobile apps. We wanted to avoid the risks of one-off development. NetApp was ahead of the industry in recognizing the need for a mobile development platform and a governance policy. Champions from various business areas participated in an Enterprise Mobility Council to create a formal approach to identifying, developing, governing, and managing the lifecycle of mobile apps.

What is the governance process?

A federated Mobility Center of Excellence was created to define standards in the areas of app development, security, branding, legal, and lifecycle management. With a formal lifecycle process we can ensure that every mobile app is compliant with corporate policies. It also gives us a foundation of core components, standardized architecture, and reusable skills to use across the enterprise. Our mobility policy targets six main areas: security, governance, business alignment, mobility, types of devices and form factors, and foundation (development platform, core libraries, etc.).

What type of business functions is suitable for mobile?

The best business functions for mobile deployment are those that generate revenue, reduce costs, improve customer care, or increase productivity. We started with simple customer-facing and employee productivity apps for development, such as mobile business intelligence (meBI), support, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and an employee directory. We are now moving to implement value-added apps that improve our customer relationships and generate revenue.

What is the NetApp mobile store?

We introduced a self-service portal to make the mobile apps available to as many people as efficiently as possible. Users access the store with their phone or tablet, then download apps by operating system (Android and iOS). Some of our popular apps are:

  • Conference room booking and directory assistance
  • Instant non-disclosure agreements (NDA)
  • FlashSelect tool to help Sales identify the NetApp flash-accelerated storage technology best suited to customer requirements
  • NetApp Customer Support app for storage network status, product specifications, and support history

The store is constantly expanding as we target new business applications to move to the mobile platform. Expect to see more apps to streamline NetApp’s communications with its customers and other stakeholders.

Share your thoughts on mobility today. What mobile apps do you find useful? What ones do you wish you had?

The NetApp-on-NetApp blog series features advice from subject matter experts from NetApp IT who share their real-world experiences using NetApp’s industry-leading storage solutions to support business goals. Want to view learn more about the program? Visit