Posted by:Shyam Deval June 7th, 2016

In my last blog, I shared few of the findings from a recent report by Enterprise Mobility Exchange on state of Global Enterprise Mobility along with some of my observations to provide context to those findings.  The same survey also asked the participants about lessons they have learnt in their mobility journey and things they would do differently if given a chance.  I am sharing few of those learning’s today with some of my own observations – from my experience here at BTC helping companies big and small in their mobility journey. 

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Think big but start smaller

The flipside of this is of course – ‘Think Small but Start Big’.  This is the mistake that lot of companies make when they use a big bang approach for early mobility initiatives, without giving much consideration to broader strategic factors.  Lot of times this is IT giving in to executive pressure of ‘we need something mobile now’ and then treating it like an ERP implementation.  Not much thought is given to putting together a coherent strategy and roadmap that is scalable and nimble – that can react to rapidly changing technology and business landscape without causing operational challenges and significant cost implications.

The biggest pet peeve for me is when the singular focus of these initiatives is on ‘mobile only’ without the realization that mobile is now only one facet of customer, employee and other ecosystem engagement for the company.  Other factors often ignored are assessing company process and culture readiness, complexity and cost of change management as well as security.

Creating Islands of mobile Technology is useful but not transformational.Integrating  Mobile  apps  with operational systems is where  where the transformational power lies.

Many of the mobile apps over the years have been done in at department levels, lot of them coming out of marketing and customer management groups – most of the times without the involvement of central IT.   This meant that these apps many times worked off silo databases with little or no interfacing with Enterprise systems, resulting in broken businesses processes, incoherent and confusing customer and employee experience and gaping security holes.  Multiple vendors using multitude of development platforms usually create these apps, adding even more confusion and a maintenance nightmare.

This mobility landscape does provide isolated pockets of benefits but is hardly transformational at an organizational level.  Having the mobile apps integrate with the operational systems will truly mobilize the critical organizational business processes leading in many cases to increased efficiency, productivity and higher ROI – and transforming the organization to be more agile and responsive.

Find the balance between security & user experience  

With increasing threat of cyber-attacks on companies and relative newness of mobile technologies, there is certainly an increased nervousness about access to company information systems from mobile apps – especially for customers and partners. This means increased security requirements for mobile apps, often creating for a complex and clunky user experience. This can result in frustration for users and drive down adoption.

This can have serious competitive consequences for companies.  That’s why it is so critical to find the balance that will allow for a seamless user experience that hides lot of the security complexity while at the same time safeguarding the company’s information assets.

Business processes need to be scrutinized to ensure the process lends itself to technology

With a rush to mobility adoption, we have seen companies mobilize business processes that really don’t provide any productivity and efficiency gains.  On the contrary, they almost always increase employee frustration and produce negative ROI.  That’s why it’s important to analyze these processes on few important factors – profile of the users who drive the business process – what are different types of users and what tasks they do and which of those tasks they can or need to do away from their desks, what data is being collected through the business process execution and what kind of decisions users need to make, what environment the users operate in even if they do perform certain tasks away from their desks and does that environment support use of mobile devices? Doing this kind of critical analysis will help identifying pros and cons of mobilizing the process and establishing true ROI – avoiding a lot of frustration and wasted investments

Develop a strategy for the volatility of operating systems ,tools and hardware in mobility

Mobility technology landscape is constantly evolving.  New devices are introduced every week, new OS versions are released fairly often, and development platforms often come and go like spring rain here in Northeast.  If there is one thing that can doom sustained success of mobile initiatives, it is not having a long-term strategy to manage and adapt to this changing landscape.  At a minimum such strategy should include testing mobile apps for new OS and device releases as well as assessing the tools and platforms for their continued support for newer technical advances.

Mobility is no longer the new kid on the block.  It’s been around for few years and there are many learning’s to be had from mobility initiatives of companies small and big.  It’s wise for anyone who is either embarking on their mobility journey or doing a course correction to pay close attention to these learning’s.

Do you agree with these learning’s?  Does your mobility journey mirror the findings from it?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

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