How mobile do you think you are?

Barry Cutts

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Achieving true enterprise mobility means more than simply getting to grips with devices and systems. It’s a culture commitment. It’s less about what you do and more about your vision.

An increasing emphasis on business mobility within the world of tech has seen enterprise embrace devices and software that enable them to adopt more agile processes, enable their employees to work remotely and access information from anywhere and at any time.

According to Appian “more than 90 per cent of IT decision makers see enterprise mobility as the critical function for customer engagement, competitiveness, and operational productivity in 2016”. Equally, nearly three in four respondents to the survey say their companies plan to mobilise the entire organisation.

But coming up with a mobile strategy means more than simply arming workers with tablets; it requires a considered foundational strategy. How will mobility change the company’s relationships with its customers? How will it impact the workforce? More fundamentally, what are you seeking to achieve? It might be that you want to deliver greater productivity, or instead be more geared towards gaining a competitive advantage by boosting innovation and performance levels?

Put more simply: how can you and your organisation embrace the mobility opportunity beyond just convenient communications? Three considerations will help in this process:

Mobile device or mobile person?

A Gartner report on enterprise mobility contextualised the issue: “Mobile strategies must focus on the mobile person with computing everywhere around them.” With this in mind, an effective mobile strategy should be about defining how an organisation’s people can deliver better outcomes to customers.

In the homecare sector, for example, this customer-centric approach has led to considerable improvements in terms of productivity by enabling care workers to reduce travel time and complete case notes and reports on the move, with no need for them to return to the office between visits.

In any business dependant on field workers, or service engineers, connecting to core company systems, key customer data, or vital other information when faced with logistical challenges is a critical time-saver and an invaluable productivity tool.

What your customers want

Clearly define your desired outcomes, and more importantly your customers’ desired outcomes – as well as the the driving forces that generate them – before commencing your mobility strategy as this will help you to make better choices.

Hardware selection is important here but so too is enterprise application development. Organisations that go to market with enchanting, intuitive and exciting consumer-facing apps occasionally relegate their own internal processes to second league priority.

In the financial services industry, for example, merely having access to data when and where it is needed is only part of the story. An equally important part is how the data is viewed and presented, particularly if advisers, brokers and other consultants are to be able to deliver compelling propositions to their customers. Applications have to be easy to use and easy to understand.

Frontline and functional considerations

When it comes to device choice, size governs practical use. Smartphones are sleek and eminently functional, but are they truly fit for purpose as a work tool? Tablets offer more user interaction and are increasingly employed in field and retail situations – making co-browsing between store associates and customers, for example, an engaging element in efforts to constantly improve the customer journey.

With tablets, battery life is a notable consideration when trying to ensure that staff are always ‘on’ while on the move. Some devices on the market have up to 18 hours’ battery life and can be hand-held or self-standing; considerations that are often high on the agenda for frontline use.

Physical specifications also make a difference when looking at laptops – it might offer a clearer, crisper, bigger display and more conducive working functionality, but big is only beautiful if it is genuinely portable. A laptop that only weighs a couple of kilograms is light enough for any road warrior.

A carefully defined mobile strategy is essential; you don’t want to be doing this just because you can. You’re doing this because it better allows you to create that moment of perfect convergence between what can you offer your customers and what they want, when they want it.

Your mobile strategy should balance both the technological and the physical needs of the mobile worker, with application support that truly enables the individual, differentiates the enterprise and delights your customers. Mobility is shaping enterprise – just as long as the enterprise knows where it wants to go next.

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