A recently published survey of over 400 global executives reveals that:
» 73% agree that Mobility will impact their businesses as much as or more than the web did in the 1990s.
» One-third of the participating executives cited mobility as one of their top two priorities, while 75% put it among their top five.
» 59% say that their company has implemented a centralized company-wide strategy, while 58% say that their mobile strategy is moderately developed.
Mobility has become very big. It has transformed how businesses interact with customers and is now disrupting the way people, processes and the technology infrastructure interact within the ecosystem. What is really compelling though, is the speed and scale at which mobility is being adopted and its emergence as a key strategic initiative. Businesses, at whichever adoption stage they are at, know that there is massive potential with mobility ready to exploit. But, they need a clear mobile strategy that can provide solutions that best fit their needs and that can help them realize their business goals, transforming them into a lean, agile and innovative digital enterprise.
In this blog post, we discuss the need, key elements and major challenges in designing and implementing a long-term, sustainable mobile strategy.
What is an enterprise mobile strategy?
An Enterprise Mobile Strategy is a framework that encompasses business, technology, projects, people and processes into one unified sphere. It integrates mobility as a technology with the rest of the ecosystem to allow organizations to define and practice its mobile engagement. A mobile strategy aligns mobility efforts with business goals, lays out a roadmap for its successful implementation, enables achieving near and long-term goals, provides policies and best practices for governance and helps in accurately measuring its success. Moreover, it also gives you flexibility to tap future technological advancements and adjust your strategy in accordance with the shifts in the business environment.
The need for an enterprise-wide mobile strategy…
As per a survey by Netcentric strategies LLC, around 92% of participants find developing an enterprise wide mobility strategy very challenging to somewhat challenging. Why is this so? Most organizations consider mobility solutions as an extension of their IT infrastructure. Moreover, we also see many adopting a need-basis approach rather than a holistic approach with a well-defined strategy. The lack of an enterprise-wide mobile strategy, ultimately, limits their ability to realize the full potential from their investments in mobile devices and apps. Lack of a robust mobility strategy can lead to poor adoption rates, lower engagement, higher hidden costs and failure to achieve a desirable ROI. Whereas, creating and executing a mobile strategy offers numerous benefits, such as:
- Leveraging your existing enterprise technology like ERP, CRM, etc., and integrating the existing IT infrastructure to derive optimum results
- Improving adoption rates by focusing on user-centricity Enabling enterprise-wide adoption–connecting people, products and processes
- Maximizing productivity by speeding up responsiveness to employee needs and process requirements
- Making the organization more agile and responsive to customer needs and, thereby, boosting brand perception
- Maximizing results and returns from investments on mobility solutions by widening its scope and coverage
- Allowing businesses to create sustainable and clear policies for mobile engagement
- Bringing dexterity into the ecosystem to absorb dynamic shifts in the business environment
Enterprise Mobility Adoption Stages
The need for an enterprise mobile strategy is required when businesses transition from stage 2 to stage 3.
Key aspects of an mobile strategy…
The process of creating a holistic mobility strategy for your business will involve five key aspects: Objectives, Users, Technology, Governance and Measurement.
- Objectives: It is important to define from the very beginning the objectives, both short-term and long-term, for adopting mobility in your enterprise. Every objective should be laid out in as much detail as possible. Some of the popular objectives behind adopting mobility are boosting productivity, reducing response-time, faster resolution to customer complaints and cost-efficiency, etc.
- Users: Businesses need to identify the target groups for mobility implementation. Who are your users? Customers or employees? What are their expectations? What are their training requirements? How will you integrate mobile technology with your existing processes to meet the expectations of the target group?
- Technology: The trickiest part to enabling mobility is to select appropriate and accurate technology architecture. The challenge is to create a technology plan that not only serves your present requirements but that will also potentially evolve for tomorrow. What is your device policy? What about your UX/UI design policies? What are your backend requirements? How can your existing technology be leveraged? And most importantly, how do you robustly secure the newly built system?
- Governance: The governance or management policy can be the difference between a failed and a successful mobile implementation. Therefore, it is important to clearly spell out the management policies and procedures, ranging from devices to application building and usage rules, to be followed in the new mobile regime. Which devices will be allowed? How will access to sensitive data will be controlled and monitored? What is your app development approach?
- Measurement: A good strategy should provide you with the right tools and metrics to evaluate or assess its deliverables. How much money have you been able to save after your mobile initiative? Which channels are adding to profits? What is the customer satisfaction level? How much additional work-time your employees are getting?
Each aspect when considered separately will require you to answer many questions. Each answer will inform the next step towards a holistic mobile strategy.
Steps towards a mobile strategy…
- Define business goals. State the purpose of enabling mobility in your enterprise. What are your high-priority business goals? What type of apps will help you reach those goals? Look outside as well as within your organization to identify opportunities for mobile.
- Prepare mobility roadmap. Once you have a set of business goals that you wish to achieve through mobility, the next step is to find desired mobile devices and apps that will help you reach those goals. For each mobile solution, you need to build a case summary that lists key benefits, functions, target users and target beneficiaries, etc. Prioritizing these mobile solutions based on your set business goals will evolve into a mobility roadmap.
- Do user workflow analysis. Any mobility solution will replace an existing workflow process. Therefore, it is important to do a comprehensive analysis of the existing process before it is mobilized. This will not only help you improve the existing process but will also help you measure the impact of mobilizing the particular process and justify the costs.
|Key Questions to Answer|
|Mobile Platform/Device/OS selection||MDM or MEAP? Smartphones or Tablets? Company sponsored or BYOD? iOS or Android or BlackBerry or All?|
|System Integration||How will mobile apps overlap or be distinct from existing channels? How will it connect with the back-end?|
|Mobile App Development||Full client, rich client or thin client? In-house or outsourced development? Native, HTML5 or Hybrid? UI and UX specifications, etc.|
|Security Policy||What are your policies and procedures for securing mobile applications, user authentication, data protection and server applications?|
|Supported Devices||What are your supported devices? Can you create a charter for handling supported devices and future devices?|
|Wireless Connectivity||Do you have access to steady, high-speed connectivity for all users and security for your wireless networks?|
- Prepare a technology blueprint. Designing a technology blueprint has several facets, including deciding on a mobile platform, OS and device selection, device procurement strategy–company sponsored or BYOD,–core mobility architecture, mobile app development strategy, security policy, app and device management strategy and wireless connectivity requirements, etc.
- Set out a budget for mobility. Many organizations make the mistake of combining a mobile budget with IT, which often results in confusion and at times pushes mobile investments down the priority ladder. You need to create a separate budget for your mobility efforts. What are you planning to invest today, in the next six months and in the next few years? Breaking up the budget for processes, departments, etc., will enable you to build an accurate ROI model.
- Draw an implementation roadmap. The mobile implementation roadmap will allow you to assess the current state of mobility in the organization, to compare it against the business goals, and to set up the timeframe and work process to realize it. Since an implementation roadmap requires the identification of risks and dependencies and the entry and exit criteria of each mobile project to be well defined, it can help you to monitor and manage each project effectively to achieve the overall strategic goals on time.
- Build a mobile center of excellence. Mobility serves the requirements of various stakeholders of the system. To accomplish this, build a Mobile Center of Excellence with people from diverse domains and expertise to unify and centralize the many voices. . The MCOE will institutionalize best practices for mobility, bring consistency into the integration process, define policy and procedures for use and access of mobile solutions and look for opportunities for further adoption of mobile initiatives, etc.
- Do test deployment. Pick a particular process or mobile opportunity to test your mobility plan. Implement it and see how it turns out. Analyze and document the deployment to understand success and failure points. Fine-tune your mobile strategy based on the test deployment experiences. Then,expand it to an organization-wide rollout.
- Monitor, evaluate and review. It is important to constantly monitor and assess your strategy based on the feedback collected from various sources. Any deviation has to be immediately corrected. There should be a calendar for the review process for each element of your mobile environment.
“For businesses which are exploring mobility for the first time with their employees, start by “building something which may not be mission critical, but is fun.” For example, providing employees with an app that allows them to order food from the cafeteria.”
Cimarron Buser, VP of Business Development at Apperian
“The focus for businesses should be on questions such as whether the apps will be for internal or external use, and what platforms they’ll be using it on. “Remember that when you’re building an app, people will actually have to use it,”
Ken Daniels, Senior Director for Strategic Alliances in Enterprise Mobility at Samsung
“Whatever mobile apps the organization chooses to build for its employees or customers, it’s crucial to make the apps easy to use. Most people are already trained to use their mobile devices for consumer apps which have a high ease of use and they “expect their enterprise apps to be on par.”
Prat Vemana, Director of the Velocity Lab and Global Mobile Strategy at Staples
Our recommendations for a successful enterprise mobile strategy
- Draw a vision. Involve all stakeholders to draw a vision behind the mobile adoption. Determine the scope, allocate resources and establish policies to govern it.
- Lay down the technology blueprint. Clearly spell out the policies on device management, app development, system integration, security and compliance. Communicate the blueprint with others.
- Keep users at the centre of your strategy. The success or failure of your mobile efforts depends on your users. Their need and expectations must be met. You must provide them with a rich experience. A Center of Excellence will help you meet the requirements of users.
- Get ready for the change. You are not only adopting a technology but also a practice. There will be resistance to change. You need to pick a bunch of people who will act as trendsetters and involve them at a very early stage. Communicate and co-ordinate your efforts, sharing initial success with others to help motivate them.
- Monitor to evolve. Creating a mobile strategy and implementing it is just the beginning. Monitor, evaluate and review to measure its performance. Revise in response to failures. Then, repeat it.
Mobility is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity for business. Implementing mobility in an enterprise involves substantial upfront investments and efforts. Given the amount of money and efforts involved, it makes perfect sense to optimize the deliverables and results through enterprise-mobility solutions to maximize ROI. A robust enterprise mobile strategy can help you achieve just that by engulfing and integrating processes, functions and people. Moreover, it also provides you with a long-term strategic vision and brings flexibility into your mobile efforts to manage any shifts in the business environment. In the words of Eric Schmidt, Former CEO and current Executive Chairman, Google, “Mobile is so important; put your best people on mobile. If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you are no longer relevant.” We couldn’t agree more.
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