Maturity in enterprise mobility
Enterprise mobility has evolved. Initially, as smartphones entered the marketplace, businesses modified their websites to facilitate viewing on smaller screens. The introduction of the Apple app store offered more opportunities for interaction by allowing consumers to download a company's apps. For the most part though, these apps were simply reiterations of the website data and didn't give viewers any added options, and the sheer volume of them overwhelmed many consumers who retreated to the online website instead.
Next came dynamic self-service apps that enabled customers to have more control over what they could do within the app. Businesses were quick to incorporate these features to their specific sector, and the services added proved to be a boon for consumers. Insurance company apps, for instance, permitted customers to immediately upload images and data about car accidents or other insurance-related concerns to preserve the information and launch the claim.
While these developments have enabled both businesses and their customers to enjoy easier and faster digital communications, the emerging technologies of artificial intelligence and the Internet of things (IoT) promise mobile activity that has been unavailable until now.
The rising "intelligent app" universe leverages these innovative technologies to provide users with context-driven recommendations. For example, apps such as Google Now and Siri already recommend to their users better transportation routes based on current data such as traffic patterns or airline availability. Health apps now capture data from a variety of devices as varied as pacemakers and fitness bracelets and share it directly with health care providers. Many companies are just now seeing the value these intelligent apps might offer to their enterprise and their customers.
Why create an enterprise mobile strategy?
While many companies have implemented internal digital systems for their operations, most of those are not mobile optimized yet. However, in many cases, restricting employee functioning to a desktop unit reduces the opportunity to maximize their efficiency. Ergo, many enterprises are now interested in mobilizing their operations systems to improve the productivity of their workers. The introduction of industry-specific apps and "line of business" apps can give both employees and consumers quicker, more efficient access to the back-end systems.
Research indicates that investments in mobile technologies offer a significantly higher ROI value than investments in other areas. A study by VMWare reported that overall IT operational costs were reduced by as much as 29 percent, and total management costs dropped by 20 percent after implementation of the mobile strategy.
There are many benefits gained from creating an enterprise mobile strategy, including:
- An empowered, more efficient and effective workforce
- Improved communication across all stakeholders
- Increased data security across all devices
- Better customer service through quicker issue resolution
- Improved and standardized branding across various devices and apps
- A quicker decision cycle through real-time analytics
- Streamlined and reduced operational costs
- A more competitive position within the industry
- Increased revenue and profitability
How to create an enterprise mobile strategy
So how do you go about creating an enterprise mobility strategy? The planning around the strategy requires buy-in and commitment from the C-Suite. It begins with focus on how the business goals and objectives could translate into mobile solutions that help improve business productivity and increase revenue. Companies considering an enterprise mobile strategy should contemplate the following steps as they launch that initiative.
Step 1: Understand goals and drivers
The first step in developing a plan is to evaluate corporate vision, business goals and objectives and how they would drive the mobility goals for the organization. Additionally, the innovation goals and transformational drivers of the organization should influence the mobility objectives.
Step 2: Perform competitive & industry assessment
Assessing both the competition and the industry will provide data about potential opportunities. Data collected about competitor activities can suggest how businesses are improving customer service through mobility. Additionally, performing an industry (including other industries) assessment will help identify new and innovative opportunities to define creative solutions.
Step 3: Identify use cases for mobilization
Now is the time to identify and analyze various use cases across the core lines of businesses as well as across functional areas that could potentially be mobilized. For instance, a healthcare organization may have multiple use cases that might be improved through mobilization.
Similarly, you can identify the use cases that are specific to your business that could potentially be mobilized. Having targeted mobility discussions with various departments within your organization can uncover new solution ideas.
Step 4: Evaluate & prioritize the use cases
Mobilizing each opportunity will have a distinct impact on the company; balancing its potential benefit with the cost of developing and implementing the corresponding app will suggest where it lies in the priority list. Some use cases will help the entire organization immediately while others will facilitate improved service only for a particular department. Identifying those quick-wins can help show early success for the mobile initiatives.
Step 5: Identify IT needs & create a mobility framework
Before creating a roadmap, the next step is to create a mobility framework that would help the IT team standardize the infrastructure. Based on the organization's BYOD policy, security policies, IT roadmap, IT/business constraints, etc. define a mobility framework that would be implemented as a standard blueprint across the entire organization.
Step 6: Finalize technology stack
This step is where you evaluate technology vendors that can provide the required capabilities for building the mobility framework. Below is a sample list of parameters on which the technology vendors can be evaluated. The list needs to be customized specific to your business needs and used for evaluation.
Step 7: Define roadmap and implementation strategy
Now that all the aspects of the strategy have been defined, it's time to create the roadmap and execution plan. Identify a timeline that would accommodate the priorities, departmental needs, deadlines, etc. Then create KPIs and a governance structure around how the projects shall be executed. Create a budget, get needed approvals and allocate resources. Budget constraints can often slow the process, making it even more imperative to follow the prioritization order.
Step 8: Develop and deploy apps
The development of every app follows a standard path: planning > designing > development > testing > launch. After launch, data collected through these functions will guide future business decision making. Some companies develop several apps at one time; others sequence them to capture best practices as they go along.
Step 9: Support & enhance apps for future needs
After launch, be prepared to fix any issues and enhance the functionalities to maintain the app's attractiveness to its intended audience. Updates should address evolving OS standards, as well as both consumer and industry developments. Track analytics within the app as it helps generate data for improved usage insights. The gathered information will both suggest and prove why future IT and mobility investments are warranted.