Mobile is changing the way business gets done today and has proven a game changer in today’s fast-paced, information-driven business climate. But it takes a “mobile-first” strategy to harness its power! This whitepaper excerpt explores why a mobile infrastructure deserves top priority and gives CIOs three winning steps to successfully put mobile first and reap its rewards.
Empowering employees with the tools they need and prefer to accomplish their work in the field or on the road, backed by a rock-solid infrastructure for supporting mobile apps and services, is now considered a competitive edge. Companies that shift to a “mobile first” strategy can improve productivity, customer satisfaction, and time to market, resulting in a dramatic effect on revenue.
Forward-leaning CIOs no longer consider bolting on mobile as an afterthought; they view mobile as a core IT platform along with the Internet, PC, data center systems, and corporate network. They see beyond BYOD and have shifted their view of mobile from tactical and reactionary to strategic and proactive. And they are assembling the infrastructure, processes, and apps required to support it.
These CIOs understand that with a mobile-first strategy transactions can happen at the speed of business anytime, anywhere, with the tools that employees are comfortable using. Department managers don’t need to be in the office to sign purchase orders; it’s done from their iPads in mobile workflows while on the road. Field workers pull up all the documentation and customer history required to do on-site repairs from their smartphones and close out the work order before they leave the location. Salespeople generate contracts and place orders from the client site, improving customer satisfaction and speeding customer delivery.
“Enterprise Mobility has come of age, and that measurable business value accrues to organizations that manage their mobile infrastructure as secure, compliant, and performance-optimized as all other essential IT assets,” says Andrew Borg, Aberdeen Group research director, in his “Group Enterprise Mobility Management 2012” report.
By making mobile a top priority and assembling the platform required to support it, CIOs can improve almost every aspect of the business. Because mobile is moving to a world where every employee has a mobile device connected to the enterprise, CIOs have a tremendous opportunity to leverage mobile to boost revenue, productivity, and collaboration. Now more than ever, enterprises are looking to their IT leaders to develop winning technology strategies, and at the same time CIOs are becoming more intune with the needs of the business units.
According to CIO magazine’s “2013 State of the CIO Survey,” which interviewed 563 IT leaders in September 2012, 63 percent of respondents say they meet more frequently with influential stakeholders. The survey also shows that 20 percent of respondents are viewed as business peers engaged in developing, not just enabling, business strategies, up from 15 percent last year. When it comes to developing mobile strategies, this growing synergy between IT and business is particularly important.
According to the “2012 IDG Enterprise Mobile Survey,” more than 40 percent of the respondents say that executives look to their companies’ IT directors to make mobility decisions. CIOs who listen to users, understand their experiences and preferences, and put their needs first are well poised to create an effective mobile-first environment and will be viewed as strategic partners to the business. These technology leaders know that what enterprises need is so much more than BYOD; they need to move from just connecting mobile devices to enabling the mobility of every aspect of business.
Mobile in mind
Despite the specific requirements of individual organizations, CIOs should keep in mind a few basic tenets of mobile service infrastructures and well-designed mobile apps. These components should:
- Deliver clear benefit and value to the mobile user.
- Protect both the user and the organization’s enterprise data.
- Be highly reliable and responsive.
- Provide visibility for support and service quality.
- Reduce the cost to serve and operate.
Three steps to mobile first
The benefits of deploying a mobile core IT platform are clear: Employees can service customers faster, and CIOs become the providers of an essential service that drives business. But getting to a mobile-first reality poses some challenges and can require new ways of thinking.
It’s important that CIOs understand the why, and then the how. The goal of building mobile as a core IT platform is to enable people to interact with information to make them more productive! There’s a perception that such a goal is simply about security. While it’s true that this approach is about achieving mobile securely, there’s much more.
It’s not just about giving these capabilities to employees; while corporate users will likely be the main beneficiaries of mobile, prospects, customers, and partners will also want to interact with an enterprise in this highly productive and efficient way. And it’s not about a single device type or platform, since diversity in the mobile world is a reality that must be achieved.
Ultimately, it’s about mobilizing business services for employees, prospects, customers, and partners in order to deliver value. CIOs need to determine how to achieve this goal within their own organizations. Here are three phases CIOs should consider in evolving to a mobile platform:
1 – RUN
During this initial phase, CIOs should figure out what mobile means to their company. They should work to establish baseline mobile policies and expertise and deploy a secure management platform. Deploying smartphones and tablets with email, chat, and other collaboration apps will enable key groups within the organization to immediately benefit from instant communication on mobile devices. Once a basic level of mobile competency is achieved, IT departments can build upon it and move on to the next phase to customize the mobile experience for their own organizations.
2 – GROW
In this phase, IT departments begin rolling out mobile apps that are tailored to their workforce, be they industry specific or homegrown. CIOs should be on the lookout for secure, effective, third-party apps that can quickly and inexpensively fill the gaps in their own mobile software portfolios. The idea is to build up a portfolio of applications so that the organization can improve existing areas of business by removing the hurdles of time and distance. In this phase, customer-facing employees are empowered as existing enterprise apps are mobilized and mobile services are extended across the entire enterprise.
Typically organizations will take a portfolio approach of first looking for mobile versions of the enterprise apps already in use, then they will look for new commercial mobile apps that can help teams immediately. Finally, they will assess, plan, and build their own apps. And as the deployment grows, scaling up corresponding support and infrastructure capabilities to cost-effectively and efficiently manage them is also important.
3 – TRANSFORM
With a mobile-first posture, IT can focus on breaking down barriers between apps, workflows, and locations and integrating across them seamlessly yet securely through mobile. Envision a company with a sales force that has no desks because all of the work these employees perform is done in the field. To stay productive, these sales-people need the same tools available to office workers. For example, a salesperson uses his tablet to check email between meetings at a customer site, and receives a message from the customer he is meeting with the next day.
Tomorrow’s customer would like a preview of the slide presentation the salesperson is planning to give. With the right mobile tools, the salesperson can access a secure repository of shared files, pull up the presentation, edit it if needed, and send it to tomorrow’s customer—all without sitting down at a desk. At this stage, CIOs should consider how current workflows can be redesigned to put mobile at the center.
CIOs should also keep in mind that as mobile enables new business processes and employees become dependent upon these workflows, IT needs to put in place systems to monitor, support, and harden them, just as they would any other mission-critical system. This is also a good time to begin exploring how mobile can enable new revenue streams.
Source: CIO.com (registration required to read the full whitepaper)