Enterprise mobility can be a game changer for your business — if you avoid the pitfalls

Companies get a tough deal when IT paradigms change. Mobility is the name of the game, has been so from the past five years, and will continue to be so. Early adopters of enterprise mobility reaped heavy benefits, while some of them realized they’d bit off more than they had teeth for. The latter experience could be yours too — that’s sad, though likely. The waters of enterprise mobility are treacherous. To navigate your organization’s ship through them, you need a lot more than a vendor and in-house consultants. Read this guide; you’ll walk away with key lessons on making your enterprise’s mobility journey safe and successful.

Identify processes that deserve the blessings of mobility

Prioritization — that’s the magic spell that dispels doubts and helps bring things in line. And it works like a charm in helping you speed-track and fail-proof your enterprise mobility efforts.

Invariably, the mobility discussion will take place in the context of an important business application — ERP, BI, CRM, HRMS, etc. Within this boundary, you’re probably looking at a dozen modules and a few hundred processes that make it to the master list of “things” that could go mobile. To drive ROIs, to fulfill business expectations, to make IT the organization’s superstar, you need to prioritize.

Do this by asking business reps which processes they interact with when they’re on the move. Enquire as to which processes directly tie in with revenue generation activities. Check and identify processes where key performance indicators (KPI) are below par because of accessibility issues. Among the shortlisted processes (a few dozens), look for those that offer the best balance of IT efforts and business benefits, and prepare your project plan around this ultra-prioritized list.

Remember the device portfolio

Enterprise Mobility
Flickr / NEC Corp. of America

A major reason why enterprise mobility projects fail is because of IT’s inability to factor in the device portfolio. Companies have two options — provide company-owned mobile devices to employees, or implement a BYOD (bring your own device) program and policy.

This decision is best taken after evaluating two criteria:

Standardization: Consistency of hardware, software, communication protocols, user experience, and user interface designs.

Level of control: Granular control over access rights, availability of apps, and features within them.

The higher your need for standardization and control, the better the “company-owned device” option becomes. Of course, this inflates project costs. At the end of the day, mobility project brains have to balance their need for standardization and control with the costs of procuring and maintaining mobile devices.

If you go the procurement route, make sure you purchase mobile devices that are rugged enough for the environment of target use, use the latest hardware, run the latest software, and easy to repair and refurbish. If you go the BYOD route, work to establish principles for qualifying devices as safe and suitable for the program, for ensuring data security, and for managing activities such as software updates, data clean up, etc.

Enterprise mobility apps: Build or buy?

Mobile apps are the building blocks of the “mobility” experience for enterprise employees. You’ll need to take critical decisions regarding choices between building custom apps versus buying standardized apps.

If you’ve only opted for a limited number of standard workflows to be “mobilized,” canned apps are the obvious and intelligent choice. If your mobility requirements are complex, you’ll need to onboard developers who can create customized apps.

Over a period of time, employees will engage with mobile apps only if the user experience is intuitive and value adding. While working with a team of developers for the initial app deployment, focus hard on getting the UX spot on. If you’re working with a vendor who has canned apps for your requirements, document every aspect of UX development for consistency in subsequent implementations.

Policy framework

enterprise mobility

Interestingly, a very important aspect of successful enterprise mobility is something that doesn’t have anything to do with technology in principle. Guidelines, training, SOPs — everything blends into your company’s mobility policies. This policy helps employees make the most of new devices, programs, tools, and technologies.

Among the many components of a dependable mobility policy are consistent guidelines pertaining to:

  • Ethical use of company-owned mobile devices.
  • Use of social media.
  • Use of chat and SMS.
  • Upkeep of BYOD-tagged devices.
  • Employee responsibility in securing company data on mobile devices

Your mobility policy will need to be backed by strong training programs to help employees understand how they can do their work better by using mobile devices and mobile apps.

Employee productivity and data security

Nobody can deny that enterprise mobility poses unique challenges for companies. Among these, the most pressing ones relate to employee productivity and data security. Thankfully, IT has all kinds of tools to control variables related to employee productivity as well as data security, in conjunction with enterprise apps and mobile devices.

With an advanced mobile device and a super-fast Internet connection, all an employee needs to get lost in the world of online entertainment is a moment of boredom. This behavior could soon begin interfering with an employee’s work, and take thier productivity for a toss. IT can curb such errant behavior by blocking access to specific categories of apps during the tagged employee’s work hours.

Data integrity is best managed via enforcement of strong device use rules. Configuration management is an important aspect here. IT must control the configuration management to remotely manage app updates within the mobile devices. Apart from this, your company will need to enforce rules that govern as to who is able to copy data, download attachments from emails, backup emails, and use external storage media with the device.

Keep your focus

If enterprise mobility is able to deliver on its promise, companies can make employees a lot more productive than ever before. To make sure this happens, understand the crucial elements of successful enterprise mobility, covered in this guide. Maintain control and focus on these aspects of enterprise mobility, and you’ll do all right.

Featured image: Pixabay

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