Mobile technology is redefining the way people access and exchange information. Mobile devices have touched most aspects of our life deeply – both personal and professional. Professionally mobile devices are almost eliminating the need to carry laptops for a lot of users. Smartphones and tablets will completely eliminate the need for a corporate laptop for most users when corporate information and business processes are available on smartphones and tablets. Probably laptops will only be used by software developers in the future!
So while mobility is making the universe more transparent for the consumers the same mobility is weaving a complex web for the enterprises in terms of choice, decisions and investments. Rapid changes in mobile technology have made mobile decisions a moving target.
Previously businesses looked at software investments as long-term investments of at least 5 to 10 years. All of a sudden mobility is redefining the long term, medium term and short term. Mobility is making software investments and choices a continual process. It is evolving continuously and rapidly. Visibility period of 3 years in mobility is a luxury.
In such a scenario businesses cannot relax. The best they can do is to define a mobile strategy and make smarter choices to benefit from mobility. These smarter choices should also make adaptation easy without draining the corporate resources. This brings to the question ‘What is mobile strategy’?
What is Mobile Strategy?
Mobile strategy is not only about which mobile devices to use, which mobile platforms to use or which processes one should mobilize. Mobile strategy is a lot deeper than the platforms and toolsets. Mobile strategy is about the business itself and the people involved in the business. However obvious the role, purpose and benefits of mobile devices seem, it is necessary to identify and quantify them in the context of the enterprise. Most important questions any mobile strategy should answer are:
- What is the role of mobile devices in the company?
- How can the company, customers and employees benefit from mobility?
- What are the various aspects of the business which can benefit from mobility? Are the benefits direct or indirect? Ex: Top line / bottom line benefits or productivity boost or making work lives easier
- Is mobility giving a strategic advantage or is it the only way to access information for the employees/customers?
- How can mobility in conjunction with other technologies transform the business?
- How can mobility make the work life better for the employees?
- What processes and data access do customers and employees require from their mobile devices?
- Should the enterprise support a single type of mobile device of multiple types of mobile devices in terms of the operating system, manufacturer, etc.?
- Should the enterprise support company owned and/or employee-owned mobile devices?
- How can the telecom expenses be managed due to the greater use of mobile devices?
- How can the corporate policy be enforced on the mobile devices, if required?
- How can the corporate data, business processes and intellectual property be protected from unauthorized use?
- How can the corporate data and processes from the best of breed enterprise systems be brought to a bouquet of mobile devices in a scalable and secure manner?
- What technology solutions and toolsets are required to realize the identified benefits and tackle the challenges of mobility?
- What kind of an execution and support structure is required to successfully deploy various aspects of mobility in the enterprise?
- What are the moving parts and fixed parts of mobility in the enterprise?
- Based on the speed of change in mobility what is short term, medium term and long term in mobility?
Once the answers to the above are clear cost structures can be worked out and an execution plan can be put in place. But the 2 most important aspects that need to be kept in mind about mobile strategy are:
- Mobile Strategy should place people and business at the center of the strategy.
- Without people, there is no mobility! Mobile strategy is a continuous process. Evolve and adopt or perish!