In my last few mobile productivity articles, I’ve talked about specific challenges and solutions. This time, we’ll look at mobile productivity from a strategic perspective. Few people still dispute that workplace mobility is both valuable and inevitable for firms that wish to remain competitive. Analysts Frost and Sullivan announced―in 2010―that enterprises were the new catalyst behind the growth of mobile.
However, embracing the concept of mobility is different from implementing a comprehensive mobile strategy. Many companies―especially small and medium businesses (SMBs)―simply avoid the issue altogether. They either operate in near or total lock-down mode (with some employees adopting or expanding the mobile office without management’s consent) or they throw up their hands and treat mobility―and especially BYOD (bring your own device)―like a child that’s run amok. They try to keep it in their sights and bear the expense and fall-out of whatever damage it does.
To end this impasse, companies need a clear mobile strategy, thoughtfully developed and equitably implemented and governed. With such a plan enacted, SMBs can move beyond the distraction of BYOD and other challenges and focus on the real goal of mobility―to drive better business outcomes.
So, what are the pillars of a mobile strategy? They’re surprisingly similar to those we recommend for business IT strategies, overall.
Opportunity Development and Analysis: The first issue you should consider (although it may be the last you finally resolve) is what you hope to gain from a mobile program. What level of risk can you tolerate in order to achieve those goals? How will you quantify the effort and measure its success? What mechanisms will you use to adjust your strategy if it is not successful, and how often will you make adjustments?
Governance: With an idea of what you want to accomplish, you can begin to set the framework for achieving your targets. Governance helps you codify such pivotal concerns as who handles administration and management of the effort, how you will comply with regulatory requirements, if any, and whether (and how) individual department managers can authorize activities, define specialized operating parameters, create department-specific apps, etc.
Platform: Will you standardize on a single mobile device operating system (OS) such as iOS or Android, or do you want workers to have true BYOD flexibility? Supporting multiple-OS devices (and even multiple device types under the same OS) increases management complexity but enhances worker satisfaction.
User Experience: What do you want the user to be able to DO with their mobile devices when operating within the company’s framework? Does your choice of device management platform support users’ expectations? If vendors or customers will be able to access your mobile resources, do you want their experience to be branded?
Security: What data in your organization absolutely cannot end up on user devices, and how will you secure it? How will you secure the information that users CAN access from mobile devices, and how will you handle lost/stolen devices?
At what level will you support BYOD (if at all)? If personal devices will be allowed, will IT want permission to wipe the data if the device is compromised or the worker leaves the firm? How will you handle security training and what will your policy be for workers who break the rules?
As you can see, there are a number of important issues to consider when planning your mobile strategy, and the examples I have given do not cover every aspect of the challenge. Many of these issues may seem unrelated to productivity, when in fact they are essential. If management and workers are operating without a clear strategy and related policies in place, neither companies nor their employees know what to expect from mobile working. That uncertainty will stifle enthusiasm and productivity growth, hamper adoption, and cause staff to be uncomfortable with the entire effort. To learn how DynaSis can help you develop a mobile strategy that works for your firm, give me a call.