Big Business, Small Business: If You Don’t Have a Mobile Strategy, You’re Falling Behind

Big Business, Small Business: If You Don’t Have a Mobile Strategy, You’re Falling Behind

When speaking of mobility, Former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt said it best:

“Mobile is so important; put your best people on mobile. If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you are no longer relevant.”

It’s easy to see that mobility is the future, with the smartphone audience expected to grow to 1.75 billion this year, up from 1 billion in 2012 and app usage posting a 115% year-over-year increase according to statistics from app analytics firm Flurry. Consumers are more connected than ever, demanding quicker, more personalised experiences from the businesses with which they interact.

This consumer adoption of mobile technology has spilled over into the corporate world, with employees requiring the latest and greatest mobile technology to work anytime, anywhere.

As more employees required a way to work outside of the office while still retaining a constant access to secure corporate data, a shift in business practices occurred, leading to the emergence of the term Enterprise Mobility.

Indeed, the uptake of enterprise mobility within businesses has grown at an unbelievable rate, with 71% of enterprises placing mobility as a top priority according to cloud solutions company Citrix. Many businesses are also looking towards increasing IT expenditure on mobility, with spending expected to increase from the present 5% to 10-12% of the total IT expenditure by 2020 (Nasscom).  It’s safe to say that mobility in the enterprise is no longer a nice to have, but a must have.

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The Evolution Of Enterprise Mobility

While the adoption of Enterprise Mobility is certainly on the rise, many businesses are still sceptical of the value of mobility beyond giving staff a way to communicate with each other.

Small businesses may view enterprise mobility as irrelevant, perceiving it as something reserved for the big guys with IT departments. The fact is enterprise mobility has come a long way since its humble beginnings, providing benefits for companies of all sizes.

Good Technology A/NZ vice-president and general manager Gavin Jones reflected on the evolution of Enterprise Mobility in an article for ARN, stating that “in 2009, enterprise mobility was email on a device such as Blackberry,” but “in 2013, we saw the billionth Android activation, tablets outselling PCs, and 75% of people saying they use a personal device at work”.

The following infographic by iPhone app developer [X]Cube Labs, outlines the reasons enterprises have been adopting mobility as well as the areas in which mobility has been providing immediate benefits:

Benefits Of Enterprise Mobility

View the full infographic here.

As seen in the statistics in this infographic, the greatest incentive for enterprises to adopt mobility was the potential cost savings to be gained followed by the perceived positive impact it would have on employee productivity.

Companies that adopted mobility saw the biggest gains in operational efficiency and cost-reduction as well as increasing productivity and sales. While there were companies who stated that they didn’t know where mobility was providing immediate benefits, overall these statistics show how enterprise mobility has become a critical factor of success for every business regardless of its size, nature, and purpose.

As stated by Ken Dulaney, vice president at Gartner:

“Mobility has always been a separate topic for IT professionals, but it is now influencing mainstream strategies and tactics in the wider areas of technology enablement and enterprise architectures”.

Using Mobile Technology Is No Longer Enough: The Case For A Strategic Approach To Enterprise Mobility

While enterprise mobility is most likely already present within your company, with more businesses of all sizes taking advantage of mobile technology, the need for a more focused, strategic approach becomes essential to remaining competitive.

Enterprise Mobility - Mobile StrategyWith the speed at which mobile technology is evolving, it’s imperative that companies keep up in order to innovate and stay relevant to consumers. Mobility has an incredible potential to impact critical business choices, which means that developing a strategy to determine how you can use this technology to maximize the benefits of mobile technology is crucial.

Between keeping up with the stream of acronyms related to enterprise mobility (e.g. TEM, MDM, MIM, MEAP, MAM), securing corporate data, managing how employees use their devices and ensuring you have the infrastructure to support these mobile devices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and to lose sight of how mobility can be integrated into other business functions such as marketing or sales to help move the company forward.

By developing a strategy, you ensure that mobility works for your company. Creating a strategy helps manage costs related to mobility, better aligns your business goals and processes and makes more efficient use of your resources, which ultimately allows you to fully support your employees and your customers.

How To Get Started With An Enterprise Mobility Strategy

A mobile strategy is a framework that encompasses business, technology projects, people and processes into one unified sphere. It aligns mobility efforts with business goals, lays out a roadmap for its successful implementation, enables achieving near and long-term goals, provides policies and best practices for governance and helps in accurately measuring its success.

As you can see, developing an enterprise mobility strategy will be a very involving process and it can be difficult to know where to start.

To set you on the path towards developing a successful mobile strategy, here are 4 things to consider to kickstart the process:

Enterprise Mobility - Mobile Strategy 

Mobility does not exist in a vacuum. Implementing mobility just to say you have it is a wasted opportunity, as it should contribute towards the achievement of the business’ overall objectives. By looking into your business practices and needs, you can then formulate an idea of how mobile technology can be used to push the company towards achieving these goals.

You will need to determine the role mobility will play throughout the business. A good place to start is by outlining the ways different roles across the business currently use and/ or want to use mobility and what how it will be used in the future.

Enterprise Mobility - Mobile Strategy Device Management

Whether you’re in charge of 20 devices or thousands of devices, it’s critical that you are able to account for each device and the associated user as well as provide support to your end users.

Policies, rules and control are all well and good, but you must be able to implement these without impacting usability and employee privacy.

Effective Governance of Mobile Devices Include:

  • Policies that outline how employees use business networks and data.
  • Resources and tools required to support end users. Will you use your internal IT team or outsource to handle the daily management of devices?
  • Resources and tools required to provision devices with proper access to corporate data (i.e. emails).
  • Resources and tools required to ensure voice and data costs are kept in check (if plans are provided by the business) and to manage procuring and assigning devices.

Enterprise Mobility - Mobile Strategy Securing corporate data

Ensuring that both mobile devices and corporate data are protected should be at the top of the enterprise mobility priority list.

Security Considerations:

  • Does your IT security model take into account mobile devices and their content?
  • What content will employees need to access, how will they access it and how can it be kept secure on their devices?
  • Policies will need to be created to communicate access and usage of corporate data to users, particularly in a BYOD environment.
  • The resources and tools needed to enforce compliance with IT policies (e.g. Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform).
  • To manage the applications available for download, is an internal enterprise app store required?

Enterprise Mobility - Mobile Strategy

It is essential that mobility and any tools used to support it integrate as seamlessly as possible into your existing system infrastructure to ensure you are maximising the benefits of enterprise mobility.

Things to consider:

  • How will management tools such as an Asset Register, Mobile Device Management and Telecom Expense Management platforms be implemented?
  • How will mobile applications work with your back-end systems i.e. will they pass data through correctly out of the box or will you need to integrate them?
  • Ensure you take advantage of your existing investments and tie mobile applications to them as much as possible.

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