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What is the reality of enterprise mobility for an organisation today?

By David Barclay, National Practice Manager, Data#3

A 2013 IDC white paper[1] reported that 74% of Australian companies are planning to re-engineer business processes, workflows and roles to leverage mobility, and an Accenture report of a CIO mobility survey[2] reveals that one-third of the IT executives surveyed cited mobility as one of their top-two priorities, but 75% put it in their top five.

These figures support the growing recognition of the critical value and competitive advantage a mobility strategy can bring in terms of cost savings, agility and responsiveness.

However these outcomes don’t come from simply providing email and Internet access to existing services on mobile devices, and providing point solutions to meet initial mobility demands has left many organisations with a set of technology ‘dead ends’.

To recognise the potential benefits of mobility, and determine how to achieve them, enterprises need a holistic mobility vision and strategy. Enterprise mobility is no longer just about mobile device management and select applications such as email and CRM. It‘s now about mobilising your entire workplace and delivering it anywhere, any time, on any device – even those legacy applications that have been rusted onto your organisation for years.

This view of mobility requires different thinking and a well-developed, coherent strategy that allows you to evolve your mobility capabilities over time.

So where do you start?

Go for some quick wins

While it’s important to develop a holistic and potentially long term strategy, don’t think you can’t drive some quick wins up front.

Consider some of your most used business applications – can you provide mobile access to them through an application portal? Users accessing multiple systems from a range of locations – can you support them with single sign-on?

Involve multiple business functions

For the larger program of work, enterprise mobility is not a task for IT alone. It’s a whole of business proposition, and your strategy is best developed following heavy consultation with representatives from business functions including Sales, Operations, Finance, HR, IT and others.

Review applications and data sets

A starting point might be to systematically evaluate every application and data set currently supported and note its:

  • Strategic value to the organisation – does it directly support revenue generation? Is it a high cost item that would deliver rapid ROI through being either mobility-enabled or replaced?
  • Mobility readiness – a basic “good/neutral/bad” triage can be sufficient for a first pass.

The intersection of high value, good mobile readiness applications and data sets gives you an idea of the first priority of applications for ‘anywhere workplace’ delivery, and the high value choices should be the focus of a second priority delivery strategy.

Define user roles and responsibilities

Next look at user roles and responsibilities, and tabulate what applications they currently use, from what device, and what processes could benefit from mobilisation. Don’t rush to solutions, just note where there is a possibility for quick wins.

Most organisations with roaming sales forces have already garnered efficiencies from cloud-based applications so there may not be any immediate benefit there, but for other ‘in the field’ roles, mobility should be a no brainer.

For example, facilities management companies are rolling out mobility solutions so that tradespeople and inspectors can update building management information on the fly, including uploading photos. That’s a huge efficiency leap over paper-based forms whose data must later be entered into the asset management database manually. Maintainers of utility networks (gas, electricity and telephony) are making similar gains.

Armed with this information, you can start making informed choices to guide your strategy:

  • Choices about which users and applications to transition first
  • Choices about how to mobility-enable applications – can you use internal resources and build a mobile front-end to a legacy app, or can it be delivered via virtualisation?
    • Choices about what devices to support, and who should own them.

In all, the choices you need to systematically and effectively deliver ‘The Anywhere Workplace’.

When it comes to implementation, there are many vendor solutions, each of which approaches mobility from a slightly different angle. Each of them valid – but suited to specific environments.

The role of a systems integrator partner, such as Data#3, in considering the most appropriate vendor solutions is critically important. Our experience helping organisations define their mobility strategy, and our ability to bring multiple vendor offerings together to form a cohesive solution, will significantly reduce the time to ROI.

Future articles in this series take a closer look at how to approach implementing your enterprise mobility strategy, including how best to handle four major challenges.


[1] C. R. Anderson and I. Song (eds), Embracing Enterprise Mobility in Asia/Pacific: How Ready is Your Organisation?, IDC, Framingham, August 2013.

[2] Accenture. 2013. Always On. Always Connected. Keeping Up With Mobility. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-CIO-2013-Mobility-Survey.pdf

Tags: Data Security, Mobility, Security, The Anywhere Workplace

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