Enterprise Mobility? Answer These 5 Most Important Questions for a Successful Rollout
Enterprise Mobility is delivering a variety of business benefits to organizations across sectors, especially those with a distributed workforce, such as financial services, logistics, pharma, infrastructure and more.
For an enterprise to adopt mobility, some of the key drivers could be
- Operational efficiency
- Mobility is intrinsic if yours is a ‘mobile first’ business, such as a food delivery app
- Competitive edge
- Customer experience
- Cost benefits
An enterprise mobility initiative can succeed and deliver these, or can turn into a failed project, with time and money lost, and systems rejected by users.
How can you ensure that your enterprise mobility initiative is successful – delivering ROI and making users happy? I believe you can start right by focusing on 5 key decisions that you need to take.
1. What business processes will ‘go mobile’?
Enterprise systems such as CRM, HRMS, ERP etc can be large and complex. You need to decide which workflows out of these should be enabled on mobile devices. Which are the workflows that need to be used by colleagues on the go? What can be conveniently conducted on a mobile device? For example, you don’t want the entire HRMS, but you do want a leave application and approval workflow. You don’t expect users to view huge spreadsheets and reports, but you could give them a dashboard that provides a snapshot and is easily viewed on mobiles.
Your decision about what workflows will be used on mobile devices will drive the entire initiative, so it needs to be considered carefully.
2. How do I select the right device?
When it comes to devices, organizations either provide company owned devices to users, or adopt an employee owned ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policy.
Company owned vs BYOD is one decision that you need to take and will depend on the extent of standardization that you are looking for, and also the extent of control you want on the apps etc. You can refer to this resource: ‘BYOD Guidelines: A practical guide for implementing a successful BYOD Management program in an organization of any size’ for detailed information on this subject.
If you decide to provide company owned devices and are procuring them, it’s very important not to keep low cost as the prime consideration. We’ve seen a number of enterprise mobility initiatives run into trouble because of wrong decisions made while selecting devices – with cost being the prime consideration and essential features overlooked.
- Environment: What is the environment in which the devices will be used? If mainly outdoor and in harsh climate such as high temperatures, dust, moisture etc, the device needs to be sufficiently rugged.
- Battery life: If the device will be used by field staff who don’t have access to charging points over long hours the battery life has to be budgeted accordingly.
- Features such as cameras, GPS etc: What features are required for your workflows and apps? The devices need to have those and with the right specs.
- System resources: The device system resources should be sufficient so that it will work reasonably fast and perform well with your apps loaded, else users will get annoyed and may even reject the system completely.
3. Which are the right apps for our work?
You have a choice to ‘build or buy’ the apps you need. A number of industry specific enterprise mobility apps are available and you could opt for these for standard workflows. Of course, if your needs are very specific you may want to have apps developed especially for your enterprise. While functionality and features are very important, do pay careful attention to the UX of all apps, as good UX is essential for the apps to be convenient for mobile users.
4. Which is the right connectivity plan for our enterprise?
You have a choice between a number of mobile carriers and their different plans. You need to analyze your usage, for example, how much of calling and how much data transfer is estimated to be needed for mobile users, then find a plan that suits you the best.
As the quality of service of mobile carriers is different in different geographies, it is usually not advisable to enforce a single carrier across regions.
5. How do we ensure data security and employee productivity?
Enterprise mobility needs to be managed properly. There need to be clear policies defined and enforced, to ensure data security, user privacy, compliance with regulations, control of support issues, and prevention of distractions that hamper productivity.
As mobile devices are an integral part of corporate infrastructure and carry sensitive data, you need to ensure user authentication and threat protection. Whether it is a passcode policy, encryption or threat management against malware or virus, the IT department should be able to define best practices and enforce those.
Consistent configurations are very important, and users may not know how to configure the device or apps, install updates etc. So you should be able to configure remotely. A number of decisions are taken, such as, what are the features that should be available and should the user be able to copy data to or from the mobile device to other devices or computers.
Users have access to corporate email on their mobile devices, and there is a need to protect data and prevent fraud through email management. You need to define who can access emails on the mobile devices, download attachments, backup email data or send emails to personal email Ids.
To enhance productivity by ensuring that devices are used for intended applications and not causing distraction, you may want to ‘lock down’ non-work related applications, or enforce conditional policies such as lock down during office hours.
Carefully considering these 5 questions will help you to ensure that enterprise mobility really delivers on its promise to your organization. We will be sharing more knowledge resources over the next few weeks as to how to manage each of these 5 aspects effectively.