Enterprise mobility and secure mobile working are top of the agenda for many organisations. Anytime, anywhere access, less travel, better collaboration and greater productivity are just a few of the benefits. A sense of empowerment, boosted morale, and even an uplift in customer service levels are some of the less obvious gains.
It’s interesting that many of the conversations that I have with our customers start with the technology. The primary concerns are how will they secure data and identities, and how they will manage, track and control devices. But this for me, is getting a bit ahead of ourselves.
It assumes that the mobile working project will be a success, staff will use the devices, the applications will work and the new mobile culture will thrive - which often isn’t the case.
Here are three key things to consider when planning a mobile working or enterprise mobility project:
#1 – Provide device choice
Forcing staff to use a platform that they’re not familiar with, for example Android when they’re an iOS user, will at best leave some staff dissatisfied and not using the platforms to their fullest. And at worst it will cause the project to fail.
In my experience, the best mobility projects provide a range of devices to choose from, at least iOS and Android.
#2 – Make apps mobile-friendly
Email, calendar and address lists need to be available on mobile devices using familiar applications. Typically, either Office or native clients.
Proprietary and difficult to use clients used by some Mobile Device Management (MDM) technologies can often be a source of dissatisfaction amongst users.
Ideally, mobile versions of Line of Business applications should be provided, this is where the real gains are.
Applications should have an ‘offline mode’ that allows data to be entered when offline and then synchronised when online, due to the patchy mobile data coverage in the UK.
Make sure you involve users in the mobile app design process so that the app reflects how they need to work. This will result in much higher levels of satisfaction.
#3 - Consider culture change
Existing culture and reluctance to change working practices can often cause a mobility project to fail.
This can be managers feeling like they’re losing control, or, conversely staff resisting change.
Starting to affect positive change to cultures early on is key. New forums will be required for collaboration and management amongst, what will inevitably become, more disparate teams.
Self-help resources and staff enablement training are crucial.
The best technology in the world will be useless if no one knows about it, knows how to use it, or wants to use it.
Get the approaches to these things right and you’ll have a decent set of requirements to start looking at the technologies, and be well on your way to a successful project.