In Part I we looked at the disadvantages of having employees leverage readily available “productivity” apps from their device marketplaces. This coupled with the app’s isolated stores of data will end up costing organizations time and money. As an organization you can deter this by proactively developing a plan for mobility, communicating that with the organization, and then putting it into action.
Developing a plan can sometimes be a stumbling block to beginning. I have put together this 5 W’s outline to help you with your planning. The 5 W’s is just Who, What, When, Where, and Why. The 5 W’s are questions in each of those areas that touch upon critical points that need to be decided. Use this as your starting point to understand how a mobile workforce will benefit your organization.
We’ll start at the end with the WHY for it is of utmost importance to understand where you are going before you think about how to get there.
Why, as a business, is mobile important for us? Where does mobile make sense – what aspects of our business are well suited for mobility? Are we trying to deliver better service, create additional revenue opportunities, allow for extended data access, offer convenience for employees, or give customers insight? What is the end goal we trying to accomplish as a business though a mobile platform? Make sure you have a reason in mind. There is nothing worse than having technology for technology sake.
Who do we intend will be using a mobile offering – employees, customers, potential customers, contractors? Will it be everyone in these groups or just a subset, for example just full-time employees? Do we need to be concerned about who is accessing data (think HIPPA, Credit Card, PII data)? Who can see what data? How do we assure the right people are working with the right thing?
What data or processes do we plan on accessing through the mobile platform? How do we plan on identifying apps that can meet these requirements? What mobile platforms do we need/want to support? What is our process for evaluating these apps? How will the apps we use integrate with our current and future processes? Am I able to export/accesses data at a later date if I change applications? What is the backup model for the app? Who owns the data? What is the Total Cost of Ownership?
When do we anticipate users would be accessing the data or functionality? Does it need to be available 24/7? Does any data we intend to distribute need to be real-time? What is the Service Level Agreement and uptime requirements for our mobility strategy? Do we need to offer user support during business and/or off hours? If a defect is discovered how timely can it be resolved? Are there any restrictions as to when the system will be offline?
Where are users planning on accesses the data and processes from? Is it on a limited basis or all the time? Do we have a globally distributed team who needs to collaborate or individuals accessing from client sites? Will users have access to just handheld devices where they are? Does the apps we are looking at work well in that small form factor? Are the users remote all of the time and intend on a mobile device being their primary access?
Creating the mobility plan is the first step. Now get the word out! Communicate it frequently with your entire group of users. Collect their feedback and make adjustments to your plan. Mobility is a rapidly evolving space and you’ll need to adjust as well. Create a process to evolve as technology and opportunity allows. This will shut the door to random one-off pieces of functionally that will cause problems down the road.
In order to be successful you also need to measure. Establish criteria for success. Do you know how you are going to measure success? What are the metrics you are going to measure? Is it based on customer satisfaction, revenue, employee access? How are you going to collect these metrics? How often are you going to evaluate the plan and its metrics to make necessary adjustments?
There are now more mobile device connections in the United States than there are people. As the growth of capable devices expands it is inevitable that employees and clients alike will expect some level of interaction with your products or services. Employees and employers are increasingly embracing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and there is danger for organizations that don’t have a cohesive strategy in place to have mobility evolve uncontrolled with challenging and costly results.
Next I will discuss how to put this plan into action through, MDM, Mobile Device Management.