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We talk a lot about the mobile enterprise and the different elements that define it -- security, device management, business processes and more. But have you really thought about how a single device has disrupted the way we work? For the good, bad and the ugly, the proliferation of mobile devices at work requires a foundational mobile strategy.

The Great Mobile Disruption

What came first -- mobile disruption or the empowered employee? Both shifted our perspectives about work and the technology used to help us be more productive. The availability and general affordability of mobile devices allowed employees everywhere to harness their own powers by extending their productivity beyond four walls and the 9-5 work day. As a result, mobility became just as important as the technology itself, which in turn shattered the traditional way of working for many companies, as well as the way it engages both internal and external audiences.

In the book, Mobile Strategy: How Your Company Can Win by Embracing Mobile Technologies, its author Dirk Nicol says “If you want to build a mobile strategy that derives value for your business, it is worth taking the time to analyze what gives the smartphone so much impact.”

It’s a simple, yet powerful statement because as we know companies aren’t always that practical. They hop on bandwagons without giving much thought to longterm outcomes and impacts. Though most companies are trying to figure out how to harness the power of mobile technologies - from business and customer-facing apps to BYOD, it’s too late to approach it all in a linear fashion. No, mobile devices are here, being used to text, share, email, access documents, manage business workflows and have been operating for a few years now, often without a strategic mobile strategy in place.

Defining Mobile's Business Value

From the consumer perspective, it’s easier to see how mobile devices and mobile apps add value. The buyer’s journey can be shortened considerably by enabling the user to connect, ask questions, research and compare different products much quicker through a single platform.

From the perspective of the enterprise, in order to define a successful mobile strategy, you’ll need to define the business goals of your project. Nicol says that these goals must be based on on clear value proposition for your customer and your organization.

Mobile value goals will be rooted in the mobile-solution attributes but will be specific to either a business-to-consumer (B2C) scenario, how the business delivers value to customers, or a business-to-enterprise (B2E) scenario in which the value to the employee is defined.

By outlining what you hope to achieve from using mobile devices within the enterprise, you can begin to understand why their role is useful and as such can begin to define their attributes as they relate to security, productivity and the bottom line. Much like social media, it could be that it serves no purpose and is not the right fit at this time.

Take Control of Mobile 

Nicol is very effective in outlining the questions that one’s mobile strategy should answer, as well as walking companies through the process of gathering information about how mobile technologies are being used, demonstrating their value (if any) and highlighting the challenges they may present to the organization.

Mobile isn’t going anywhere and it’s playing a bigger role than every in the enterprise. Ignoring it doesn’t work, so you might as well decide to take control of how it’s used so you can be sure you’re getting the most of out it. Further more, by showing how mobile impact the way a company works will help empower employees and customers, alike. 

image credit: Shutterstock / Doomu