Mobility's Golden Rules

— April 01, 2008

What's the No. 1 rule for mobility success?

"Plan carefully before making decisions," according to Monica Basso, research VP with Gartner Consulting.

While this may sound simple, it's not always standard practice for enterprises deploying mobile solutions.

But the changing nature of mobile technology, combined with an ever-evolving business climate, makes it essential. "Mobile and wireless technology is volatile," says Basso. "You need to make choices that allow you to cope with future requirements."

Not only is it good business sense, it can help mobile evangelists in a corporation get buy-in from their senior executives. Basso cites a government body that ended up developing a 25-year plan for wireless infrastructure and services that ultimately netted the I.T. team more public funding than it had expected to receive. Such planning "can help justify support for I.T.," she says.

Basso and Robin Simpson, Gartner's research director, outlined their "golden rules for mobility success," as well as some of the sure-fire paths to failure, in a session at last month's Gartner Wireless & Mobile Summit in Chicago.
Other golden rules:

  • Take an existing application into the field before deciding whether you  need to create your own custom solution.
  • Take the opportunity to re-engineer your business processes.
  • Choosing the solution with the lowest common denominator will help you reach the widest market.
  • Use shared infrastructure and services to achieve results and minimize risks.
And what are the steps to avoid? Forgetting the end-user is one of the biggest enterprise faux pas. "There is no group of end users who will kill a mobile solution more quickly than blue-collar workers who don't like what you do," he says.

Other tips for deploying wireless solutions:
  • One-size-fits-all doesn't work for mobility.
  • Anything important that plugs in will break.
  • Don't choose the device before you choose the application.
  • Inexpensive hardware doesn't always mean the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).


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