The Formula for Mobility Success

By  Philippe Winthrop
— February 07, 2008

Mobility ROI depends on knowing how your organization is set up to leverage the technology
In the last 18 months, mobility has become one of the most exciting facets of the I.T. industry. That said, mobility is still a relatively new area for enterprise I.T. departments. Almost every day, new devices, applications, services and tools are driving opportunities for organizations to:

>> Accelerate the speed at which they and their employees react to external events;
>> Ensure that employees are able to address customer needs as quickly as possible;
>> Ultimately fulfill mobility's promise of allowing individuals to be "productive" regardless of where they're located.
How devices are deployed across the enterprise is much more than a technology decision; it's an important strategic decision that requires careful, methodical evaluation of processes. How organizations are set up to leverage mobile technology is a critical differentiator in the kind of results they'll achieve.
Enterprise mobility isn't without its burdens. The technologies are still maturing, and so their influence on the enterprise is very much evolving. As with any new technology, the potential for setbacks is high when introducing mobility solutions into an enterprise, which could mean negative ROI, at least in the initial stages.
To better understand why organizations are driving mobility projects and how those organizations are going about such projects, Aberdeen Group surveyed almost 700 organizations worldwide in October-November 2007. The survey covers not only devices, but also the policies and procedures that organizations are adopting around such factors as carrier selection, platform selection and device procurement. Additionally, the survey examines device management, updates, security and expense management. The survey also evaluates current and planned adoption of mobile applications, including implementation, operation, support and training.
The Best-in-Class Outperform All Others
Aberdeen used three key performance indicators (KPIs) to distinguish Best-in-Class organizations from all other organizations. These KPIs are some of the time-sensitive operational metrics most frequently touted as key factors in measuring the effectiveness and productivity of an organization's employees:

>> Responsiveness to others;
>> Employees' ability to gain knowledge/ data from others; and
>>The overall flexibility of an organization's workforce.
The data show that Best-in-Class organizations achieve much greater performance increases than all other organizations -- most notably twice the flexibility compared with other organizations and well more than twice the increased responsiveness. How do the Best-in-Class do it? By developing a sound strategy supported by sound execution and monitored by constant measurement.
Exhibit 1
The Aberdeen survey evaluates organizations based on the factors they include in their mobility strategy. A complete mobile strategy must cover a broad set of factors, including:

>> Back-office hardware/software;
>> End-user devices/platforms; and
>>Appropriate usage and procurement/ payment policies.

Best-in-Class organizations take a holistic approach to enterprise mobility. They understand the importance of a complete strategic vision and total visibility around their mobile initiatives across the board, whether it's in terms of devices, applications, security or even the carriers selected.
Exhibit 2 Measurement is Key to Success Many organizations and departments are apprehensive about the internal scrutiny that could result from measuring the progress of a mobile initiative. At the beginning of a mobility initiative, defining measurement criteria helps an organization develop its goals and map out the path it takes to achieve those goals. Nearly three quarters (74%) of Best-in-Class organizations use crossfunctional teams that define mobility goals by taking into account both I.T.- related and non-I.T. results.

Measurement is vital to accurately track the progress of a project. In fact, 76% of Best-in-Class organizations regularly monitor the progress of mobility initiatives; nearly half (45%) do so on a quarterly basis. Eight in 10 of the Best-in-Class (80%) review their overall mobility strategy annually.

By showing value, measurement helps the I.T. department request higher budgets (or put the brakes on any cost-cutting initiatives). If a project is shown to be a success  based upon a sound strategy and sound execution grounded with constant measurement -- then an argument for additional mobility investments is that much more compelling.

Best-in-Class organizations in Aberdeen's survey invested, on average, almost twice as much as all other organizations on enterprise mobility. That upfront investment has paid off handsomely for them over the past 12 months. In fact, the larger investments in enterprise mobility translate to an 88% relative increase in top-line revenue and a 97% relative increase in the overall profitability of the enterprise. //
Philippe Winthrop is Research Director -- Wireless & Mobility at Aberdeen Group. This article includes results from Aberdeen's "2008 Enterprise Mobility Benchmark Report."


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