Part Two: Outlook 2008

— March 05, 2008

Mobile Enterprise invited the members of its Editorial Advisory Board to share their views on what's ahead for the wireless enterprise. This is the second of our two-part Outlook 2008 series, in which we'll explore control and ownership of devices as well as tips on finding the right criteria to evaluate your mobile solution. We welcome your responses to the questions below; email us at Editor@MobileEnterpriseMag.com with the word OUTLOOK in the subject line.


 How is the control and ownership of mobile devices changing in the enterprise?

BARADET: Personally owned devices that are used for business purposes - especially if regulated data is stored or accessed - will need to be covered by, and used in accordance with, corporate policy. If the user objects to this, he or she should be supplied with a corporate-owned device or have their personal device restricted from storing or accessing regulated or corporate-restricted data. In my environment, about 75% - 80% of the mobile device users are students. I have almost no control over them and their devices, so we will have to look at restricting access to data and services that might cause us to violate FERPA, HIPAA and PCA. Education is the key to keep the unregulated population and its information safe.

BRUMER: Corporations are finally taking control of the mobile devices under their company umbrellas.

CAFFERY:  We at PSE&G are moving from more of a decentralized ownership to [a] more centralized [model]. We are attempting to find devices that can run on similar images and hardware, thus keeping our upgrade and replacement costs down.

HALPERT: Organizations need to understand that consumers are driving mobile device adoption. When each manufacturer produced a few models, it was easy for an organization to control device use. Now, mobile device proliferation is a consumer-driven phenomenon. While an organization may have an approved list of devices, that list will continue to get challenged. Some organizations allow personally owned devices to be used for business purposes. Conversely, other organizations allow personal use of business assets. Each organization needs to determine the best fit for [its] culture.

JOHN: Mobile device management is no longer an issue that can be ignored. Unless there is strict policy forbidding the use of such devices (and most companies outside of the strictest and most security conscious government agencies are unwilling to open that can of worms), it is almost impossible to keep them out of the workplace. If you can't beat them, join them. Strategies must be devised to address myriad security, recoverability and privacy concerns.

LEWIS: Why has BlackBerry become dominant and accepted in the business world? RIM catered to the needs of the enterprise, providing a platform enabled with tools for security, control, audit, and stability. Microsoft has finally followed suit for its Windows Mobile devices. There probably isn't an end user on the planet who doesn't think the usability of the iPhone (and other neat breakthrough handset designs) is superior to BlackBerry devices, but smart I.T. officers will not pay for phones that can compromise their databases with virus-laden user-generated content or shareware.We will continue to see a two-device world: employee phone and business device. Apart from the security issue, music, photos, video, TV and games are storage and battery hogs on business phones. And we will continue to see cameras (now in almost all consumer phones) banned from courtrooms, union shops, defense plants and laboratories.
It boils down to educating an "entitled" generation that there are community (corporate) requirements that transcend individual instant gratification.

MacGILLIVRAY: Corporate liability - or migrating to corporate liability - is going to play a bigger role in 2008.

O'MALLEY: We are committed to enterprise ownership of the devices. We understand that we are going to experience a certain amount of personal use. But this model gives us the lowest total cost since we have much better control of what device and configuration we maintain in the field. We think of mobile devices in the same terms that we think of PCs and laptops. Keeping a standard model and image allows us to support the services that users need at a very reasonable cost.

SETTLES: The enterprise is being changed because an increasing number of end users are deciding [on], and buying, mobile devices on their own, or receiving these as gifts. The typical reaction by I.T. - to pull up the drawbridges around their enterprise servers and issue security policy decrees - is [of] limited value.Anyone with an iPhone can suck up the data contents of a worker's laptop in 10 or 15 seconds. Subsequently, purchasing and access procedures need an overhaul to adapt to, rather than fight, the reality that you may be able to lock down data on servers, but once data migrates to laptops or desktops responsibility for it belongs to the users.
Managers of every department need to come to grips with a new reality as well. Once everyone [in an organization] -  from the most senior staffer to the temp worker - can buy their own technology that fits into a pocket and provides anywhere, anytime access to the known universe of information, there's going to be a shift in how work gets done. Managers can either proactively evolve business practices, reporting responsibilities, and decision-making processes, or wake up one day and find changes in these areas have been made without them. This proactive change includes taking more direct responsibility for the security of the organization's and workers' data.

SEYBOLD:
This question has no specific answer. Enterprises are still struggling not only with device ownership (company vs. employee), but also with how the bill should be split between company and employee. There are almost as many variations as there are companies.

My favorite plan is to have the company provide a device if data is required (BlackBerry, Palm, Windows device), and then set a maximum amount it will pay each month for service. Any overage is then paid by the employee. If the enterprise is only concerned about voice calls, then the employee should be permitted to purchase a phone of their own choosing.

SIGNORINI: Corporations will continue to need to centralize control and ownership for mobile devices, particularly as they expand mobile data and application initiatives. However, it will not be a dramatic shift in 2008.  In fact, offerings such as BlackBerry have shown that individual liability can still work alongside greater enterprise control: a user can buy a device, pay for service himself or herself, and still connect securely to corporate applications. Enterprises will gradually move to [greater] ownership of devices.

VOSHELL:
Control is becoming more centralized at the enterprise level. The ability to push down policies, patches and new applications is vital.

WINTHROP: Organizations continue to appreciate the fact that enterprise mobility is less about "phones with computing functionality" and more about "intelligent devices with phone capabilities." This means organizations are increasingly treating mobile devices as they do any other piece of technology. Laptops are procured, deployed and managed through centralized processes as a productivity tool to employees. Those laptops have anti-virus and VPN applications pre-installed on them to ensure that when they connect to the central systems, there is no potentially negative impact to that central infrastructure. This is where mobile devices are headed.

 What types of productivity measurement criteria should enterprises use in evaluating mobile solutions?

BARADET:  We have not begun to address this issue yet. We are primarily looking at it as a desk phone replacement for those workers who are out and about servicing customers.

BRUMER: We have not been asked for the traditional "ROI" calculations [that were common] several years ago, but more of a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) placeholder for a three-year timeframe including hardware, software and services. From a productivity standpoint, if you can do all of the things you need [to do] to be successful from a mobile device, then the purchase of a wireless program is the most essential item you need for your company. And in these trying economic times, wireless data devices are needed more than ever to increase [the] productivity and efficiency of all employees.

CAFFERY: We look at reduction in travel time and [time to and from] headquarters, plus the ability to complete more jobs per day.

HALPERT: Organizations typically look at the business and technical measurement characteristics. A focus should also be placed on the personal side of mobile technology usage. 

JOHN: This widely depends on the specific business model and requirements. Supply chain and field force initiatives generally base decisions on real-time requirements. Understanding needs and operating methods is key.

LEWIS: ROI for I.T. investments is not always measured in direct financial results, so it is important to build in audit measures to new mobility solutions. It means benchmarking processes before you start. Simple things like number of keystrokes for data entry, search time for parts availability and number of customer complaints / kudos can be captured on an ongoing basis. This type of data capture is becoming critical for contract compliance reporting. Mobile systems give it the advantage of being in real time (you'll be a hero to your CFO). Make sure you have a business intelligence back-end to store and analyze the captured data, though, or you'll be swamped with it!

MacGILLIVRAY:
Productivity measurements can vary across industries. In transportation, it's reduced time to delivery. In health care, it's reduced wait times, improved patient to nurse / doctor ratio. In public safety, it's speed to inform the public of emergency, speed to locate pubic safety workers (i.e. ambulance drivers) by using GPS and being able to deploy the most convenient rig to an emergency. Of course, all [sectors] can benefit from return on investment. How quickly is ROI achieved? [2007 Mobilizer Award Winner] Procter & Gamble has a strong story there [see Mobile Enterprise, November 2007].

O'MALLEY: We look at the same business metrics we look at for other process / organization changes.  Are we able to drive up sales, cut waste, and provide better service? These are the business challenges we're trying to address in the field. Mobile technology is one tool we can use to address them.

SETTLES:
Any criteria for measuring the success of a deployment should always boil down to this: does the application help us save money, make money or run a better business? Given there are probably a dozen ways to measure productivity improvement, I always advocate anything that's quantitative, even when there's not a direct tie to financial results. During the pilot project, for example, do people save "x" hours finding their way to appointments? Can workers process three times as many forms? Are more lives saved? Have we seen a noticeable increase in letters of satisfaction from customers? If you can prove that something is measurably different with the application, you have a strong case for adopting it. Tying something to the bottom line is, of course, the Holy Grail and you should do this whenever you can. But if the organization is driven, perhaps, by a mission to improve customer service, or to increase worker job satisfaction, then tie those changes in productivity to their impact on the mission. When you're selling upper management a technology's business case based on achieving the mission, focus on the president, CEO or VP of marketing/sales. CFOs often only know numbers, while the others typically have a lot invested in establishing the mission.

SEYBOLD: There are a number of Return on Investment models available. My favorite, and the one I use, is a spreadsheet provided in a book by Ian Hayes called Just Enough Wireless Computing (Pearson). In addition, there are many case studies available in Mobile Enterprise magazine that have detailed productivity measurement tools that can be used to measure increased productivity.

SIGNORINI: Productivity measures will vary greatly from firm to firm. Companies should focus on one or two key performance indicators (KPIs) to start as they implement pilot programs and smaller deployments. Most importantly, decision makers should listen to their end users for where mobility can add improvements to business processes to find those KPIs. 

VOSHELL: The purpose of a mobile device, in many cases, is to allow the end user to move around and be more productive. [Consider] up-time for the mobile device, including the applications on the device, wireless coverage (it does me no good to have 100% up-time, but no access), and return on investment where possible.

WINTHROP: That's the million dollar question!  It's so easy to say "it depends" and that it's all about what companies are trying to accomplish with their mobile solutions, but it's true. 

Organizations need to look at their productivity criteria based upon whether they're deploying horizontal  or vertical solutions. Vertical solutions are industry- and task-specific. More often than not, the performance and productivity gains that are attributable to a technology enhancement in those areas are tangible and quantifiable. A horizontal application (e.g. mobile email or business intelligence) is far more challenging to define and quantify. In the case of these horizontal applications, trying to measure a soft ROI by the number of minutes saved per day/week/month is at best a proxy for a real assessment of the impact of the technology.



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