5 Steps to Successful Enterprise Mobility

— August 29, 2014

A new report from IBM titled, "The Individual Enterprise – How Mobility Redefines Business," provides guidance for businesses on how to unlock the potential of enterprise mobility by empowering employees with the tools they need to make decisions, collaborate, transact and innovate in entirely new ways.

Developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value, the report emphasizes how the power of analytics-driven mobile strategies can redefine business and how work gets done. While many organizations recognize the potential impact of mobile, few have the foundation in place to capitalize on the power of mobile and data analytics.

Eighty-four percent of CIOs rate mobile solutions as a critical investment to get closer to customers and 94% of CMOs ranked mobile apps as crucial to their digital marketing plans. While the C-suite is considering mobile apps that are customer facing, the greater opportunity exists in the enterprise to impact the way people work, collaborate and innovate.

"Currently most enterprise mobile use has been restricted to email, calendaring and instant messaging," said Saul Berman, vice president and chief strategist in IBM Global Business Services. "Consider how combining mobile devices and cognitive analytics can completely transform how we work, industries operate and companies perform. Getting started with this new imperative requires leaders who can define what this journey will look like and champion a call to action."

Building Blocks
A successful mobile initiative will allow employees to access relevant information and insights when and where needed, as well as the ability to address a critical industry pain point or create fundamental new value; weigh outcomes using analytics and data streams; and focus on leading edge features of innovative mobile devices.

According to the research, evolving to a mobile enterprise requires a solid foundation with fundamental components including:

  • Security: Employ centralized device management and security to overcome the fragmented device platforms resulting from existing BYOD programs.

  • Connectivity: Minimize platform complexities introduced with 'always-on' mobile networks in conjunction with flexible architectures that can easily incorporate changing components.

  • Resiliency: Design for possible failures with adequate disaster recovery and contingency plans, and align policies to business values and needs.

  • Orchestration: Adopt interchangeable solutions to create efficiencies and enable both organizations and individuals to quickly combine and recombine different applications and data streams based on actual circumstances. 

  • Insights and Learning: Embrace intelligence produced from analytics to grow more responsive and learn on the fly, ultimately enabling predicative and prescriptive recommendations that further inform decision making.

Steps to Success
Once the foundation for enterprise mobility has been laid, the report outlines five steps to progress the strategy including the development of "journey maps" that depict employee/user interactions.

These steps can be improved and expanded upon based on employee experiences:

1. Depict employee/user experiences via persona journey maps. Develop day-in-the-life storylines based on a deep understanding of user needs, then share demos, templates and functional information about the app(s).
 
2. Pilot test apps, and quantify costs and benefits. First identify mobile apps aligned with organizational needs, then run pilot activities that provide hands-on experience and allow for performance evaluation.
 
3. Build capabilities to realize the Individual Enterprise. Architect the strategy and develop the technical transformation roadmap, then leverage the enterprise software and application programming interface (API) catalog and development environment.
 
4. Leverage existing apps and solutions. Identify opportunities to use existing third-party solutions and apps to enable faster time-to-market and reduce development costs. Leverage and build upon existing apps using standard developer kits, while developing an app marketplace and sourcing strategy.
 
5. Promote the value and scale of the benefits. The toughest challenge for internal proponents of the Individual Enterprise may be selling the sometimes intangible benefits of tighter collaboration and data-driven decision making. Yet organizations must integrate mobility as the primary mode of interaction within the enterprise and among partners in their ecosystem.
 
Establishing new ways of working and aligning organizational policies and governance with the new mobility reality will be vital. So too, will be defining performance parameters and success criteria, and doing cost-benefit analysis as the mobility strategy continues to evolve.

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