The rainbow strategy for enterprise mobility

By Hiren Shah, Head-IT, Reliance General Insurance
Hiren Shah

Hiren Shah

If you are a corporate that wants to take advantage of enterprise mobility, but do not know where to start, here is a list of seven basic steps to help you succeed

Enterprise mobility, if used rightly can amplify business opportunities and backed with the right strategy, it can bring about the much needed agility to an enterprise. Enterprise mobility is known to increase workforce productivity, improve customer service, bring in much needed business process improvement, with the ability to capture data on a real-time basis for better decision making.

While we all understand the impact of mobility and the benefits that it can bring, the real challenge is to design and define the right mobility strategy for your enterprise. There is no one single solution, which can fit the requirements of every organization.  Key points to consider include target audience, efforts in re-sizing existing infrastructure, whether development has to be managed in-house or outsourced, whether the solution should be created (build) or bought (buy), device support, rollout and training and monitoring.

Without a well planned mobility strategy and well-defined steps of execution, it has the chances of eventually ending up like any other project or what we call as ‘Project execution with steroids’. It may give result but may not be long lasting or may be more harmful in the  long run. One more important point that I would like to highlight is that once an enterprise mobile strategy is defined, it is not job done, but it is just start of your mobility journey. Strategy needs to be reviewed and refined periodically and also aligned with business need for improving result and delivering better ROI.

Based on my experience, I am enclosing below a strategy of seven steps, which I call ‘The rainbow strategy for Enterprise Mobility’

#1 Lead with Business Use Case
Define your mobile vision and business objective. Do not start developing mobile apps with an unclear vision Also, most organizations make a mistake by simply following the footsteps of competitors. Each organization has a different need and different business strategy. Make sure you select the right business process and showcase the true benefit of mobility. The success of first application is extremely crucial to justify confidence of the management team.

#2 UX – Design

With mobility, the IT support environment becomes more complex and as time passes, it will bring in more complex challenges. An administrator needs to manage different device types and different screen sizes. Screen layout and design plays an important role in reducing complexity. Each mobile OS has a different design style guide. Make sure you adopt best practices and tested and proven simple screen flow. Do not try to replicate screen with existing applications. Take business inputs and reduce input value as much as possible or auto populate values. Define mock screens and conduct usability testing before you go live.

#3 Guideline for mobile delivery
Enterprise mobility projects need to be treated differently than traditional web based projects. The IT team needs to work with business stakeholders very closely. Review and testing is a must at every stage of the delivery. At the same time, it is also essential to break the project delivery stage in smaller steps. Periodic reviews with business stakeholders will not only bring confidence but also help in identifying gaps in project execution.

#4 Analyze and Measure
Application and device performance must be regularly analyzed and measured.

1. A device needs to measured on the following points:
2. Battery consumption
3. Network connectivity
4. Data consumption
5. Camera performance at different resolutions
6. Offline data storage

#5 Data Security
Enterprise mobile applications must be treated as essential parts of an enterprise security ecosystem, extending from device to the cloud and the data center. A mobile software initiative that starts and stops with mobile device management (MDM) is not enough. Simply controlling the mobile device itself doesn’t protect the data that the device accesses, transmits and stores. Nor is it enough to just implement Mobile Application Management (MAM) without considering the security of wireless communications, the data center and cloud services.

#6 Device Management Strategy
As mobility brings more complexity, enterprises are developing a strategic plan for managing mobile devices in order to maximize business opportunities and minimize IT challenges and risk. No longer can an enterprise standardize on one type of mobile device. There are now multiple mobile device operating systems, and enterprises must get smart about managing and securing these varying mobile devices.

Organizations must create a mobile policy checklist and review periodically as more and more new devices get included with new functionalities. The device must be certified before it is allowed to access corporate data. Regardless of whether an enterprise operates in a local or global environment, there’s a need to understand how data travels and where it is stored. Cloud computing and third-party servers may require remote access through VPNs or an encrypted network. In some cases, it may be necessary to encrypt data on the mobile device as well.

#7 Ongoing Innovation
Enterprises will not get benefit by making one or two mobile apps. The real benefit is in building an enterprise wide mobile application ecosystem. Ongoing innovation and realigning enterprise strategy with business objective is the key. Organizations must have the capability to capture free flowing ideas and channelize it. One must build user groups at different levels in the organization and encourage participation.

– The author is a leading expert in the field of enterprise mobility with several years of experience in developing strategic enterprise mobility strategies for the companies he has worked for. Currently, he heads the IT function for Reliance General Insurance

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