Opinions and views from expert CIOZone members.
Tag >> mobility
In my previous post, I briefly outlined my “five pillars” underlying a successful mobility strategy. I wrote that organizations must address the following five areas as a foundation of their mobility program: organization & people; policies & governance; business processes; technology; and performance management.
In this post, I would like to go into more depth on each of these five areas.
- Organization and People: This pillar focuses on the culture of an agency and openness of employees to change. For example, it wouldn’t have been unusual for some federal employees in the 1980s to spend 70% of their time in the field, interfacing with clients. With the advent of computers, these same employees became dramatically more office bound – in the field only 30% of the time. This required a culture change at many agencies as employees gradually moved to this new office-based way of conducting government business.Now, utilizing a mobility program, an agency’s goal could be to return those employees to the field by giving them useful mobile devices that allow them to enter data and share information remotely. Focusing on “on the spot,“ “in the field” and “in real time” greatly enhances the time employees need to interact face-to-face with citizens that rely on their government services. But it also requires a culture that accepts new ways of doing business.
- Policies and Governance: This pillar concentrates on what is necessary to move the organization away from outdated and restrictive models, who has the responsibilities of leading that move, and how the changes will be managed through deployment and operations. In some cases, outdated policies that inhibit useful adoption of mobility must be changed. These policies might include: not allowing employees to use their own devices, requiring employees to report to the office every day, requirements to record vast amounts of data regularly, or a policy that forbids Wi-Fi in an office. All these policies need to be addressed thoroughly before a mobility model can be considered. From a governance perspective, the entire enterprise must be invested in the strategy, with a set of leaders who understand the importance of mobility and know what levels of funding and resources are needed to deliver a successful program.
- Business Processes: If an organization’s goal is to move employees to the customer site, processes associated with being “at the right location” and “in real time” must be leveraged. For example, I’m reminded a recent experience when my car was damaged in hail storm. I saw firsthand how my insurance company had dramatically maximized the efficiency of claim agents in the field by using a mobile strategy. My insurance adjuster came to my home with a mobile device, which he used to take multiple pictures of my damaged car and measure the damage. The information was then transmitted to the company’s data processing system, which soon came back with a printout on how much they would pay to repair the car. I signed the printout on the spot, and a check was immediately generated for the body shop. By reengineering its business processes to take advantage of mobile technology, the insurance company improved my customer experience and made its agent more efficient. There’s no reason this can’t be applied to government operations.
- Technology: The focus here is to ensure the organization has the appropriate hardware, software and support services in place. Agencies need to address questions such as: -How do you engage business and IT to deliver a “ship ready” mobile app in 4-16 weeks?-How do you deliver a drop-box tool efficiently, securely and cost-effectively? -How do you implement strong authentication, single sign-on and access controls?-How do you start improving your critical infrastructure when funds for this may not exist?
- Performance Management: A holistic, enterprise-wide goal focusing on “are we making progress?” also is essential. How do you know that on day one, day 90 and at your project’s end that your mobility goals are being achieved? Key performance indicators must be established for areas such as customer satisfaction, employee productivity, cost reduction per service and other metrics.
Most experts agree that mobile devices and applications present a goldmine of opportunity for organizations to make their employees more productive and their clients happier. By focusing on these five pillars, enterprises can help to ensure that their mobility strategies are well-defined and likely to achieve their goals.
-Owen Unangst, Director of Enterprise Mobile Computing, Unisys
As Unisys’ third annual Consumerization of IT research study indicates, the growth of mobile device use in government and the private sector continues, with 44% of workers now using smartphones at work – a 300% increase from three years ago, according to Forrester Consulting, which conducted the study for Unisys. Tablets, which were rarely used at all two years ago, are now used by 15% of the global workforce.
Driven by this evolution of end-user mobile devices, information workers (iWorkers) are driving their organizations efforts to create new ways of conducting business. The new wave of productivity isn’t just driven by devices, either: tech-savvy are also using a broad range of consumer technologies, including self-procured application tools to get things done in the workplace. These consumer technologies are fast becoming iWorkers’ primary means of staying informed, connected and productive, both professionally and personally.
As a result, organizations must embrace this new world. In doing so, they can mobilize their businesses, transform their operations and modernize their technical infrastructures.
Establishing an effective vision, building a lean strategy and achieving objectives that benefit the organization’s mission, however, are often elusive tasks. To achieve these goals, organizations need to have a mobile business enablement strategy that focuses on five key “pillars of success.” These are represented in the following graphic:
In order to take a holistic approach to implementing a mobility strategy, organizations should assess their readiness to align each of these five pillars to the objectives of their mobile business model:
- Organization & People: Do you have a culture in your enterprise with the willingness and the flexibility to accommodate the change to a mobile workplace?
- Policies & Governance: Do the organization’s policies support the mobility strategy, and are leaders invested in its success?
- Business Processes: To what extent do you need to reengineer your business processes to leverage the benefits of the mobility strategy?
- Technology: How will you ensure that you can provide, operate and maintain the technology needed to achieve your mobility goals?
- Performance: How will you measure the success of your mobility program and keep things on track?
These five pillars are interrelated and sometimes overlap, but they are all essential aspects of a mobility strategy. In subsequent posts, I will dive deeper into each of these five areas.
-Owen Unangst, Director of Enterprise Mobile Computing, Unisys
For the past three years, Unisys has been studying the impact of the consumerization of IT on enterprises. I was going through our third annual Consumerization of IT
research study. Spotlighting the growth of mobile device usage in the workspace, the study shows 44% of workers now using smartphones at work. That’s an astronomical increase of 300% from three years ago, according to Forrester Consulting, my company's partner for the study.
Tablets, which were rarely used up until a couple of years ago, are now increasingly becoming the computing device of choice for many in today’s workforce. Clearly, mobility is driving change for enterprises.
The impact of mobility on organizational infrastructure has put IT in a precarious position. In the past, IT was the technical leader for the enterprise. With mobility, technology expertise has moved to the user. As a result, enterprise governance, and the leaders responsible for it, needs to account for that. In many cases, a mobile governance team needs to be assembled with members from IT, business, and operations departments to ensure a mobile strategy that covers all relevant enterprise requirements. For some companies, it is becoming more common to have a single person in charge to ensure creation and implementation of a mobile strategy.
With your employees and customers using thousands – and maybe even millions – of devices, you can be sure that you’ll need to gear up your physical infrastructure to support mobility. The following areas bear special scrutiny:
Network Infrastructure – With the potential for thousands of devices requiring low latency transactions, you need to review the current enterprise network infrastructure. Networks that supported primarily PC to web based applications may no longer be adequate. They now need to be able to address data access from multiple (home, business or public) locations to either a company- or employee-owned device.
Storage Infrastructure – Mobility is driving the creation and growth in unstructured data like never before. Videos are becoming a primary way of communication, using up bandwidth and storage needs. Instant messaging and social networking usage growth are driving the need for discrete document retention and security requirements.
Cloud – Cloud computing is optimally designed for today’s mobile world. The ability to scale is perfect for mobile devices and business applications. Cloud computing will likely soon be the most predominant means of accessing information through mobile devices.
Mobile Infrastructure – All mobile devices typically contain GPS, gyroscopes, accelerometers, cameras, and other features. Rich mobile applications aimed at improving productivity, driving revenue and improving customer service are being developed to take advantage of those features. You must ensure that your architecture is suitably designed to enable these technologies while ensuring scalability and security.
Mobile Applications – Mobile applications developed today need to be context-aware to provide the optimal user experience. You need to determine if they will develop apps natively, use a cross platform MEAP or employ a hybrid platform technology such as HTML5.
Mobile Environment Management – Enabling mobility while minimizing costs and maintaining a level of security and control to protect for the organization is critical. Managing mobile devices and applications appropriately is a critical step to ensure that you achieve adequate levels of security and management as needed.
After gearing up these infrastructure components to address mobility, enterprises need a holistic goal focusing on the progress made at all stages. How do you know that your mobility goals are being achieved on day one, midway and at the end of your project? You must establish key performance indicators in areas such as customer satisfaction, employee productivity and cost reduction per service, among others.
The world today is enabled by near-universal connectivity options and an ever-increasing choice of mobile devices that allow organizations to deliver their services at any time through any network. If you provide services across the mobile ecosystem, it’s imperative to provide flexible and scalable engagement models that allow you to take full advantage of the benefits of a mobile enterprise.
Join the conversation: How are you gearing up for mobile?
Cloud computing. Mobile technology. Big data. Social networks. With so many disruptive technologies on the horizon, timing your move into each can make the difference between getting ahead of the competition and falling irreparably behind.
One thing that can help you gauge when to take up an emerging technology is the technology adoption life cycle. This sociological model, invented by researchers at the University of Iowa who were studying the adoption of hybrid seed corn by farmers, illustrates that adoption typically follows a bell curve, with the first adopters being the innovators, followed by the early adopters, the early majority, the late majority and finally the laggards.
For many organizations, now is the time for annual strategic planning and for identifying where to invest in IT initiatives in 2013 and beyond. One of the key questions faced every year is deciding, given a limited budget, on the most attractive investment choices to make and on the percentage of the investment that should go toward core, adjacent and transformational projects.
A recent Harvard Business Review article points out that a typical allocation is something like 70/20/10, with 70% of the investment going into the core business, 20% into adjacencies and 10% into new, transformational initiatives. Interestingly, HBR points out that the financial returns are typically the inverse of the spend allocations -- that is to say, 70% of the returns come from the transformational initiatives and only 10% from the core.