Merely incorporating mobile devices and applications into an organization’s operations is no longer enough to put an enterprise ahead of its peers — or even enough to keep pace with them. The vast majority of enterprises are already utilizing mobility at this point, and forward-thinking organizations have already moved on to developing and implementing comprehensive mobile strategies that truly harness mobility to achieve benefits, such as increased productivity and revenue.
The arc to full mobility traverses three major steps. First, organizations must simply incorporate mobile devices and content — through bring-your-own-device (BYOD), choose- your-own-device (CYOD) or corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) models — and take steps to secure devices and data using enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions. Again, most organizations have already taken at least some actions to fulfill this first step.
Next, organizations must find ways to ensure that their mobile deployments enable productivity for individual users. This could mean giving users access to basic individual productivity applications such as email, calendaring and secure mobile browsing. At a slightly more advanced level, this step might involve mobile apps, such as Evernote, Dropbox or SharePoint, that allow users to replicate more of their day- to-day functionality on their mobile devices and engage in enhanced collaboration. VMware’s “State of Business Mobility Report” found that most organizations are already fulfilling some of the requirements of this step.
However, a wide gulf exists between enabling user productivity and the third and final step of a mobile deployment: using mobile devices and applications in ways that truly transform the enterprise. This does not mean merely moving existing processes to mobile devices, but instead re-engineering core business practices in ways that take advantage of mobility. VMware calls this final stage “Business Mobility” and defines it as “a level of maturity characterized by shifting core business processes and operations to a mobile model.” This sort of transformation, the report’s authors write, “holds the greatest potential to make an organization more competitive, and thus more successful.”
For example, an organization might enable individual or team productivity among its sales staff by equipping team members with mobile devices and giving them access to a handful of productivity apps. But the organization will achieve true business mobility only by integrating mobility at a more fundamental level — for example, by creating a custom mobile app that is tied to the company’s back-end systems and revolutionizes how sales staff in the field operate. (CDW has assisted in this process for many customers, including Breakthru Beverage Group — formerly Charmer Sunbelt Group — and Junior Achievement USA.)
Similarly, a healthcare organization might move to a mobile model of patient care, reducing wait times and the need for fully equipped hospital rooms by allowing physicians to securely access and display records such as X-rays on tablets. Or, a manufacturing company or distributor might use mobile devices and applications to streamline operations on an assembly line or in a warehouse.
While mobility can yield operational, revenue-driving and cost-saving advantages, there is no magic in the word “mobile” alone. As many organizational decision-makers have no doubt learned from previous tech deployments, merely following a trend for its own sake can result in huge sunk costs with little practical value to show for the effort. This is why a comprehensive mobility strategy, one that includes concrete goals and a pathway toward them, is so important.