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Webinar Highlights: Developing Strategies for Enabling the Mobile Workforce

Yesterday, Marcus Turner—CTO of Atomic Axis—gave a webinar on Developing Strategies for Enabling the Mobile Workforce.

He began his presentation by highlighting the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, and how they are increasingly becoming the first point of contact between a business—both its customers and employees. The increasing popularity of these devices is beginning to overtake that of PCs or laptops they and are slowly becoming the tools of choice for employees. Furthermore, mobile devices make "anytime, anywhere" workers a reality, and help shape a world where work is now being defined not as a place you go to, but what you do.

Given this crucial role that a mobile dimension can play in an organization, Marcus then suggested that organizations should begin developing their mobile workforce strategy by creating a benefits map of the outcomes from mobility solutions—one that shows a ‘line of sight’ between the capabilities and the different categories of benefit. Specifically, the benefits roadmap should show:

  • The key strategic outcomes of the mobility solution and how it supports the aims of the organization, e.g. increasing revenues, improving market agility, decreasing costs
  • The key business benefits sought and their linkages, e.g. increased worker mobility, decreased property costs, a smaller carbon footprint
  • How the key technology capabilities will enable the business benefits, e.g. how remote access will reduce the need to travel
  • The key initiatives that are necessary and sufficient for success across business, technology, people and process, e.g. remote access, management culture change
  • The key assumptions regarding the success of the program, e.g. the realization of benefits, technology maturity, union position
Marcus then noted the challenges that attend the adoption of a mobile workforce strategy by making a distinction between "the challenges of yesterday" versus "the challenges of today." While the former category mostly dealt with device security and control (e.g. BYOD policies), today's issues are more concerned with optimizing efficiencies in communication and understanding how to plan to the lowest common denominator to increase everyone’s efficiency. However, there are certain overlapping challenges that continue to exist—for instance, integrating with legacy systems, data orchestration, stakeholder buy-in, full implementation timeframes, alignment of different technology and/or providers, and multi “generational” implementation and optimization.
At this juncture, Marcus further broke down the definition of a "mobile strategy" and also discussed the metric of "mobile maturity." Briefly, a mobile strategy is a plan to accomplish something leveraging the benefit of mobility. Leveraging is, itself, something called a "mobile maturity indicator." The general goal of the mobile maturity indicator is to provide an industry baseline of the overall maturity of your organization using the following criteria:
  • Business Transformation
  • Digital Experience
  • Technology
  • Governance

The overall mobile maturity indicator was established based on best practices from IBM and HP labs. Atomic Axis has developed four maturity levels of the organizational indicator:

  1. Chaos
  2. Observed
  3. Orchestrated
  4. Harmonized

The following tables signify the relationship between the various levels and the criterion for mobile maturity:

Yet, companies should be aware that integrating their mobile strategy into their business strategy requires more than a surface-level change, like adopting a simple BYOD policy or giving your employees tablets. It demands truly structural change—things like empowering the user; integrating with social media, cloud and information systems; and giving your apps purpose.

So how does one define a mobile workforce strategy? For starters:

  1. Align workforce strategy with organizational strategy
  2. Conduct a current state analysis
  3. Understand your users & focus on user experience
  4. Focus on customer engagement, field enablement and employee productivity
  5. Task orientation / process optimizations
  6. Begin the shift to cloud-hosted or cloud-connected applications

Marcus also advised against pigeonholing your business process into an application. To be successful, the first steps are to document and define your process. If you have a good understanding of the caveats, holes and "gotchas" in your business process, then and only then will you be able to determine whether the technology is a fit for the process or if you need to adjust your process. Define what your process is, have everything well documented, then look at the available tools and make a good business decision based on whether you need to change your process or tool.

The next issue dealt with approaching change. Put succinctly, this can be done by:

  • Establishing a clear initiative model
  • Involving and consulting users
  • Leveraging rapid feedback cycles & iterating
  • Listening to key adopters of change
  • Realizing benefits
And these checks for measuring success should always be kept in mind:
Increases in customer/business partner satisfaction
  • Sales cycles reduction
  • Workflow streamlining  (Orchestration & Optimization)
  • Productivity and efficiency increases
  • Operation cost reductions
  • Data collection and accuracy improvements
Marcus closed the webinar by illustrating some prospects for mobility. He highlighted exciting innovations on the horizon, like wearables and connected technology, and touched on the importance of Shadow IT (IT systems and IT solutions built and used inside organizations without explicit organizational approval; nothing sinister about it, employees just want to do their jobs) and having a "personal cloud."
Were you able to attend the webinar? Did you get any interesting insights from this blog post? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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