Mobile technology has become a double-edged sword in the enterprise space. While smart devices and mobile applications have driven productivity within the mobile workforce, they have also created new challenges for IT infrastructure.
The tips below will help you prepare your wireless environment to take advantage of the powerful devices and applications that are changing the face of Enterprise business.
Establish a Mobility Council
Your Mobility Council is the group responsible for overseeing your mobile environment. As a consultant to a number of Mobility Councils, we have seen that the most successful groups meet on a quarterly basis and include key technology and financial leaders within the organization.
Some of the responsibilities of your Mobility Council include:
- Creating role-based profiles to establish which job functions get which mobile device with which plans, features, applications, and accessories
- Updating your wireless policy
- Evaluating the effectiveness of your mobile workforce
- Making decisions regarding changes to your mobile environment
Evaluate your Current Mobile Environment
Before complicating your mobile atmosphere with new devices and applications, you need to make sure that you have a good foundation on which to build.
When evaluating your mobile environment, consider the following areas:
- Procurement – Are users getting the devices, plans, and accessories outlined in your wireless policy?
- Asset Management – Do you know who has which device?
- Expense Management – Have you consolidated carriers and plans to reduce your wireless spend? Are you getting your discounts?
- Wireless Service Desk – Are your end-users properly supported?
- Application Support – How are mobile applications currently deployed, updated, and supported?
Standardize and Simplify
In an ideal world, all mobile applications would work on any device with any operating system. Unfortunately, this is not the case. To make matters worse, complete standardization is nearly impossible for enterprise businesses. In our experience, we have found that the devices needed for one department may not be the same as those needed for other job roles. Sometimes, an executive may prefer one device to another or there are so many device types already in use that standardization seems too daunting.
The key is to standardize whenever possible. Not only will you be better prepared to deploy new technology, but it could also reduce the burden on your IT infrastructure and lower your wireless costs.
Own the Device and the Wireless Number
Employee-owned phones can be a huge liability for a company. Their phone number is out there with clients, prospects, and vendors. If they leave, they can take their company emails, contact lists, and phone number with them.
Corporate applications on employee-owned devices pose an even greater risk. It may be difficult to turn off access to company systems remotely and confidential data in the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee could be devastating.
Integrated Mobile strongly recommends a corporate liable model. Not only does it significantly reduce risk, but it also enables you to take advantage of special pricing that can lower your wireless costs.
Determine which Business Activities Stand to Benefit from Mobilization
Mobile applications can reduce costs and streamline all areas of a business from sales and customer service to operations and shipping. While just about any business function can be mobilized, there are areas within your company that stand to benefit the most.
Your Mobility Council should:
- Consult team leaders – Do departments or job roles have challenges that can be resolved with a mobile solution?
- Look at information flow for your mobile workers – Are there purchase orders, work orders, contracts, service forms, or other paper documents that can be better managed with a mobile application? Simply auto-filling information and eliminating double-entry can significantly improve the efficiency of your mobile workforce.
- Consider specific mobile technologies – Mobile devices are more than just phones. Barcode readers, mobile computers, mobile printers, and other tools may help you streamline processes and automate manual tasks.
Research and Identify Mobile Applications
Once you have determined business functions that can be improved, the next step is to identify applications that will mobilize these activities.
Some key considerations include:
- Longevity – Whether you plan to deploy an application across your entire organization or to specific teams, you need to make sure that the application will continue to be maintained and supported.
- Provisioning – How is the application deployed and configured?
- Updates – How are updates performed? Can they be done remotely? Are they intuitive enough to trust to the end-user?
- Support – Does the application provider offer support or will you be responsible for training your IT team or outsourcing support?
- Centralization and Remote Control – For large-scale deployments, it is important to be able to manage the application from a central location and make changes remotely.
- Integration with Existing Systems – Does the application work with your existing systems? Is it a seamless integration or will it require development resources?
- Security – Security should be a high priority with any mobile application you choose.
Support Your Mobile Workforce
BES, Goodlink, Activesync, and other applications have made mobile workers more effective, but having the applications installed is only part of the battle.
In order to fully take advantage of these technologies, you must make sure your end-users are trained and that the applications themselves are properly deployed, managed, and supported.
If your in-house IT staff lacks the training or bandwidth, to adequately support your end-users, consider outsourcing your help desk to Integrated Mobile. We offer certified Tier 1, 2 and 3 support, and often a positive ROI can be achieved through reduction in downtime and the freeing up of your IT help desk resources to support more strategic efforts.
Don’t Leave Security up to the End-User
The average mobile device user does not have the knowledge or experience to keep their mobile device, applications, and data secure. Whether you train or supplement your internal IT staff or hire an outside company like Integrated Mobile, experts need to make sure that the devices are configured properly, security measures are implemented and enforced, and confidential data is securely encrypted.
Perform your Application Updates
Application updates can be a hassle, but are extremely important. While some may simply extend functionality, many updates fix serious issues and patch security holes. Application updates need to be performed in a timely manner and functionality changes should be communicated to end-users.
Continue to Monitor your Mobile Environment
A successful mobile environment requires ongoing attention. Gather feedback from your end-users and make sure your Mobility Council stays informed on both positive and negative mobile experiences. This will make it possible for them to make educated decisions regarding any changes that need to be made.