Avoiding Three Common Mistakes In Mobile
Most CIOs in the utility sector could tell you how important mobility is to their future IT plans. Not surprisingly, it ranks near the top in strategic initiatives and planned IT spend for most organizations. In fact, spending on mobile projects will grow 100% by 2015 and more than half of business decision makers have already increased their budgets this year according to a recent study by Forrester Research.
Unfortunately, mobility also presents an enormous challenge to implement based on the fast pace at which it is evolving. Most utilities want to take a best practices approach to mobile, but need to avoid some common mistakes other industries and early adopters have made. This means finding a path that makes short-term progress with technology investments that will be protected long term.
Mobility is now having an impact in almost every area of commerce and industry vertical. Moreover, it has become a much broader landscape to manage than just smartphones and tablets and support for BYOD. A true mobile strategy requires implementing a system that engages the user, provides access to data and drives productivity while complying with IT security policies and road maps. IT architectures must adapt to the new standards of experience, performance and security to ensure user adoption and successful mobile initiatives. Adding more complexity, the lines have blurred between consumers and employees for app design and delivery. The user expectation of a dynamic experience from an intuitive application is the new standard of enterprise mobility. Once reserved for consumer facing applications, productivity and B2E apps now need to deliver the same polish and experience. The challenge with these two distinct target audiences is to support both within a single framework through a unified mobility strategy.
However, due to the staggering increase in demand, solutions providers, vendors and consulting groups have flooded the marketplace with content, devices, software and services. The overload of information available makes it extremely difficult to sift through data to create a mobility strategy and formulate a plan.
For utilities looking to start crafting a mobility strategy or simply begin implementing a mobility solution, here are three common mistakes to avoid:
1.Focusing On the Issue Rather Than the Solution: It is human nature to focus on the acute pain that is ailing us and how to make it stop. Most companies take this exact approach with their mobility strategy. They concentrate on the specific mobile issue at hand that is negatively impacting their company.
Unfortunately, a mobile solution spans far beyond solving a single business or technical challenge. Automation speeds everything up which now affects how other connected business units operate. For instance, the accounting department may be used to receiving invoices at a certain rate or managers monitoring standard workloads. If field activities become more efficient, but no change is made to assist the supportive business units at headquarters, mobile automation has now caused multiple bottle necks and inefficiencies.
2.Product vs. Plan: If you are evaluating mobile technology and vendors, you have a clear choice to make. Do you choose a product or a plan? Specifically, do you take a tactical approach and build or purchase applications to fit immediate needs or take the time to ratify a plan that not only focuses on solutions, but improving processes as well?
The mistake made here is to not fully consider the ramifications of the path chosen before the decision is made. There are too many complexities to designing, deploying and supporting a mobility solution for a CIO and their team to try to quickly learn everything during a sales cycle. Moreover, not enough time is spent on factoring in the impact automation has on operations, sales and support. Take the time to identify the benefits and challenges of a short term product decision vs. a long term plan. A successful mobile strategy will accomplish both.
3. Process, Process, Process: There is a disproportionate amount of focus on mobile technology and not enough on the process it will be applied to. CIOs need to identify the critical workflows, data structures and user requirements that are involved and address the inefficiencies long before technology is involved. Trying to implement best in class technology with poor business processes is never a good idea.
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