What is your “internal” mobile strategy?

By this point you have already decided that mobile needs to be a part of your business and what the metric is that you will judge its merit and future within your organization. Two critical pieces of developing your mobile strategy for sure.

Along with determining the above, you have also determined that the appropriate place for you to focus your mobile efforts are either inward or outward. Let’s take a closer look at some strategies if you’ve decided to focus on your internal processes.

What is “internal” focus?

Quite a bit of press – well, all of it actually – has focused on the consumer side of the mobile industry. Productivity apps, games, music services, payment services – you name it, there has been press for it. One of the realizations among thought leaders in the industry is that the size of the enterprise – or internal mobile market – will trump the size of the consumer one in size, deployment and dollar value. Make no mistake, consumer mobile is the tip of the iceberg with enterprise making up the rest. And we are NOT talking about the “bring your own device” era nor are we talking about managing the devices (often referred to MDM for mobile device management). Those markets are already in play, for the purpose of your strategy the focus needs to be on one of two areas: Increasing employee efficiency or creating efficient process.

Increasing Employee Efficiency

Why would you want to do this? Spend money on deploying something in the mobile space in order to make employees more efficient? There are countless wasted dollars and person hours that have gone into huge CRM deployments and they have borne great fruit but at a cost that would make you sick today. The idea of spending millions of dollars and taking years to roll something out seems archaic – prehistoric really. Some companies will have to do this – and to you I wish you good luck. To the rest of you count your blessings.

One of the best examples I can give comes from a company I ran for 4 years – Rove. Rove was a mobile software company that built a product called Mobile Admin that allowed IT administrators to manage their entire IT infrastructure from their smartphones. We started this back in 2004 around the time the BlackBerry became a real enterprise tool. This software allowed IT administrators to unshackle themselves from their desks while being on call. In fact, a number of our clients even went so far as to change their oncall requirements once they deployed our product. This one product changed the cost of downtime by reducing the time to action between something going wrong and someone addressing it from upwards of 2 hours down to 11 minutes. The dollar savings were incredible – all from deploying a single enterprise app on all IT smartphones. The secondary result was a much happier on call IT staff.

Often times the first step for mobile is something small and low risk where success and failure can be measured. For a first foray into mobile choosing a small group, identifying ways that mobile can enhance their work experience and rigorously testing the outcomes is a good way to begin. I will cover this entire process in an additional post.

Creating efficient process

There are two ways to think of process – if you are the process owner it is the way companies operationalize repetitive tasks or, if you are the employee, it is the way companies add burden to the work day and lose their ability to innovate. Either way, mobile can be used to bring efficiencies to current, outmoded or out of date processes.

When I think about bad or painful process my mind immediately moves to government. Some of the things they make us do is incredible. There is probably no better example of an organization covering up bad code with more bad code and hiding behind the term “process” – definitely not efficient. Mobile has the ability to terminate all that bad code, all those ugly processes into a “do it” button on your device and, in the United States, President Obama understands this. He has mandated that every single front-facing department in the U.S. mobilize at least 2 services in order to service their constituents more effectively. This is visionary and something that other countries and organizations need to follow for a few reasons:

  1. It creates a “self-serve” market for those that can do it themselves when they need to get it done.
  2. It frees up costs and resources and also allows focus to be spent on the corner cases – those people that actually need help in fulfilling this task.
  3. It allows the government to focus on innovating rather than “managing the process”

Defining what can be mobilized internally

Becoming a mobile-first thinking organization (notice the word “thinking” in there) is more than just handing a device to someone and letting work infringe on their evenings, weekends and golf games. This isn’t about allowing everyone to work from the ball game. This is about making the combination of always-on, enterprise smarts and intuitive self-service offerings a means to an end of redundancy and wasted time – within the organization.

For you, today, right now, what are the things that can be put behind one button. What are the things that can terminate there that, when pressed, would create efficiency? One-click passport renewals based on an authenticated user (tied to our credit card, our cell phone number and billing address?), perhaps the same thing for driver’s license renewals as well. What about internal document management systems that require 4 or 5 different username and password interactions? Could you not authenticate at the device level and just require one login that cascades across the rest? Small as these seem to the process owner, you can bet they are huge impediments to the end users.

Mobile in the enterprise gives us a means to think differently about the way we do things and, should it warrant it, change them for the good.

Are you having challenges starting down this process? I can help. Just reach out to start the conversation.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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