AUTHOR: Dejan Miletić
Mobility of business operations is opening up a new paradigm. And it's not merely a trend, but a reality. The most dynamic enterprises first place attention on mobile platforms and applications when implementing new services. Organizations in Slovenia (where NIL is headquartered) have been so far fairly conservative regarding business mobility, but even if our companies are taking small steps towards mobility, this doesn't mean that we’re not equipped with such solutions. Mobility is all about proactivity, which is always a welcome feature in any line of business.
Many users want to be flexible and are largely using mobility features, whether their companies are officially facilitating them or not. Access to e-mail, contacts, calendar, internal web applications and sources, managing and synchronizing documents from various mobile devices are some of the most frequently used mobile business scenarios today. The companies that do take this mission seriously and decide on offering mobility to their employees quickly find out that this opens up a whole new work dimension to employees. They can securely access the company's document system and collaboration applications from any device. All their business tools are always within reach – from their pocket or purse.
Three crowns of mobility
Modern business mobility, in technological circles known as Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), consists of three major technologies. Increasing numbers of Slovenian companies are implementing the Mobile Device Management (MDM) system, but are placing less attention on the other two foundations. Mobile Application Management (MAM) is responsible for making sure that business applications on devices are securely separated from all other sections and as a result significantly less vulnerable in cases when smartphones, tablets and/or laptops are lost or subject to security violations. The final part of the puzzle is Mobile Content Management (MGM), a system which ensures that the content on mobile devices doesn't get into the wrong hands. Here at NIL we are implementing the MobileIron solution, which is one of few available solutions capable of managing devices as well as applications and content.
Smart mobility implementation
The “all-inclusive” mindset isn’t the right answer for mobility. Experts advise companies to first go through a thorough inspection of business processes and decide which business applications should be facilitated on mobile platforms. Additionally, you need to place yourself in the user's shoes and ask yourself which individuals will benefit most from mobility and which work-related aspects will be most affected by it. As we know, in ensuring mobility of business operations, the key component is user experience, and this significantly differs for a sales expert or for and engineer, for example.
With mobility, age make all the difference
Let’s be honest – training and informing users are key factors when implementing mobility. Younger generations are more up-to-date with technological changes and new ways of work than our senior colleagues. However, all employees must be instructed on how to correctly handle mobile devices. The new way of work must be easy to manage, otherwise you could come across users who avoid these new approaches even though they are handed a top-of-the-line solution. Many users also have reservations regarding the level of supervision. To such users you have to explain that all security mechanisms are a necessary evil, making sure that all business data and information are well protected. But I agree that from an employee's point-of-view, the best option are solutions that practically don't leave the feeling of Big Brother watching you.
Answers to Chief Officers
Company management always wants to know first how business will benefit from mobility or what’s its added value. Considering these questions I can say that there are three most evident advantages of implementing business mobility. In addition to enabling adaptability of business operations, mobility also increases productivity of employees and increases customer satisfaction.
The CFO will definitely want to get into figures and expenses. The required investment is proportional to the size of their organization and it typically ranges within four to five-digit figures. It's a relatively simple license model – licenses are charged per device or per user, and maintenance isn’t a big expense, resulting in a quick ROI. This of course depends on how a company measures ROI. I would recommend taking into account several factors such as key sales indicators, customer satisfaction and response, etc. For the CEO, other factors are crucial. Business agility and employee productivity are important, but the greatest motive for implementing mobility is frequently business continuity.
The most difficult task is left to the CIO. Implementing mobility for business operations opens up the company’s infrastructure and data to the outside environment, consequently bringing additional risk. It's up to the CIO to facilitate a user-friendly implementation of the solution and adequate security. Otherwise, business mobility loses its purpose.