Mobile Business Expo: Tips For Building Business Mobility Strategies - InformationWeek

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10/25/2007
12:14 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Mobile Business Expo: Tips For Building Business Mobility Strategies

While everyone talks about mobile strategy plans, it seems we all need help when it comes time how to craft them. In an attempt to help CIOs and IT managers better think about mobility I sat down with Philippe Winthrop, Research Director -- Wireless and Mobility, Aberdeen Group, at Mobile Business Expo to come up with some useful tips for this special edit

While everyone talks about mobile strategy plans, it seems we all need help when it comes time how to craft them. In an attempt to help CIOs and IT managers better think about mobility I sat down with Philippe Winthrop, Research Director -- Wireless and Mobility, Aberdeen Group, at Mobile Business Expo to come up with some useful tips for this special edition of Take 5.Over The Air (OTA): Thank you, Philippe, for sitting down with me this morning. We've heard a lot about vertical markets like field service, health care, and financial services here at Mobile Business Expo, but little about the horizontal office. Why is that? Is the horizontal still a nascent market?

Philippe Winthrop (PW): The challenge with horizontal applications is that they must address the needs of a broad set of constituents. In fact, they have to be industry, job role and size agnostic. Everyone uses email, but not everyone will need field service applications. Because enterprise mobility is still a relatively nascent market, the industry is grabbing the low hanging fruit that will be based on industry specific needs. As the market evolves and matures, both from a vendor and enterprise end-user perspective, you'll see that change.

OTA: What are the first three steps any CIO should take before they craft their mobile strategy?

PW: The three things I would recommend any CIO do -- in no particular order -- would be:

1.) Read as much as you can on the topic. Educate yourself to action.

2.) Get buy-in from your peers. Executive buy-in and collaboration on these projects is the key to driving a true mobile strategy within your organization.

3.) Understand that enterprise mobility is as much about the technologies you will be adopting as it is about the organizational capabilities (the processes, procedures, policies, business rules, etc.) you will put in place.

OTA: Everyone at this show is talking about applications, but I haven't any much in the ways of best practices. Are there any best practices for organizations looking to mobilize?

PW: The best practices are less about the way applications are built but rather about how they are deployed and leveraged within the organization. It's all about including policies for appropriate use of wireless services, business rules around mobile applications, procedural controls in regards to enterprise mobility (Sarbanes Oxley, etc.), standardization of mobile devices/platforms/carriers and making sure there's a 360 degree review process to evaluate/assess current and/or new mobility projects. But make sure to not forget training and support for your mobile workforce.

OTA: While speaking on your panel yesterday, you mentioned hard ROI vs. soft ROI. Are CFOs still demanding hard ROI for push e-mail and other mobile apps?

PW: Interesting question. The ROI on email is soft. But it is a universal application (and a horizontal one going back to your first question). A hard ROI is easier to calculate on vertical or industry specific applications such as Field Service. CFOs will always want a ROI and will have to use their own judgment in regards to how rigorous the ROI calculation should be on horizontal applications.

OTA: What three trends can we expect for business mobility in 2008?

PW: 1.) 2008 is the year of Fixed Mobile Convergence. Unified Communications will play a big part in that equation.

2.) Dual-mode devices will become the norm for the mobile workforce (although battery life will still be a challenge).

3.) Enterprise Mobility will complete the transition from being a "nice to have" to becoming a strategic differentiator to organizations and will therefore get that much more financial consideration within organizations.

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