Don’t Forget To Factor In Mobile Workers In The Mobile Age

Assess Your Mobile Maturity Because New Generations Demand Higher Technology Standards

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Esther Shein

Working remotely on company-issued devices certainly isn’t anything new in 2018. As a result of the rise of mobile operating systems, IT faces a different paradigm for mobile work: multifunctional smartphones and tablets that are more focused on end users than ever before.

It behooves businesses to adapt to this shift and pay closer attention to the needs of their mobile workforce because the distance between workers and their office desks is increasing, according to a new IDG/Insight report Surviving the Age of Mobility. That means having a laser focus on your external customers and your mobile workers so that they can maintain high levels of productivity outside the office.

Crafting the preferred mobile experience

The report cites a study by The Economist, which finds companies with effective mobility strategies are rated higher by employees in attracting talent (17%), getting their employees’ best work (15%), and enabling creativity and innovation (14%) than companies that are seen as behind the curve. 

“This data hints at a larger cultural shift: Technology has become an undeniable force in how workers perceive their careers and their employers,’’ the mobility report states. “As a result of this disruption, IT often finds itself teetering between two objectives: providing the most preferred experience for modern end users and doing so strategically, efficiently and in a way that yields long-term value for the organization.”

There’s another dynamic at work. “The innovation rate in mobile devices, social software, and cloud computing is accelerating faster than the enterprise adaptation rate,’’ observed Paul DeBeasi, research vice president at Gartner, in a recent enterprise mobility trends and challenges webinar.

SinceIT organizations must now contend with the highly dynamic nature of mobility and increasing fragmentation of end points, they should consider the back-end processes and end user experience when building out a mobile strategy.

“More mature organizations can use mobility to create breakthrough transformation, whereas less mature companies typically struggle just to manage mobility effectively,’’ the report asserts.

5 levels of enterprise mobile maturity

The report cites five levels of enterprise mobility maturity, and maintains that a company’s ranking on this scale determines whether the organization is fully prepared to transform: Functional; Enabling; Contributing; Differentiating; and Transformational.

To assess your mobility maturity, enterprises should analyze where they are in:

• Device support

• Mobile policies and governance

• Security and compliance

• End-user satisfaction

• Applications

• Integration with other infrastructures

• Cost containment strategies

It doesn’t matter if you’ve already embraced mobile devices in your environment — if you find the experience inconsistent or chaotic, you can benefit from an assessment. The report also advises that multiple maturity levels can be identified within a given category.

Each maturity level has its own set of identifying characteristics, and this type of comprehensive assessment is necessary to pinpoint an organization’s maturity levels accurately. How do you know if your organization ranks near the bottom? The report lists some attributes that such companies have in common:

• Devices issued based on job titles rather than need

• No clear assessment of BYOD status or related policies

• No recent assessment of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) product

• Uniform device security regardless of variability in risk among user groups

• Limited support and operational practices, including delays in lost/stolen device response, poor end-user feedback and “best effort” support

• Minimal use of mobile applications

• Weak mobility governance with limited mechanisms for feedback to IT from the lines of business

The report claims your organization falls at the upper end of mobile maturity if it displays these characteristics:

• Recognition of mobility’s role in transformation and ensuring foundational status in IT strategy

• Identification and application of user segments and profiles to enable role-based technology deployment, support, financial reimbursement, and security posture

• IT governance that emphasizes business enablement and collaboration

• Broader deployment of proven applications

• The development of a framework and some deployments of vertical applications for line-of-business process improvement and automation

Starting your mobility journey

On a scale of one to five, most companies fall into the 1.5 to 2.5 range of mobile maturity, according to the report. “Companies that want to fulfill their potential in an increasingly mobile-first business environment should consider an expert maturity assessment that accurately identifies their current and target characteristics within a realistic time frame,’’ it notes.

Mobile maturity assessment is typically the first step, and once you’ve identified the friction points, you can then then come up with an actionable roadmap that defines critical milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) for executing the mobile strategy.

Whether you’re building a mobile experience from inception or improving existing processes, take a big-picture view of mobility so you can drive efficiencies during every phase of the mobile device lifecycle. Employees who consider their companies strong in mobile adoption have higher productivity levels, satisfaction, and loyalty, the report stresses.

“No matter where you are on your mobility journey, one thing is certain: As newer generations enter the workforce, they bring with them more exacting standards for technology,’’ the report concludes. “They’ll continue to introduce new device types into the enterprise ecosystem. And IT’s role, discreet but powerful, will become the true pulse of this digital workforce as it bridges the gap between people and technology.”

This article was originally published on Enterprise Mobility Exchange.