Enterprise Mobility: Looking Past the Hype to Measure the Investment

Mobility may be a white hot topic in the enterprise space at the moment, explains Jeff Wallace, but for all the hype and rhetoric, are enterprises really opening up their wallets and spending at levels matching all this noise?

As someone who has been at the forefront of the Enterprise Mobility space for several years, my own experience is that the reality of corporate spending on these initiatives often falls far short of the hype. But, to be sure, the reasons for this are actually somewhat understandable.

Untitled-1.jpgFirstly, while there is no doubt that mobility can help enterprises in the areas of employee productivity, partnership enhancements and revenue generation, there still remains much more confusion than clarity when it comes to understanding how to go about achieving these benefits.

Why is this? To me, the volatility within the solution provider space is still clicking along at a feverish pace, not to mention the 'race to the bottom' with mobility service provider pricing. These circumstances are not likely to abate any time soon. Therefore, for obvious reasons, in such a highly volatile environment, executives in charge of making the decisions on such solutions are naturally hesitant to make such choices.

This hesitation comes from the fear of making a selection, only to have something new come along just days, weeks or months later, perhaps negating the value of their selection. As such, this leads to much 'pilot' level work within mobility - just enough to keep the higher-ups satisfied that progress is happening - but not enough to risk a career-limiting decision.

Secondly, many of the early mobility efforts that were undertaken were done so on limited budgets almost just for the sake of it. As such, in a world of 'you get what you pay for', the results were rather underwhelming, and often led senior management to feel as though mobility wasn't quite able to deliver on the promise of fabulous benefits.

However, the truth of the matter is that without spending enough on these mobility 'holy grail' of mobility, which is the highest quality user experience, across the widest range of devices, at the least costly manner (including initial development and on-going maintenance and support).

But with all the confusion created by the various development approaches, the myriad promises made by the solution and service providers, and the ever-changing landscape of mobility, how can they go about achieving this in a risk-acceptable manner?

My first instinct is to say that with respect to technologies such as enterprise mobility, IoT and the like, companies must generally embrace a more risk-tolerant attitude. Failures must be tolerated and respected for the learnings they generate.

Without a doubt, risk-averse companies will be overtaken by those more willing to take risks and garner lessons from the associated failures along the journey. Additionally, companies should begin to take affirmative stances on solutions and just 'go for it'. Waiting for the proverbial dust to settle is a certain way to be overtaken by the competition and fall further and further behind.

The 'fail fast' mentality is tailored to Enterprise Mobility. Finding those technologies that you believe can help achieve the 'holy grail', and trying them out immediately is the key to realising the desired success within these efforts, and generating the necessary ROI to justify further investments.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of hype about mobility, and companies surely desire to reap the benefits promised by this amazing technology. However, the volatility of market conditions and corporate risk aversion are holding back such rewards.

The key to unlocking value within Enterprise Mobility is to focus on UX by creating apps and solutions that people want to use, and trying things straight away rather than waiting for a clear winner to emerge. There are tools today that can get close to achieving these desired outcomes, certainly close enough for enterprises to try them out. So, work with those experts in the industry who can help sort through the noise, to help identify solution providers that can offer the best opportunity for success and get going. Benefits await those that take the risks.

This article was written by Jeff Wallace, Enterprise Mobility Exchange Advisory Council member and Mobility, UX and IoT Specialist.