Top 6 Takeaways from Enterprise Mobility Exchange Vegas

The Exchange’s co-chairmen share their top takeaways from the event around UX for employees, IoT challenges, top-to-bottom security, mobile app delivery and more.

Last month saw Enterprise Mobility Exchange returning to Las Vegas, bringing together 100 CIOs, VPs, Directors and Heads of Enterprise Mobility, IT, Field Service and Application Development from enterprises across the United States, for insightful speaker sessions, networking opportunities and one-to-one business meetings.

Discussion topics during the three-day event included transforming mobile data into valuable insights for customer satisfaction, how IoT serves the enterprise, and setting standards and best practises for a fully integrated marketing strategy, with speakers from organisations such as Amtrak, FirstEnergy, Google, Nordstrom, Uber and Wells Fargo.

The Exchange chairmen, Eugene Signorini, Mobile Strategist, Consultant & Thought Leader, and Jeff Wallace, Founder & President of Global Kinetics, shared their top 3 takeaways each from the event, highlighting insights into user-experience for customers and employees, challenges in IoT beyond mobile devices, and why all employees – not just IT – should consider security matters.

Eugene Signorini’s key takeaways from the Enterprise Mobility Exchange Las Vegas

1. User-centered design is making inroads into employee-facing apps (finally)

Companies appear to understand that great UX isn’t just for their external customers, but that the same principles must apply to their internal employee customers as well.

In their keynote sessions, both Derek Chan from Alaska Airlines and Sean Kennedy from Amtrak emphasised that really understanding user roles and needs is critical to successful implementation and adoption.

Unfortunately, UX has taken a backseat in many enterprise applications, but we’re finally seeing a recognition that this must change.

2. "Mobile Only" is the new "Mobile First"

The concept of "mobile first" thinking has been talked about widely over the past few years, as companies recognise that mobile devices are becoming the primary point of engagement for many consumer interactions.

However, at this year’s event, both Google and Uber were on stage talking about a shift in thinking from "mobile first" to "mobile only".

Google’s Olivier Colinet emphasised that all the disruptive innovations happening in the broader technology market rely on two fundamentals – mobile and cloud – and therefore they have really become a mobile first business.

Likewise, Uber’s Luis Madrigal explained that Uber exists only because of mobile, and as a result that dictated their entire approach to architecture, development, security and design.

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3. Delivery velocity is key for mobile success

With mobile initiatives evolving from just 1-2 or a small handful of projects within organisations to a larger requirement for most (if not all) applications, the challenge of effectively developing and deploying mobile apps can be staggering.

Oracle’s Rob O’Farrell described this problem of "velocity", meaning enterprises must prepare for both increased scale and speed of delivery. Not only does this require a fundamental change in dev-ops from traditional waterfall methodologies to an agile approach, but also necessitates companies to create efficiencies in how they expose information from back-end systems and tap into a broader set of mobile services.

Jeff Wallace’s key takeaways from the Enterprise Mobility Exchange Las Vegas

1. Customer/User Experience is critical and far broader than most people are thinking

From the panel discussions on CX to informal "water cooler" chat, attendees are talking about the importance of CX/UX. And beyond just thinking about UX as "front end" considerations, the reality is sinking in that CX/UX also has big considerations for the back end systems.

A great design without the back end system readiness will ultimately result in a poor quality UX. So, UX needs are paramount and encompass design, user journeys, back end system optimisation, etc.

Companies seem to be coming up the learning curve on these aspects.

2. Security must be everyone's concern

While IT is always thinking about security, especially when each mobile device is now connected to various back end systems, it is becoming clearer that ALL employees must pay proper consideration to security matters. With headlines chronicling breach after breach, no company wants to find themselves as the next such headline.

Security must be contemplated from broad perspectives including device, system, network and data. Only a comprehensive security strategy will truly minimise the likelihood of an "incident". These challenges were discussed at length by several of the speakers and even during table talks.

3. IoT is consuming enterprise mobility

While a lot of the discussion is about "enterprise mobility", the reality is that mobile devices are merely just "connected things" in the broader realm of IoT.

A closing panel with Toby Redshaw, CEO of Kevington Advisors and Brian Laughlin from Boeing shared how IoT was becoming a more frequent conversation in companies and brings with it a series of challenges that go beyond those only associated to mobile devices.