What Are The 3 Elements of Mobile Maturity?
Editor’s note: The following was written and submitted by Dave Schuette, Executive Vice President, Synchronoss Business Unit, exclusively for Enterprise Mobility Exchange.
The path to enterprise mobility enlightenment for an organization is neither easy nor straightforward. Attaining enterprise mobility nirvana involves a balance between three core inter-connected, inter-dependent elements – productivity, contextuality and security.
As enterprises look to progress and evolve their use of mobile, what should CIOs and CSOs aim for regarding each element, in order to achieve the level of mobility maturity that’s suitable for their business needs?
Without knowing clearly what to aim for within each facet of mobility and instead engaging in vague and unfocused mobility projects, organizations risk missing out on the full benefits of enterprise mobility. In the worst cases, these companies fall behind in their effectiveness and performance, and their CIOs’ reputations are jeopardized.
So where should these CIOs be focusing their efforts?
Security incorporates a range of separate ingredients and should be the foundation upon which an organization builds its mobility strategy. After all, any improvements in productivity and business performance from better use of mobility are worthless if your devices and data are vulnerable to theft or malicious internal or external attacks.
Security levels in organizations vary from no device protection at all, through to relying on native OS-based security functionality, such as a password, PIN number or biometric reader (for fingerprints or similar) on the device. Some will require a username and password to access selected apps or on-device containers.
More advanced organizations will roll out multi-factor authentication to their staff’s devices that requires an extra level of authentication, such as a token. This additional requirement of course risks being an obstacle for the user, so even more advanced is to compare current usage of the device against the context of how, when and where the device is usually used to identify whether the additional requirement is necessary.
Finally, the ultimate aspiration is to have sufficiently robust device security in place that staff can use their device itself to authenticate their identity to access external assets or data sources – everything from an encrypted LAN or VPN to actual physical premises.
Improved productivity is the key objective of mobility, therefore measuring the degree and variety of benefits delivered is a crucial part of assessing an organization’s maturity.
The most basic deployments will hinge on providing simple mobility productivity, using remote email, calendar and other PIM tools. Integration with each other and with other apps will be limited (if at all), and so tangible productivity gains will be minimal.
To boost productivity, organizations will look to provide mobility tools that enable secure information-sharing plus internal business process functionality. These range from approval requests to access management and adding comments to documents.
Advanced versions of these tools will integrate firstly with standard mobile apps like email and PIM, and also with the business’s own proprietary apps, whether they have been designed for a certain department or line of business, or for the entire organization.
The most advanced productivity solutions within mobility allow employees to share information beyond simple email processes - not only within the organization, among discrete teams and departments: but also externally, with partners, suppliers, and customers.
Ideally, these advanced productivity solutions also extend to freelancers and other contract workers that are part of the “gig economy”, but do so in a way that doesn’t compromise data security – or wider productivity.
Most enterprise mobility solutions are limited in their scope, and offer little visibility into how mobile devices are being used - and by extension, how or even if employees are benefiting from mobility.
Rather than focusing on TEM data – which is where many enterprises believe mobility begins and ends – enterprises should shift their focus to gathering information on device usage. Where and when devices are used, which apps are most popular or useful, and how data is shared.
This is not a case of ‘big brother’-type workforce monitoring to keep tabs on staff. Instead, it’s about gathering and analyzing contextual data to measure progress – perhaps against departmental KPIs – and to also improve internal processes and ways of working.
By analyzing how workers use their mobile device – when they use it, what apps and features they use, what data and files they access – organizations can examine the results and compare them with the scores of high-performing departments, teams or individuals.
In this way, they can hopefully identify best practices that might otherwise have been overlooked, and replicate them across the wider organization as a means to improve its overall effectiveness.
Forward-thinking organizations will take this process a step further. As well as mobility data taken from the device, they’ll also incorporate in their analysis data from other sources, such as line of business datasets and even connected IoT sensors.
Striking the balance
Organizations need to carefully align all three elements of enterprise mobility – security, productivity, and contextuality - in order to deliver the most advanced and beneficial enterprise mobility strategy. Any strategy that an organization adopts must be capable of delivering the security enterprises need without compromising on the productivity employees want, and using contextuality to achieve the highest levels of both.