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Defining and developing an enterprise mobility strategy

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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The modern agile business demands an enterprise mobility strategy so many organisations already have some kind of framework in place. But how do you develop a strategy that meets your mobile computing needs now and into the future?

What information do your employees need?

An efficient and effective mobile computing strategy relies on more than simply replicating the desktop experience externally – displaying information based on context is of greater importance.
The cornerstone questions of enterprise mobility is not “what information do mobile employees need?”, but “what information do employees need right now?”. Your business will need to consider the data demands of the various roles and responsibilities and begin to design apps and solutions to fulfil them.
Information access and delivery based on context will help raise efficiency and productivity by ensuring employees have the right information at the right time.

How do we best present that data?

Making the mistake of replicating the desktop experience for mobile users simply amplifies inefficiencies by adding reduced access speeds and hardware limitations (think small smartphone screens) into the mix. Delivering an acceptable user experience is key to ensuring that mobile employees continue to use the systems provided.
With the question of “what” information resolved, the strategy must then consider the how. Notebook computing requires very little alteration to existing remote access solutions, but is also unlikely to deliver the context-aware experience that makes employees truly efficient.
The rise of smartphones and tablets has helped improve the ability to receive context-based data, but existing backend systems will need to be enhanced to provide delivery. These always-on mobile devices allow for near-instant data access and retrieval based on location, timing or virtually any other variable required for context. Such devices also integrate perfectly with a unified communications strategy, allowing employees to be contacted via any channel, any place, any time.
The advent of wearable technologies like Google Glass and the Apple Watch also offer new ways to deliver context-sensitive data to mobile employees. The use cases for such technologies remain limited at present, but in instances where small amounts of data need to be supplied quickly, they could even trump smartphones and tablets.
Whichever mobile devices are chosen, they will also require custom apps designed to best present information to the user. These apps will be properly-optimised to deal with processing and display limitations of the chosen mobile devices.

What needs to change at the back end?

Most mobile devices have limited capacity for displaying and processing data. This means that much of the computation and data shaping will need to be handled by backend systems like enterprise content management. These systems provide integrated security and auditing along with a way to deliver relevant information to a variety of devices, including mobile.
The enterprise mobility strategy will also need to consider how devices are deployed and managed. Distributing apps, enforcing security rules, and connecting employee devices to corporate resources safely can all be simplified through the use of an effective mobile device management solution. Without such a system in place, the mobility strategy will be unable to properly police data access by connected devices, including personal smartphones and tablets used by employees.

Putting the strategy together

A successful mobile enterprise strategy requires a holistic approach that includes changes inside and outside the corporate network. But beyond app development and back-end modifications, the key lies with context – delivering what your employees need, when they need it, wherever they are. Any strategy that fails to account for this will be less than effective, or even doomed to complete failure.
Looking to develop your mobility strategy? Speak with Tim and Dootrix who were part of the Futures Den at IP EXPO Europe 2014