Is reliability the weak link in your plan for digital dominance?

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For a business to be successful in today’s connected world, a reliable central IT system is not just a target, it’s an expectation. But what about where availability really matters – at the point of contact with the customer?

Data centres today are expected to deliver 99.99 per cent service availability to ensure businesses achieve their digital goals. But while there has been plenty of investment and focus on availability for the “centre”, availability for mobile workers and those who interact face-to-face – workers operating on the “edge” – is often left behind. 

Consumers judge how clean their water is by what is coming out of their tap, not by how efficient the pumping station is. Yet mobile service investment has been heavily skewed to support business operating in the centre rather than where it will be judged – at the edge. 

In fact, given how critical mobile service delivery is to many businesses today, it might come as a shock to know that end-to-end service availability is typically less than 70 per cent. So how are they losing the other 30 per cent? 

Firstly, about half of preventable issues are due to combinations of apps, batteries, charging, wireless networks and user behaviour. Because of the unique circumstances that arise from these combinations, it can be extremely difficult to identify and troubleshoot – especially with the limited tools most businesses have at their disposal. 

Secondly, the other half of preventable issues are caused by deployment based on assumptions and guesswork and/or a startling amount of often unaccountable lost or stolen devices that are missing in action. Many businesses throw a surprising amount of resources at these problems, with varied success rates. 

The good news is that technology can now help to prevent all this. 

The rapid convergence and commoditisation of cloud, API, big data, machine learning and now artificial intelligence technologies enables businesses to address these challenges with a three-step approach:

  • Capture detailed data from Apple, Android and Windows devices when and where things happen, removing the guessing and replacing it with some science. Some data can be acted on immediately, and some is used to learn what to do later. Analytics should also set a good example and be very sparing with its own use of battery, storage and wireless data.
  • Analyse at pace and at huge scale in real time. Pick out the important information and use machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn normal working patterns quickly, and then highlight exceptions and anomalies – enabling you to see the wood from the trees.
  • Visualise the findings or share data with other enterprise IT systems, meaning users can personalise their experience, align specifically with how organisational processes work, and automate the easy and repetitive tasks – collectively this allows staff to focus on the bigger issues.

So how can they put these points into practice?

Evolve or Die

Most enterprises have frontline mobile solutions that are operational, yet few have systems that could be called optimised. They probably have tools for managing and securing mobile systems, but not for improving them.

And that simply isn’t good enough if businesses want to stay ahead of the competition. In fact, research by Forrester found that 61 per cent of customers stopped doing business with at least one company last year as a result of poor customer experience.

But with real time Mobile and Wireless Analytics (MWA), businesses can get the most out of their mobilised services by identifying the issues that regularly impact a mobile deployment, enabling them to take proactive measures to mitigate them.

Organisations can also make the leap from fixing things after they break, to preventing them. This makes frontline staff more efficient, effective and satisfied; leading ultimately to an improved customer experience, driving up customer satisfaction and retention.

Lead the pack

One of the reasons that stops businesses from optimising processes is that the overall reliability of their mobile infrastructure has not kept pace with the significant advances in mobile applications and network capabilities. Software crashes, dropped network connections and dead and dying batteries are all still relatively commonplace.

Organisations need to make their mobile solutions more reliable to realise the productivity improvements, cost savings and customer service benefits from mobility programmes.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) systems assist in deploying, managing, securing and updating applications and mobile devices. But they do not look at either the actual performance of the mobile service end to end, or the wider context. This leaves a substantial gap in ensuring mobile enterprise performance is optimised.

This gap limits an organisations' ability to identify and solve reliability problems and to optimise their mobile solutions, which ultimately reduces user productivity, customer service and the ROI for mobile programmes.

Now organisations can bridge the gap by applying a new type of real time MWA that has been specifically developed for the enterprise. This type of advanced platform lets organisations optimise mobile environments, rather than simply monitoring and troubleshooting them.

Forrester found that in 2017 more than half of organisations (53 per cent) wanted to find new ways to leverage their mobile systems with new capabilities, and 82 per cent said getting actionable insight from analytics, alerts and reporting was important.

But most day to day support for mobile device populations is focused on keeping the lights on.

However, with MWA, organisations can optimise mobile performance and significantly improve their mobile operations, in less time than they were spending simply maintaining the status quo.

MWA provides proactive protection to optimise operations and prevent failures. The technology is a natural and valuable element to add to existing mobility improvement programmes. Improving reliability and performance are essential at a time when organisations and their customers are relying more on mobile service than ever before.

Before the advent of analytics, mobile device capabilities had grown exponentially, while their reliability and the ability to manage mobile devices had improved only incrementally. Mobile and Wireless Analytics closes that gap, so that organisations can optimise their mobile devices, user productivity, and service to customers.

Julie Purves, founder and chief executive, B2M Solutions
Image Credit: Chombosan / Shutterstock