Today’s business leaders face complex challenges about whether and how to incorporate today’s technology into their strategic plans. As if dealing with ever-expanding social media and software options were not enough, along comes the increasingly sophisticated world of mobile technology with its dizzying array of apps. Mobile today is much more than just a way to check your email when you’re on the road. But, what exactly should –and shouldn’t –employees have access to on their devices?
Although quick to endorse cell phones as a way to get in touch with management and key employees both during and outside of work hours, many companies have not shown the same level of interest towards providing these same workers with the apps that would make them most productive. In its latest report on what it calls “enterprise mobility,” Altimeter Group discovered that the rollout of mobile strategic initiatives is still in the infancy stage at most companies, if it exists at all.
The author of this study, Altimeter industry analyst Chris Silva, found organizations that were early adopters of mobile technologies as business tools learned over time that different devices and apps were better suited for certain jobs than for others. Based on their experiences, Silva proposes that the key to developing an effective mobile strategy involves three elements: looking at which employees would benefit from using mobile, figuring out how they would use it, and then determine which devices and apps would make the most business sense.
Let’s take a look at each component:
- The who: Employees who primarily work in the field, such as salespeople and service technicians, are obvious first choices when it comes to those who would find mobile connectivity beneficial. The study found that company executives came in second, followed by technical and information staff.
- The how: When looking at companies that already utilize mobile apps on a wide scale, researchers noticed that management and employees in these organizations tend to use their devices either to consume information, process or compile data, or collaborate with other employees or entities.
- The what: The field workers in this study were more inclined to favor apps that helped them foster collaboration and exchange information on the go, while information workers, the consumers, leaned towards those that made it the easiest for them to find what they needed to do their jobs. Executive and technical staff appreciate tools that are the least cumbersome but most functional.
Performing an evaluation of these three key factors allows employers to make the best decisions on which apps and devices would lead to the greatest levels of productivity and employee satisfaction. However, as mobile technology continues its rapid evolution, I have no doubt that ongoing and regular re-evaluations will be necessary.