Have you ever really thought about where the true value is in enterprise mobility? Is it replacing paper documents with electronic forms and data? Is it replacing manual processes with automated? Is it about receiving more accurate data from the field? Is it all about speed, accountability and efficiencies? What is it? I think the answer is YES. It is all of the above, but also much more.
Mobile and real-time communications – just think about how you text friends and family today. In seconds you can learn where your friends and family members are and what they are doing. This is a relatively new development for humanity. We are compressing time and action by receiving more information at a faster pace. This capability, however, may also force us to make more decisions faster on smaller data sets.
I read recently that people no longer are asking for detailed location information when meeting people. They simply say, “I will call or text you when I am close. We can figure out where to meet at that time.” This is the result of instant and real time communications.
Decision making solutions – our problem now is how to use the massive amount of information available to us 24 hours a day. How do we consume and interpret this data so that it improves our businesses, and our quality of life. Does getting news updates every 5 minutes on our mobile device really improve our lives? We need to make sure that we are consuming data in the form and frequency that is useful and helps us achieve our goals both personal and professional.
The oil rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico this year was providing vast amounts of real time system data leading up to the failure. In hindsight, the data was predicting failures in the system. The problem was that the data was not being interpreted fast enough to provide value to the team in the field on the rig. The data is there for historians and accident inspectors to review, but not in the form that people needed thw day of the accident. Useful information would have notified the operations team of imminent system failure and instructed the operations team on how to stop it based upon the data.
Context aware applications – Are there questions that we need answered every day? Can enterprise and mobile solutions answer the questions in advance? Based upon your schedule, what tools will you need? What equipment will you need? What parts inventory do you need? How much gas will your truck require today? Should it be filled up before you leave the yard to save time? What should I be selling to the customer based upon their buying habits and the products they already own? Can your enterprise applications ask and answer these questions automatically? If so, that is VERY useful and a true value!
Isn’t it interesting that once the technology has matured to the point of usability, the discussions quickly move to more philosophical issues?