For utility companies mobility has been around for more than a decade with field service and meter reading. But for many years, the mobile solutions were painful, technically complex, had proprietary components and overall a high TCO with low usability.
That kept many users, managers, architects and decision makers away from making mobile solutions part of critical, important or nice to have processes. Only where it was really needed, like in field service, it was implemented and then it came with high costs, odd devices and a funny user interface or with a tiny plastic stick.
What has really changed over the past 2 years is the standardization, the openness and the reliability of mobile products, platforms and tools. Now mobile technology is established to a degree where we can stop discussing many of the technical details.
It is no longer a question how to architect a mobile solution, or if it scales, or how it synchronizes data, or how we secure mobile data or on which device it can run. The foundation has been figured out to a degree we can rely on it and pay for.
The question is rather: How can we make it user friendly? What does the user need in terms of data and features: How many processes and functions are really needed on a phone or tablet?
For the user, what had started with e-mails on the go for everyone is now access to business data for every employee, business partner and customer.
Use an example: You are using 3-10 different applications to manage e-mails, contacts and a calendar. There are big apps on your desktop or laptop (like Outlook or Apple Mail), there are very different smaller apps on your mobile device and there are also apps that you do not install or manage, they are browser based or virtual, for example the web mail access. They all access and present the same data but in different ways and with a very different scope.
On your mobile device with a small form factor, you cannot create distribution lists, retrieve filed e-mails or book a video conferencing room. Is that a problem? Do you need this? If yes, how badly?
Think about it. If this is a priority, it will be built because the technology to do this is available.
That’s how we can look at mobility now. If there is business priority for a mobile solution, it can be build on a reliable platform in a standardized way and it runs on the device of your choice.
Just help to clarify the use case, the mobile scope and then request it. If it is a compelling case, it will be built as a standard product or on a project basis.