In January 2012 Gartner announced that mobile technology was the second most important item on priority lists of global CIO’s. Eighteen months later, the number of organizations that indeed has implemented numerous apps, solutions or mobile strategy platforms seems to be a lot lower than expected. Why hasn’t the expected momentum come to its full potential? I have experienced that some important factors for success are often forgotten. Let’s provide some tips…
Since 2011, mobility has been a rock solid topic of numerous events, seminars and marketing campaigns. A lot of organizations read countless publications and observes reports of respected authorities like Gartner, Forrester and Yankee Group. All of this buzz has put enterprise mobility on the agenda at most board room or management team meetings. “Mobility− everybody is doing it. How are we going to make sure that we keep up with our competitors?” In 2012, the Gartner Executive Program concluded that mobile technology was the second most important topic on the priority lists of questioned CIO’s of global organizations.
Of course the question we have to ask ourselves now is: “How many of those organizations eager to get going with mobile solutions have indeed implemented or rolled out mobile solutions to their end users (either employees or customers)? From my own experience I can say that this number of companies doesn’t live up to the expectations. CIO’s are not in the position they pictured when asked by Gartner in 2012. Why haven’t they leveraged the momentum since 2011? Why does mobility still seem to be a technology driven topic?
Listen to each other!
In my opinion one of the biggest problems is the fact that IT departments are not aligned with the business partners or customers within organizations. Business managers visit the same seminars as the IT manager and architects, but somehow they take back a whole different set of lessons learned. Where the IT guys focus on things like standards, device management, security policies and mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAPs), the business people have focused on hard numbers! A commercial director goes home from an enterprise mobility seminar thinking: “If I can mobilize my sales force within the next six months, my revenue will rise with xx million dollar and the data in my back end CRM system will be xx percent more accurate which will save me an xx amount of money over time”. He doesn’t care about security or policies!
Of course the commercial director wants to execute this plan sooner rather than later, because he will instantly benefit from the solution the minute it is live and rolled out to his sales crew. The IT department however, wants to make sure that the solution is in line with policies and does not jeopardize any important aspects of things like the architecture, infrastructure and application management policies. IT’s job is to facilitate the business to perform optimally, but is IT able to tag along and follow the pace of the business in mobility? A big risk when IT takes too much time, is that the business starts to engage with providers and executes its own strategy without consulting or complying with the internal IT departments. This has severe implications like bad application management, security breaches and bad integration points with existing system landscapes.
Who’s the boss?
So who’s in charge? Yankee Group researched who actually makes decisions on mobile policies and strategy in a variety of organizations. The executive management is still on top, but surprisingly enough (at least to me it was a surprise) the IT department still has a very big influence. Fifty percent of respondents said that the IT department makes the crucial decisions in defining the enterprise mobility strategy. No wonder that IT still has the stigma of being isolated and not supportive enough to businesses. After IT, the departments with the most influence on mobile decisions are customer service, sales and operations. Exactly! Business driven departments, but they seem doomed to get in line after IT.
In my opinion there are two mobility roadmaps in most organizations: the business roadmap and the IT roadmap. It is crucial to align these two and keep them in sync along the way. How? In my experience the best way is to take the first steps on both roadmaps in parallel. Start with mobilizing a relatively simple business process, giving IT the chance to shape its mobility policy and guidelines. Start with a small number of users and utilize the first mini project to create momentum and awareness within the entire organization. Organize road shows and gather requirements, wishes and preferred solutions through the entire organization. That way you’ll have the room to create the optimal mobility policy, serving everybody’s needs. Don’t limit your possibilities by starting with a complex and big project that requires a complex and custom architecture, because that will limit possibilities for future initiatives. Assign an integration manager that is responsible for alignment and keeping business and IT roadmaps and department in sync. The buzz will spread very fast and other departments will knock on the door to tag along before you even know it! For instance, go with a standard Fiori app. Low cost, sexy user interface and a simple process that instantly helps people.
Define a project where the procurement department will take the first step to offer the managers an approval app together with IT. Because IT is involved from the start, the app will comply with all IT policies. The best way forward is to try and pick up standard solutions from the market. Not only with regards to apps, but also try to leverage existing IT infrastructure. If your company uses iPhones, please choose this as a starting device and don’t bother to completely define a BYOD policy. Take a standard app and try to customize it your specific business needs. This will mean much faster time-to-market and IT will have an easier job supporting it. IT will have a starting point in defining mobile application management policies, will have the possibility to work on a mobile change management procedure and will make sure that everything is secure through standard possibilities delivered by the standard app. The investment will be relatively low, standards apps are quite easy to leverage on to a mobile enterprise application platform and the implementation and roll out is possible in just a matter of weeks! Even if the app is not to be migrated to a future architecture the lost investment will be worth it, because you have just learned how a mobile project is performed within the specific organization.
Another picture that shows the importance of cooperation, but this time the end user is standing in the middle:
Think big, start small!
With SAP Fiori and a solid methodology to perform a cooperative project, you have all the tools to start small and efficient and stay scalable and flexible. It’s safe to conclude that starting small is a very good way to have a scalable, aligned and future-proof mobility strategy. Most importantly, by involving both business and IT you make sure that everybody is on the same page with regards to mobility. You could use Design Thinking and Agile delivery methodologies for this (User Centered Design and User Centered Delivery). This approach focuses entirely on business and IT collaboration, both in design and delivery. Somebody would have to have very strong arguments not to comply with earlier decisions, because all decisions are made in conjunction with all stakeholders. Appoint an integration manager in charge of alignment and synergy. Keep IT in the loop and make sure that you create the optimal environment for IT to perform their actual job: facilitate business units in creating more value for the company. If you start small and aligned, the momentum will be optimal and the first project will be like a small train starting on a small station − it will grow bigger and bigger with more carts attaching along the way. When you arrive on Central Station after some time, all travelers that have tagged along will be forming a companywide mobility program that benefits the entire organization and creates more customer and employee satisfaction.
Disclaimer: This blogs text was originally written by me, edited by Ciber Corporate Marketing, before they published it in the US on a corporate website. I have tried to re-edit it and lose the marketing sauce put over it by my Marketing minions 😉 . I think the key message of this blog is clear and I also think that the picture of the UCD2 poster suits the article well. And yes, it has a company logo on it. This community is about sharing opinions and sharing knowledge, not about thriving against any possible commercial influence from companies.
I think we should focus on the message I try to bring and not on possible marketing, commercial insight, or any other gain for my or any other company. This blog is my personal view on this topic and has nothing to do with Ciber. I do apologize if that was not clear from the first moment you’ve all read this blog. Let’s discuss about the topic in the comments 🙂