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Productivity through Mobility

These days, everyone’s mind seems to be on “mobility” - smartphones, tablets, phablets, mobile apps for consumers, employees, customers, and partners, BYOD, cloud-based services, social media and the “consumerization of IT”.

Whether the context is individual consumers using mobile apps in their personal lives, or a company trying to determine how mobility fits into its strategy for improving the experiences of its employees, customers, or partners - the paradigm shift to mobile functionality is everywhere. The lines between these lives have blurred - most of us now use the same smartphones and tablets for work and personal purposes, and the expectations we have formed as consumers regarding the experience of using these devices and the applications available on them (well-designed UI, intuitive and productive user experience) merge into what we want from the applications we use at work.

Against this fast-moving mobile background it is clear that just having mobile access to e-mail is profoundly insufficient for increasing productivity and producing better-informed employees. The integration of mobile devices such as laptops, tablet computers, PDAs, and smartphones, along with their various applications and software, make it easier than ever for workers to collaborate and businesses to communicate with staff, customers, and vendors.

Delivered poorly, the result is a tremendous number of one-star and two-star applications available in the various app stores, and the poor applications most employees have had to endure at work. These apps make tasks more difficult because of lack of integration among data sources, poorly designed interfaces, and hard-to-understand workflows.

Done properly, the experience delivered, whether personal or professional, is easy to navigate, adds to productivity, and is designed properly for any device used. The trick is to understand what it takes to deliver this experience.

There are a variety of issues to consider in delivering the desired impact by deploying mobile functionality:

  • Is there a clear strategy for why you are deploying a mobile solution that includes clearly defined goals for the organization and the individuals?
  • Is it aligned with the user’s expectations for the experience?
  • Have you defined what “success” looks like? Can the user do the same thing faster? Can they do more things at the same time because of back-end integration and streamlined workflow?
  • Are there metrics to measure your progress in adding value to your customers, employees, or partners?
  • Is the technology infrastructure required to deliver a dependable, scalable experience in place?

Additionally, in order to justify the investments made in mobile solutions, you must be able to measure the impact on business processes, not necessarily the efficiency of employees. Properly designed applications will:

  • Focus on “technology in action”.
  • Measure by function or “scenario” where the technology is in use.
  • Apply different frameworks according to sector (Sales & Marketing, HR, Finance, IT).
  • Include data on financials, number of employees, and IT expenditures and capabilities.
  • Use scorecards to benchmark your company against similar firms.

Stay tuned for additional posts focused specifically on examples of mobile-based productivity in the enterprise.