4 steps to align your mobile and business strategies

By Matt Bragaw, Mobility Services Portfolio Manager, End User Computing Strategic Practice, Dell Inc.

When aligned with business strategy, technology has the power to drive meaningful outcomes. Yet, when it comes to mobile technology, more than half of organizations say their mobile and business strategies are not aligned, according to the Dell Global Technology Adoption Index. And that’s a major missed opportunity. 

Many mobility initiatives are spun up in response to spot requests from line-of-business managers. And some mobility programs struggle to simply keep up with the devices and apps employees bring in on their own. For example, according to the 2014 Global Evolving Workforce study, 54 percent of companies worldwide allow BYOD, yet only 27 percent secure personal devices. 

In my experience, future-ready enterprises maximize business results by replacing the reactive approach to mobility with a more thoughtful approach. They recognize that mobility is not just an IT initiative; it’s a business initiative that requires a deep understanding of the business’ goals and a purposeful response. 

Below are four steps to ensure your organization is putting mobility in the proper strategic context. 

1. Understand end user behavior

Mobility should focus on empowering your workforce to more effectively achieve business goals, be it improved supply chain efficiency, enhanced sales productivity, or better customer service. To do that, you need to understand various user groups and the work activities they engage in regularly. For this step, we developed a mobility index, which measures where, when and how different users get their jobs done. We use this information to develop workflow-specific mobility requirements that directly support business goals. 

2. Assemble a cross-functional steering committee

The success of your mobile strategy lies in its support, adoption and execution across the organization. Your steering committee should be small enough to remain agile, but still include representatives from all of the major stakeholder groups, including IT infrastructure, IT security, human resources, and business-critical user groups (such as sales or marketing). Assembling this team requires a thorough understanding of your organizational structure, key influencers and the perspectives each participant brings to the discussion.

3. Embrace the latest technology

Whatever your business goals, achieving them will require a workforce that operates with speed, agility and confidence. Mobile technology can facilitate this, but only if it’s grounded in an integrated ecosystem of foundational technologies. For example, the cloud effectively delivers mobile services and data to the people who need it, anywhere. In addition, cloud capabilities can provide cost savings while increasing IT agility, which translates to business agility. And security must not throttle productivity by restricting the flow of data. Instead, leverage solutions that secure the data itself so that it can flow freely without risk. 

4. Pilot and iterate

A thoughtful test and rollout strategy is critical for widespread adoption. Validate proofs of concept with the steering committee and then, through controlled pilots, introduce users to the new experience. Incorporate feedback and iterate until you have a solution that will meet the needs of the business, and then scale. As technologies, business requirements, and user needs change, continue to validate any new or upgraded service before releasing it to all users. 

Mobility has the potential to be more than just a productivity enhancer. When you start with a deep understanding of business goals and the way your workforce goes about achieving them, it can be a fundamental driver of business success. So think business strategy first, and your mobile strategy will follow.

About the Author: Power More