Of course, if you are in IT at a large company, you should’ve known that. Known that your employees are craving mobile, demanding it, not just so that they can goof off (well, there’s some of that) but because it actually can make them better at their jobs.
Maybe your company has talked the mobile talk. But you know as well as I that talk is cheap. To walk the walk means more than your CEO or CIO mouthing a few words. Culture won’t change permanently if institutions aren’t created to ensure the transformation goes all the way through.
So what mobile institutions does your company need?
1) Your very own corporate Genius Bar. This would be a center on campus staffed by mobile experts to help employees test-drive smartphones and tablets, and help troubleshoot malfunctioning ones, whether personally-owned or corporate-liable. Such Genius Bars would also help employees and managers choose and support the right business and productivity apps that will help them or their business units be more efficient and productive. SAP, my employer, has three such Genius Bars – we call them Mobile Solutions Centers – worldwide today, two of them in India (Mumbai and Bangalore). Ten more MSCs are planned. I don’t know who had the original idea at SAP, but credit SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann – who as we all know is a huge champion of mobile – for making it reality.
2) A Mobile/Mobility Center of Excellence. This is where your company would centralize management and policy-making around the mobile initiatives at your company. It should be comprised of both IT staffers that are knowledgeable in the devices, developers who can write the apps your company wants to deploy, and line-of-business and process experts who can make sure that everything harmonizes with your organization’s strategy.
“By capturing experience, best practices, and reference architectures from mobility projects within the organization, the mobility COE can accelerate deployment within the corporation. In addition, the COE also minimizes overall effort, as each work group or business unit no longer has to reinvent and implement mobility policies on its own,” writes SAP mobile thought leader, Vishy Gopalakrishnan. His whitepaper, Best Practices for a Mobility Center of Excellence gives you an excellent framework and a list of questions to help your company set up a Mobile COE. Or you can watch the webinar with him and SAP Americas CIO Mike Golz to get a high-level introduction.
3) Leading one or both of these institutions would be a Chief Mobile Officer. This would a high-level executive, emerging out of either the business or IT side and reporting to either the CEO or CIO who would be the vocal, visible champion for weaving mobile and mobile-centric processes into how the company does business, according to Forrester Research.
The analyst firm published a report earlier this year arguing that “to remain vital in this business technology reformation, CIOs must step up and work with other executives to establish an office of the chief mobility officer to implement an enterprise-wide mobile strategy.”
One of the reasons why a corporation would want to create an office of the chief mobility officer is to improve coordination of mobile initiatives, Forrester said. “Without [such an office], firms will waste too much time and money as marketing goes after a mobile loyalty app, sales builds tablet apps, the CFO implements mobile expense approvals, the CTO does his app in support of the new smart product line, and the head of Asia resellers builds a mobile dealer app,” Forrester said.
Just having a CMO help coordinate strategy would be huge. According to Forrester, one company it studied had 100 mobile projects underway at the same time. Another was supporting 114 different versions of the BlackBerry operating system.
Besides efficiencies, this also leads to better products as previously disconnected teams are brought together.
In one example, Forrester found that such a mobile architecture team at an unnamed airline refined a mobile seat selector app and saw volume explode from 50,000 to 5 million seat selections a month in the first three months.
Which of these ideas has your company already implemented? Have they succeeded or failed? Which idea would you most want your company make a reality?
Something else that your organization probably needs: a Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP). This enables your developers to write apps once, run them everywhere. Even if you plan to mostly buy off-the-shelf apps or outsource development to ISVs, an MADP helps connect and integrate these apps to your back-end applications, saving you time and money.
If you want to learn more, watch the July 10th Webcast at 11 am ET/8 am PT featuring two heavyhitters: Gartner VP Ian Finley and SAP Global Solutions president, Sanjay Poonen.