Thought Leadership

Enterprise Mobility – Lots of Hype but Where’s the Spending?

Ok sure, mobility is a white hot topic in the enterprise space. But, for all the hype & rhetoric, are enterprises really opening up their purses and spending at levels matching this level of noise? As someone who has been at the forefront of the enterprise mobility space for the past several years, my own experience is that the reality of corporate spending on these initiatives falls far short of the hype. But, to be sure, the reasons for this are actually somewhat understandable.

First, while there is no doubt much that mobility can do to help enterprises in the areas of employee productivity, partnership enhancements and revenue generation, there still remains much more confusion than clarity when it comes to sorting out how to go about achieving these benefits. Why is this? To me, the volatility within the mobility solution provider space is still clicking along at a feverish pace, not to mention the “race to the bottom” with mobility service provider pricing. And these circumstances are not likely to abate any time soon. So, for obvious reasons, in such a highly volatile environment, executives in charge of making the decisions on such solutions/providers naturally are hesitant to make such choices for fear of making a selection only to have something new come along just days, weeks or months later, perhaps negating the value of their selection. As such, this leads to much “pilot” level work within mobility – just enough to keep the higher ups satisfied that progress is happening – but not enough to risk a “career-limiting decision”.

Second, many of the early mobility efforts that were undertaken, were done so on limited budgets to merely “prove the point”. As such, in a world of “you get what you pay for”, the results were rather underwhelming and often led senior management to feel as though mobility is not quite ready for prime time or able to deliver on the promise of fabulous benefits. But, the truth of the matter is that without spending the “right” amount on these mobility initiatives, the lackluster results should have been expected. I have a rather simple mantra about mobility, and specifically ROI from mobility initiatives. It goes like this: “user experience drives user adoption, and user adoption drives ROI.” So, rather simply, if you want to generate ROI from mobility efforts, and who doesn’t want this, you MUST focus on delivering a high quality user experience. But, too many companies (1) don’t have true mobility UX capabilities to match user expectations and (2) don’t budget enough money for these aspects of the project.

Third, companies wish to achieve what I call the “holy grail” of mobility – the highest quality user experience, across the broadest set of devices, at the least costly manner (including initial development and ongoing maintenance/support). But, with all the confusion created by the various development approaches, the myriad promises made by the solution/service providers and the ever-changing landscape of mobility, how can they go about achieving this in a risk-acceptable manner? Of course, that said, my first instinct is to say that with respect to technologies such as enterprise mobility, IoT and the like, companies must generally take a more risk-tolerant attitude. Failure must be tolerated and respected for the learnings they generate. Without a doubt, risk averse companies will be overtaken by those more willing to take risks and garner lessons from the associated failures along the journey. Additionally, companies must take affirmative stances on solutions/providers and just “go for it”. Waiting for the proverbial dust to settle is a sure fire way to be overtaken and fall further and further behind. The “fail fast” mentality is tailor made for enterprise mobility. Finding those technologies that you believe can help achieve the “holy grail” and trying them out immediately is the key to realizing the desired success within these efforts and generating the needed ROI to justify further investments.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of hype about mobility and companies surely desire to reap the benefits promised by this amazing technology. But, the volatility of market conditions and corporate risk aversion are holding back such rewards. The key to unlocking value within enterprise mobility is to focus on UX by creating apps & solutions that people want to use and trying things now vs. waiting for a clear winner to emerge. There are tools today that can get close to achieving the holy grail, certainly close enough for enterprises to try them out. So, work with those experts in the industry who can help sort through the noise to help identify those solution providers that can offer the best opportunity for success and get going. Benefits await those that take the risks.