Tailoring mobile business solutions for success

Mobile technology changes rapidly. It's a challenge for any company to keep up to date. But some techniques can be applied to ensure successful mobile innovation for a business.

The largest challenge for any company is beginning. There are debates, meetings and decisions that seem to be endless. This has to stop. The most efficient method of getting started using mobile in the enterprise is to realize that it has already begun. The number of people, specifically Millennials, using mobile to speed up their day-to-day work activities is growing exponentially.

The knee-jerk tools to deploy into a company are email and calendar support. Just these two tools transform how productive everyone becomes. Specifically, Microsoft and Google have gone to great lengths to make their mail services mobile friendly and can help develop successful mobile business solutions.

The next big win is activating Office 365 or Google Docs. Again, both Microsoft and Google have gone to great lengths to make their tools Mobile First. In many ways, email and office productivity tools are "gimmes" that should be a baseline for getting started with mobile business solutions.

The second level of apps that can be used typically fall into the following categories:

  • Communication
  • Notification
  • Task management

Communication is the center to getting things done. Companies such as Slack, a hybrid of text messaging and email, and Do, a company revolutionizing meeting management, are transforming how companies share information. Try it with your team for a month and watch how communication transforms.

Managing Mobile Moments

Tools are foundational to driving successful mobile business solutions. What is needed early in mobile usage are tools that illustrate where mobile can be successful. Google coined a phrase two years ago: "mobile moments."

Essentially, a mobile moment is the short section of time that allows for a task to be completed successfully. Consider this: During the day, there are many examples of idle time. They include:

  • Waiting for the elevator.
  • Waiting to pick up your kids after school.
  • Standing in line at the DMV.

The time spent waiting in line adds up quickly. Each of these examples of time wasted can now be opportunities for time well used. During a mobile moment, you can do the following:

  • Check email or move a meeting.
  • Review a Word or PowerPoint document.
  • Provide feedback to a team discussion.
  • Approve a purchase order or travel expense.

Interestingly, my experience has shown that it is hard to present the value of mobile moments to businesses until after they have been using essential productivity tools.

Building the right team

The great people in a mobile team can make all the difference to how mobile business solutions are accepted within a company. The following is a model that has been used successfully for many midsize and large firms:

  • Core team: The focus for the core team is to be both evangelists and project managers for mobility. Their goal is to make sure the business is getting value from mobility.
  • DevOps team: Mobile solutions execute at a different pace to previous technologies. The continuous release cycle of a mobile team requires an effective DevOps team who can keep the apps always fresh

The core team is essential to success. Choose the people who will be the key advocates for mobile carefully.

Developer teams can flex. Do not rely too heavily upon recruiting skilled people. Solution delivery has matured rapidly over the last few years, with options such as crowdsourcing and offshore outsourcing providing very competitive results. There is a need to provide an extra layer of guidance between the two. This is where tools such as Slack and JIRA can help speed up communication, maintain focus and ensure that work is delivered in short sprints.

Taking mobile to the next level

The goal of making mobile enterprise solutions successful in any organization is to let it grow at its pace. It is worthwhile to check and adjust every three months. It is amazing how much can change in a three-month period for mobile.

What can be stated for a fact is that consumers and employees are looking at mobile as the replacement for PCs. 

Next Steps

Selecting the right Web and mobile integration platform

Five most common mobility challenges

Should wearable apps be involved with a mobile strategy?

Dig Deeper on Mobile app development