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Industry Insight

Make the move

Why do companies still lag in embracing mobile solutions?

South African companies are not doing enough when it comes to implementing mobile solutions. There still seems to be a disconnect between the needs of the business and the deliverables the IT department can produce.

This discrepancy stems from business wanting to mobilise, build apps, and reach out to its customers and staff, and IT departments that want to limit and control mobile devices. While both agree that using mobile devices and solutions are necessary in today's connected world, they struggle to find common ground. Business wants apps and content delivery, while IT departments are focusing on securing and managing mobile devices, with little or no focus on application and content management. This often results in less than satisfactory results, with IT not really being able to deliver the required business needs.

But what is preventing this from happening?

Fear of the unknown

One of the biggest concerns comes from a lack of understanding what is required from mobile solutions. Decision-makers are still worried about security and other technical issues around mobility that have already been solved. On the other hand, IT departments are paralysed by the move towards BYOD (bring your own device), and feel they have to solve both staff and organisational issues when it comes to implementation. Instead, they just need to focus on how the needs of the business can be met.

When it comes to mobile, many companies manage their devices without corporate app stores and secure content management, and the focus is on the device itself. This all but guarantees failure. Mobility has a viral attach rate that comes with high expectations from users. This stems from their own (consumer) experiences with the technology and how it has helped them in their personal lives. Within weeks of embracing mobility, employees expect business-enabled apps. When the policies of companies do not allow for this or cannot deliver on these expectations fast enough, the mobile initiative can result in failure.

So, when companies are faced with mobile device management needs, they need to investigate the app and content management capabilities in order to make the correct choice. Once mobility is accepted in a company, there is no turning back. The opportunities it provides for business in terms of empowerment, engagement, and increased productivity means the company has to make it a success.

Sharing the blame

This should not be seen as a case of business versus IT. Instead, both departments need to share the blame for the lack of implementation. The central issue is the fact that the business case of mobilising processes has not been addressed. Very few IT departments will spend significantly on solutions if they do not understand the business case.

Once mobility is accepted in a company, there is no turning back.

IT departments need to understand the vision behind the business needs, and to accept that focusing only on the immediate requirements without a futuristic view could result in a failed initiative. Business representatives, on the other hand, cannot simply rely on the IT department's judgment of technology choice and assume that requirements will be met. Instead, IT departments and business representatives need to jointly create the business case so they can develop more effective and successful mobile initiatives.

The technology exists to be more proactive and creative in approaching mobility. Going mobile should also not be seen as a rip-and-replace of existing solutions and processes. Instead, organisations should see the potential of adding a mobile element to their systems. Furthermore, the technology and tools available to IT departments are far more advanced than before. These departments can now be empowered with automated processes that send alerts when user intervention is required. So, not only is most of the preventative action around security and policies already happening within mobile solutions, but it is a less resource-intensive endeavour than in the past.

A few years ago, companies were limited in what they could do from a technology perspective; today, hardware and software solutions have evolved to such an extent that decision-makers are limited only by their own creativity.

Mobile device management tools are comprehensive and built with one main goal in mind, enablement. This means companies can focus on what they do best, and rest assured that security and management of mobile devices are under control.


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