Mobility solutions need a business focus and flexibility to ensure success.

Over the last year I have been asked numerous times to assist companies with their mobile solution strategy. The request often goes something like “we want all of our staff to be mobile” or “I want everyone to have an iPad”.

(Feel free to insert your favorite device of the day in place of iPad.) While giving everyone an iPad might be good for business, without the proper justification and implementation strategy, you might simply be enabling their already impressive star count in Angry Birds.

With any adoption of new technology business leaders need to have a clear vision of costs, benefits, and how the new capability will provide a competitive advantage. In addition, the mobility ecosystem is changing so rapidly it’s almost impossible to pick a device, as new models and features seem to be coming out hourly. A few suggestions to help ensure success on your mobility strategy:

1- Have a clear and definable business goal but keep it simple and select a platform that allows for rapid evolution. With device versions being on the market for only 6 to 8 months you must be able to move to the next version.

2- Allow for multiple platforms. The race between iOS, Android, Microsoft and Blackberry is just getting started, so expect lots of change. If you can support multiple devices and platforms, you will avoid owning the next obsolete device. This will also allow you the flexibility of using company owned or staff owned devices if appropriate in your business.

3- Implement your mobility solution in steps, allowing rapid payback while also validating the initial business assumptions.

4- Ensure you provide real value to your staff. Create a solution the team willingly adopts which will decrease adoption time and increase the willingness to accept change.

5- Establish a strategy that allows for a flexible evolution and assumes some aspects will not go as expected. You don’t want to work on a mobility project for 8 months and then have to go back to the drawing board when things don’t work out as planned.

Just as in the daily management of your business, your mobility strategy must be well thought out, while also allowing for flexibility and change when necessary. Constantly look for opportunities to improve the strategy, better define outcomes and identify new business benefits. Having your entire team on board will energize the organization, and perhaps provide that needed next step in your path to success.

Stefan Midford photo
Stefan Midford is the Founder and CEO of Natural Insight and is an evangelist for simplification of the management of retail workforces. He has over 30 years of experience in information technology, operations and workforce management. His extensive business background includes leadership roles at major retail, credit and marketing businesses in the U.S. and Canada providing him insight into the strategic challenges facing organizations with distributed teams.