9 Critical Steps to Implementing an Enterprise Mobility Strategy

In today’s competitive environment, it’s no longer economically feasible for IT organizations to rely on—and manage--multiple networks to access mobile data. Instead, companies must develop a unified enterprise mobility strategy that brings the management of multiple technologies into a single interface, optimizes the performance of business applications in the mobile environment and allows for the seamless bridging of data between wired and wireless networks. The best way to achieve these goals is to identify, analyze and resolve questions to ask and bases to cover in order to ensure smooth implementation.

1. Define All Business Goals and Requirements
What are the company’s objectives? Higher sales efficiency, improving the availability of essential staff, or rapid response to customer inquiries are just a few goals your enterprise might be working towards. What use cases might support those goals? What technologies and devices will map to those goals?

2. Add the Information Technology View
Evaluate key corporate requirements for manageability, flexibility and scalability. For example, where do all of your ad-hoc wireless networks exist? You should use detection devices throughout the network to pick up RF signaling frequencies and create an inventory of the Wi-Fi, mesh and RFID networks you find. Make sure these match up to departments and are viable networks, not rogue access points. Work with your corporate finance team, business unit leaders and service providers to inventory all handhelds, smart phones and other service-based devices in use throughout the company. Make sure that all devices are mapped to current users and have not been unaccounted for by past employees.

3. Define a Delivery Timeline
Create a detailed time-frame for delivery and a service roadmap. Know whether the project will be rolled out in phases or in an all-encompassing sweep, and plan training opportunities at various implementation stages to effectively manage organizational change.

4. Create a Preliminary Budget
Start with a rough cost-to-serve envelope as a budgetary starting point. A clear picture of the costs you’re looking at lets you allocate budget accordingly and, if needed, identify other areas within the organization to reduce costs in order to re-allocate the necessary funding to enterprise mobility.

5. List the Risks and Policy Tools
A full list of risks and the policy tools used to mitigate them should be incorporated as well as any device-security requirements and applications that might be needed. Is it necessary to invest in wider-reaching security tools capable of the monitoring and analysis typically required for a mobilized workforce?

6. Add It All Up
Adding it all up will provide the information needed to determine if the projected costs are aligned with the desired value of the mobility deployment. These bottom-line figures can help you identify whether the cost of implementation is feasible for your enterprise. The budget breakdown also allows to identify areas in which potential cost-cutting is possible.

7. Begin the Vendor and Technology Selection Process
Only when you have all of the preliminary work done should IT management seriously begin the vendor and technology selection process. You’ll have a much stronger and sensible place to start negotiations when you know what the end functionality and costs should look like.

8. Start with a Test Deployment
The final go-live process should include a test deployment followed by a wider rollout. A test deployment is necessary to uncover hidden obstacles and potential security concerns that may not be obvious during the analysis and planning stages, allowing your organization ample time to remedy such concerns before rolling out the program to the enterprise as a whole.

9. Train Employees on New Technology
On-going end-user education and communication is essential so that all parties can learn as they go and guarantee a successful outcome. This is often accomplished through identifying one point person per team or unit who serves as a primary contact and consultant for each segment, reducing the need to escalate minor issues. This streamlines the change management process and helps employees adapt more readily to new technologies.

It’s important to remember that launching a mobility initiative isn’t the end of the road; it’s only the beginning of the journey. The inevitable software patches, device updates and technological improvements will probably begin shortly after deployment. Companies should think of this as a cycle that continually evolves services to embrace new mobile technologies and functionality while retaining the goals and objectives of the initial, well thought out plan supported by the necessary management tools.

Author Bio
Robert Stanley is a content producer at ClickSoftware mobile enterprise strategy advice, a company which also offers a variety of resources on capacity planning and mobile business apps.

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