Do You Have a Mobile Strategy?

I have been very busy these last few months with projects involving the use of “mobile” technology and strategies.  Organizations and companies have started looking at their existing tools, technologies and strategies and realizing they have to look at paradigm changes and technology shifts as they occur or become outdated.

Either we manage our corporate technologies, or they manage us. Previously, we were only required to manage the technologies within our walls—technologies that were owned by our organization. All that is changing.

Take, for example, mobile technologies. A mobile strategy used to be a “nice to have.” Today, most technology leaders will tell you that it is an essential tool for your future success.  While at first glance it may appear to you that you don’t really need a mobile strategy.  Here are some recent findings that suggest otherwise:

Mobile workers in your company and your client organizations expect to be able to do email, calendar, IM, access files and applications, edit documents, and print. And many of them expect to be able to do this on their own devices. For example, Juniper Research estimates that the current total of 150M employee-owned devices now being used in workplaces will balloon to 350M by 2014.

This has serious repercussions for technology managers.  We will need to be able to deploy the apps your workers need and protect your corporate data on these devices. The challenge for most of our organizations, and for technology managers specifically, will be to enable employees to use their own devices, but on your terms.

Moving into 2013 – technology managers, IT leaders, and business unit leaders must collaborate to determine how much “mobile” their organization needs, and how to enable it.  A tool/method introduced to me by a consulting firm, called Performance DNA , assisted me in many projects to help our client organizations identify the outcomes they must deliver, opportunities to use mobile technologies either to replace or support desktop applications, and the best ways to achieve success.  The resulting mobile technology roadmap provides answers to the “what,” “when,” and “how” questions surrounding the introduction and appropriate application of mobile technology.

How do you determine your mobile strategy? What techniques have worked for you?

Make Business Process Realignment a Part of Every Technology Project

Do you ever wonder if your organization gets work done in spite of the rules, systems and processes that they have to follow?  I have been out working with clients for the last month and have heard and seen many people talking about this subject.  Based on a conversation that I had with a colleague and Performance Consultant, Dr. Karen McGraw, I wanted to share some thoughts on process realignment.

Business processes are an important part of the way work gets done. On many of our projects we are called on to implement not only the technology, but also to re-align business processes. Now these are the smart clients. They understand that implementing a new technology changes the way that people get their jobs done.

In many cases, new technologies subsume or change old processes. For example, at my last company, when we implemented InfoPath forms and automated processes in SharePoint, we create workflows based on the most effective ways to complete the process. SharePoint now orchestrates what previously was a manual process. The reviewers and approvers may be the same. But the way they receive the document or request, how they respond to it, and how it moves to the next reviewer changes.

In other cases the new technology we implement presents the opportunity to revise related business processes.  Some clients choose to use the new technology and simply keep the old work process. These clients often reason that even some change (the technology) is enough – they fell like buying a new set of clothes will help the person get the job done better.  However, this reasoning often results in a misalignment between what the technology can do for them and how they currently work.  By failing to realign business processes to include and build on the functionality provided by their (new or even existing) technology, they get less value from their technology than they could.

During the recession and post-recession recovery, we find ourselves being asked to help our clients “do more with less”.  To find ways to accomplish this you use a methodology like the Performance DNA methodology to conduct tool optimization projects and identify ways to better align new or existing technologies with the organization’s business processes.  I am always surprised to find that organizations spend considerable money on technology (Hardware and Software), but that the technology implementations have rarely examined the impact on business processes or even the training needed to take advantage of a better process.

How much more value could a tool provide the organization if processes were better aligned to take full advantage of what the tool could do? How much more productive would organizations be if all technology projects included realignment of business processes and training on how to apply the process using the tool?

So do you try to include process realignment on your projects?  How are your processes and tools working in your organization?

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