Planning for Mobility

By Dani Magestro
Updated: August 31, 2012

Planning for Mobility

Technology is changing moment by moment. Being mobile means more opportunity and a greater potential return for your business. Another important benefit of mobility would be the ability to be reached anywhere in the world. We can now redirect almost any phone number and use virtual assistant technology as well to make it seem as though someone is in the office answering the phone when they could be in the field, working from home or even sitting on the beach. The results can seem simple but to achieve them correctly and get mobile technology to work for you means knowing how and what to plan when implementing mobility within your enterprise.

First you need to research why you feel that your enterprise would benefit from becoming mobile. Do you just want the latest and greatest flashy technology in hand or do you have a solid business reason to begin your journey to mobility? It is important, even when sitting on a great budget surplus, to purchase technology based on real research and digging deep into company needs. Just because someone wants technology and emands it does not mean it will make a positive impact.

In order to figure out if going mobile will be beneficial for your enterprise, you will also need to meet with all department heads to discuss their expectations and needs. There are several departments and positions that could benefit from added mobility, but there might also be several that have no interest. Data gathering in this respect can help you get a clearer idea of need versus want within an organization. Sometimes a department feels that they may be entitled to the latest technology and will create a need for the devices based on that. Issuing new technology may bring out feelings of envy within departments and that is what we would consider a valid issue when discussing the negative impact going mobile may have.

Are there really any other negatives in the planning process? While most of the planning is data driven there can also be a few hang ups which must be dealt with along the way. Technology changes at light speed and drawing your planning process out too far can cause your plans to crumble. While most technology is pretty comparable during growth periods, an app that you created in-house may need to be updated if something like an operating system change happens during the planning phase. However, planning a change too fast or too soon can also cause headaches.

When planning, you will need to figure out your businesses shortfalls in terms of current mobility so you can learn from them.  Of course that can be easy if you have zero mobility - but chances are you already have some mobility in your organization, even if it is simply using cell phones and laptops. Another concern would be figuring out what security model you will be using. Completing your planning process and rushing to purchase without consideration of these things could cost you. Think about it - if you have had trouble supporting your laptop users due to a small IT support budget, what would be the result once your staff goes mobile?

When expanding with mobile technology, the scope of potential technological problems widens. Employees that are new to technology may need a training or introductory period to adjust. The likeliness of an afterhours call in regards to a technology issue grows when employees can now work from any time zone and from home. Is your IT support model going to be able to support this growth? If not, do you have plans on outsourcing this or finding another solution?

In addition to support, you will need to identify your physical hardware needs. Do you need several upgrades to accommodate the new mobile technology or will it be as simple as subscribing to a particular service? Even working with new technology vendors can pose an issue when implementing your mobile solution. Not every vendor's coverage area will meet your needs, and when it comes to hardware there are numerous choices available. Simplifying all this by truly understanding your business's mobile needs will help to lessen the amount of work that goes into planning.

Once you gather all the necessary data for your plan, you will need to create a mobility roadmap. This will help you tie in your needs with your business strategy. Roadmaps are great and will help you go from beginning to end, touching on every necessary aspect of the mobile expansion process. Using a mobile roadmap to analyze, identify, budget and schedule will make things much easier and more clear.

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