Mobile is a Mandatory Transformation for SMB: 3 Strategies to use Today.
IBM recently announced IBM MobileFirst, a comprehensive portfolio of offerings designed to enable companies to transform themselves into mobile enterprises. For SMB in particular, mobile is a mandatory transformation and there’s a cost to inaction – your competition, customers, and suppliers are already on their way in this mobile journey. Here are 3 strategies you can use.
First, find a trusted advisor that can guide you to make the right decisions. From governance and employee policies to developing applications that uncover new customers, mobile is a complicated and fast-moving space. Find trusted advisors like local Managed Service Providers that are trained in modern mobile best practices. You often can find them through technology vendor partner directories like IBM’s PartnerWorld Business Partner Directory. Because SMBs expect to increase spending for mobile applications by 36%, and for mobile management solutions by 33% (SMB Mobile Study, SMB Group, February 2012), there’s a lot of vendors in this space. Look for a trusted advisor that understands your long-term business objectives, helps you develop a business plan, educates you on alternatives, and has access to resources to accelerate your mobile enterprise.
Second, create a mobile strategy starting with BYOD that realizes quick wins, proving the ROI of mobile initiatives. Companies that have a mobile strategy report that they have a 20% gain in employee productivity and cost improvements, according to a 2012 IBM Flexible Workplace study. I’ll simplify greatly here: start by defining the top mobile use cases for BYOD, considering who, why, and how will mobile devices be used by the enterprise. Then cluster your users and assess their mandatory and optional requirements today and for tomorrow, aligned to your business objectives (e.g., new customer acquisition, cost savings, better service, etc.). Next choose to either implement your own mobile device and application management or the smarter choice for SMB, choose a cloud solution like IBM’s Hosted Mobile Device Management. Here are some handy resources that go into much more prescriptive detail: InfoWorld BYOD strategy guide, IBM BYOD strategy whitepaper, IBM video on Mobile Device Management.
Third, minimize your risks by starting small, flushing out the problems early, and always ask what you gain from mobile. While the benefits are clear, it’s not for every employee and for every customer. Some interactions and transactions are just fine with point of sale machine or a regular computer, while others almost require mobile. A common trap is to try to do it all, at once. Consider the wisdom of Jack Dorsey, Co-founder of Twitter and Square, “You have to make every single detail perfect. And you have to limit the number of details.”
Your SMB company has lots to gain from mobile, just make sure you use smart strategies like these to minimize mistakes and boost your chance of success.