Bluehill – The Enterprise Mobility Stakeholders & the Mobile Center of Excellence

by Tony Rizzo – Blue Hill Research

Mobility is now a table-stakes requirement for any organization to deliver on, and most companies that I speak with these days fully acknowledge this mobile reality. In an earlier blog post, “Managing Today’s Enterprise Mobile Projects – The Right Partners are Critical to Success,” I strongly suggested that, as large SMBs and enterprises embrace mobility for significant strategic business initiatives which typically have very short windows of opportunity for successful deployment (what I sometimes refer to as fast and furious mobile deployment), there will be plenty of opportunity for unsuccessful results.

Companies that either fail to plan properly for their projects or that opt to try and manage their mobile deployments internally will find themselves on the sure road to mobile project failure.

What must businesses do to ensure they avoid that road?

Blue Hill Research believes that all technology-based strategy developments, but especially mobile-centric strategies, center on the interactions between Line of Business (LOB), IT and Finance. My own ongoing Blue Hill enterprise mobile research always focuses on these critical mobile stakeholders relative to how a business must make technology decisions in today’s fast-paced, agile and ever more disruptive business technology world. Typically these stakeholders hold titles on the level of VP of IT, VP or Director of Finance, and for LOB (where mobile budget ownership now sits) any number of titles are applicable – VP, Director or General Manager.

However, developing successful mobile enterprise deployments and the well-defined RFP requirements that underpin successful mobile projects extends beyond business and technology strategy. Businesses also need to carefully consider specific partner and workforce requirements. And they need to understand that they are making a major shift to operating in an enterprise-wide anytime, anywhere capacity.

Many companies are entirely unprepared to move ahead with enterprise-wide mobility at this level and they often ask me what the best way to do so is. The answer is simple enough – bring together the right stakeholders and either create an internal mobile center of excellence (MCoE) or work with the right Managed Mobility Services (MMS) partner as mentioned in the earlier blog post that has the expertise to create and manage an MCoE for the business. The longer answer includes ensuring that the internal or partner-driven MCoE is afforded real influence and overall control.

No business can simply rush in and hope to catch up to the mobile enterprise pioneers through developing short-term or half-baked mobile solutions (half-basked is a legitimate technical term and I’ve seen plenty of examples both recently and over the years). Even within today’s fast-paced business world mobility must be viewed as a long-term set of solutions and even laggards in need of fast deployment must accept and embrace this. In all cases, the key to successful mobile deployments hinges on a company’s mobile apps and mobile devices consistently delighting the end user – whether that end user is the internal workforce or external consultants, contractors and/or business partners.

Line of Business (LOB) now primarily defines mobile business requirements, owns the mobile budget, and defines what mobile capabilities will be required. LOB owns the mobile apps. IT’s job centers on delivering the business requirements-driven mobile apps in a way that is both cost-effective and highly scalable across potentially huge business environments and multiple LOB operations – each of which will have very similar mobile app build requirements but different business functionality needs.

In all cases all mobile deployments must deliver consistent hardware and software experiences to end users. This includes ensuring that end users have ready access to the mobile devices they need, that all onboarding services and device configuration is easily provided, that employees have easy access to workforce support and that workforce support is easily accessible and delivers immediate responses and highly reliable servicing.


MCoE + MMS Partner – The Keys to Mobile Success

The mobile enterprise pioneers have, through time, trial, and error, learned to deliver successful mobile technology and apps to their employees. Especially within large organizations, the pioneers have uncovered what is effective with their workforces – but more importantly they also now understand what doesn’t work and why.

These pioneering mobile organizations have by and large created MCoEs to organize and codify what they have learned to deliver on and what to specifically avoid. MCoE teams must include LOB, IT, finance teams and mobile end users that make up the mobile workforce. They are all critical to effectively operating an MCoE. In the world of mobile pioneers who prior to 2015 had time on their hands to get things right, this team was sufficient to ensure successful mobile projects.

Fast forward to 2017 however and we find the endless proliferation of mobile devices across numerous versions of both iOS and Android, the need to rapidly deploy new devices as they become available, along with what can only be described as a maze of intricacies involving reliable and cost-effective procurement of devices and configuration management for them, maintaining spares to replace broken or bricked devices, and the rapidly expanding use of mobile devices for essentially everything workforces do. This is a daunting list of mobile issues that must be carefully codified and managed in a way that ensures predictability, reliability and well-understood cost management.

To handle today’s mobile issues enterprises – including the experienced pioneers – must now add and include another stakeholder to the MCoE team – a trusted MMS partner that specializes in the overall management of mobile deployments and has mastery over that maze of mobile intricacies. The strategy behind using an MMS partner was outlined in a previous blog post – these outside companies have proven instrumental in helping enterprises deploy and sustain successful mobile initiatives. The right MMS partner will create the necessary strategies for deploying mobile technology out to the workforce and will have a wealth of vendor contacts in place to ensure that procurement needs are easily taken care of. And, the right MMS partner will help to ensure that RFPs for new projects are precisely defined and well documented.

That right MMS partner will participate with the other MCoE members to create a set of documents or master plan (think along the lines of a flexible and always evolving blueprint) that codifies the mobile best practices appropriate to any business and their workforces. MCoEs ensure a high level of uniform mobile operations and standards that consistently extend across all LOB and IT operations.

Very large organizations must have MCoEs – whether in-house or managed by the MMS partner – in place in order to ensure exactly this high level of uniform quality. Effective enterprise mobility cannot in my humble opinion be managed in any other way.

It bears repeating that large-scale enterprises that are scrambling to catch up in today’s mobile world typically miss establishing this critical MCoE function. They rush – without proper preparation – to deliver on short-term fixes and “spur of the moment mobile ideas” to keep up with well-established and mobile-enabled competitors and ignore the need for the long-term mobile planning that ensures success.

Today the MMS component of that planning is perhaps the most critical aspect of long term mobile planning. It is the piece that businesses have the least control over and that businesses are most in need of tightly managing in order to ensure mobile success. The right MMS partner will become a knowledgeable extension of an organization’s internal mobile business operations and an important player in developing effective and efficient mobile strategies.

The long-term success of your company is at stake here. It is wise advice for any company that has been slow to embrace mobility or has struggled to realize the promised business benefits of their mobility deployments to make an honest assessment of itself and its capabilities. In particular, as much as a company will desire to engage in a mobile sprint it is the mobile marathon that is far more important. Build out your internal or MMS-managed MCoE, pull the right team stakeholders together and bring in the right MMS partner. Soon enough you will have regained the competitive advantages.