Profiling is critical for effective enterprise mobility strategies

Organisations must have a clear mobility strategy that ensures mobile technology is an investment that works hard to deliver business value and meet the demands of increasingly mobile workforce. At the foundation of its successful...


Organisations must have a clear mobility strategy that ensures mobile technology is an investment that works hard to deliver business value and meet the demands of increasingly mobile workforce.

At the foundation of its successful implementation and execution is profiling. Profiling helps IT gain a clearer assessment of the personal productivity tools suited for specific user groups and workstyles within the organisation. In the past, many IT departments provided either blanket technologies for all staff or specifically provided mobility tools based on staff grade or functional roles.

Decisions were often made irrespective of employee needs and investments weren’t maximised as a result.

As I have argued in previous posts on this blog regarding CIO best practice in deploying enterprise mobility, profiling should be among the first steps taken in terms of formulating any mobile strategy, including one that addresses "Bring Your Own Devices" (BYOD) for example.

It should operate at departmental and user levels within the organisation and focus in particular on employee workstyles, including factors such as level of mobility, task and information and communications requirements. While it does consider company-wide issues such as security, compliance and risk posture, workstyle-based profiling is important because it places employees closer to the heart of strategy development.

It also helps IT better understand what layers of management and support are required in terms of policy creation and enforcement, security, service management and training. Not all workers are mobile workers and equally some workers either may be too high risk or even unappreciative of aspects of mobility strategy such as BYOD.

IDC has outlined a few simple principles and considerations in terms of user profiling best practice below. We intend for these recommendations to be directional rather than prescriptive and should serve as guidelines for CIOs, especially those focused on crafting BYOD strategies.

Key Considerations:

  • Start by ensuring mobility strategy has 100% alignment with company objectives and that the business benefits are obvious. Drivers for mobility projects can include: better employee productivity and satisfaction, deeper customer engagement, cost reduction and/or green initiatives for example.
  • Determine which areas of the business are in scope and gain approval from senior sponsors, including HR. Some departments may be out of scope for mobile applications entirely such as M&A, in house legal teams or R&D for example.
  • Survey workers on workstyle requirements and supplement with work shadow or team workshops if required. Include all areas of the business including those not typically perceived to be mobile. Concentrate profiling on the following areas:
  1. Job Task
  2. Level of mobility
  3. Information & communications requirements
  4. Mission-criticality / sensitivity of information
  5. Compliance & Regulation

  • Build and segment profiles within your organisation based on current and future workstyle and information needs. Concentrate on 5-7 profiles to avoid complexity. Some examples can include: Execs, International Travelers, Field Workers, Home/Remote Workers, Campus Roamers & Static Workers.
  • Identify the existing and enabling tools for each workstyle necessary to deliver on strategy. Conduct a gap analysis identifying potential issues in terms of unmet needs
  • Assess eligibility criteria and change management considerations

Enterprise mobility represents one of the key transformative trends over the next decade and ignoring it is now no longer an option for enterprises.

Whilst many CIOs are increasingly rationalising requirements across many areas of their business, including executives, task and knowledge workers, the salesforce and marketing/customer-facing functions, most still struggle with "where to start?" in terms building an effective 360 degree strategy. IDC believes profiling should not only be the foundation of successful implementation and execution of strategy but also a critical starting point upon which to build competitive advantage through enterprise mobility.

To this effect, it is reassuring to see companies such as Vodafone Global Enterprise, RIM and Dell Consulting focusing on this key domain to help companies begin their mobile transformation journey.

Posted by Nicholas McQuire

"Recommended For You"

IT operations & business strategy: Healing the great divide Time to bust the BYOD productivity myth