We are entering a new era of mobility where users need fast access to information anywhere, at any time. Mobile technology is transforming to give users access to ‘bite size’ pieces of data, wherever they are and at the touch of a button.
For the enterprise, the key to mobility is designing new workflows for data and applications, so that the information a user needs is presented on one screen. This ‘process re-engineering’ is at the heart of successful enterprise mobility strategies, helping to make organisations more responsive and agile, to deliver real competitive advantage.
The challenge for CIOs tasked with creating a suitable mobile strategy that will benefit the business and make employees more productive, is how to mobilise applications whilst staying within budget and not disturbing ‘business as usual’.
Moving particular business applications from PCs to the mobile environment could be perceived as cumbersome, expensive and disruptive. Instead, by re-engineering existing processes - making applications and data that are already in existence more logically related and relevant - organisations can create more efficient ways of working, so users can access the data they need, whilst on the road or in between meetings.
As Gartner advises, CIOs need to “lead from the front and re-imagine IT... IT leaders must embrace the post-modern business, a business driven by customer relationships, fuelled by the explosion in information, collaboration, and mobility.” To follow this example, they will need to explore more creative ways of working with existing applications, without investing in a whole new infrastructure.
In the past, enterprises would have to mobilise each application used in the business process, which would involve either buying additional licences or developing the applications themselves. New tools are now allowing them to create one bespoke application, regardless of where the data resides. Mobile mash up brings the data from enterprise applications - such as Salesforce, JD Edwards, Microsoft SharePoint and Sage - together onto one screen, so that the necessary data can be logically presented there and then. At the same time, there will be no disturbance to other business processes that are going on.
The key is making the required data easily accessible on one screen, so the user doesn’t have to flip through multiple screens as they would on a PC. Rather, they have the information they need at their fingertips. This eliminates the amount of manual work and processing required in the back office, and enables the user to get closer to the customer. Ultimately, it makes mobile users more productive at the front end, reduces the number of steps it takes to access the information needed, and improves customer service levels overall.
An example of this in a business context might be a sales person at a restaurant with his customer, with only access to his mobile device to find relevant data quickly, with a view to processing an order. Rather than note taking and following up when he is back in the office, he’s able to use his mobile device to show the customer information, such as a picture of the product. He can also check up-to-date inventory stock levels, and tailor the information to suit the customer’s requirements.
If the customer wants to proceed with the order, he can process the payment, and create an order history. When the transaction has gone through, the information input is fed back into the corporate system in real time, allowing authorised employees to access information relating to that particular order. The payment transaction and device is secure, because the technology has embedded security policies in place to manage this.
In today’s business world, various factors may give rise to the need for process re-engineering, and there are different ways of achieving this. What it boils down to is thinking creatively and managing processes in a different way, in order to achieve better results and establish true efficiency. In the context of mobilising the enterprise, creating a solid strategy that incorporates methods such as mobile mash up, enables businesses to do more with what they already have, and gives employees added functionality to work more productively.
Posted by David Akka, UK MD of Magic Software