How To Address Varying Mobile Needs
Mobility isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition — an organization is made up of several business units, all of which have differing technology needs. So how do you meet them all?
Take stock of who needs what and develop a mobile computing program customized towards that, says Altimeter mobile analyst Chris Silva, who led a webinar titled “Identifying and Empowering the Mobile Worker” on Thursday.
“[In the past] a single server, with a single device connected to it, was all you needed to be ‘mobile,’” he says. But as mobile devices have matured beyond simply being tools for calling, texting, and occasionally checking email, an organization’s business units have responded by using these tools in different and unique ways.
During the webinar, sponsored by Visage Mobile, Silva hashed out three archetypal business units, and gave a rough sketch of just how differently they interact with mobile tools:
Who: The broadest swath of workers — most office-bound employees who have infrequent interactions with customers or clients directly. Mobile tools extend productivity hours and allow for more tele-commuting, but don’t necessarily replace the desktop or laptop on which most work gets done.
Mobile Needs: Information workers typically have more modest mobile needs. That can include information to company documents, calendars, directories, and email. These workers consume more information on mobile devices than they create.
The Right Apps: Programs and apps that can essentially format pre-existing information to make it mobile-friendly. Modo Labs, Alfresco, and others are able to take websites or documents and re-purpose them for mobile viewing.
The Road Warriors
Who: Traveling sales teams, field service technicians — the people who work outside the office.
Mobile Needs: Besides needing to access company information through the cloud, these hard-core mobile workers need the ability to actually create or draft new materials from the field, such as new work orders. Field-based employees also frequently require collaborative apps and programs to connect with co-workers.
Who: Traveling IT workers, and C-suite execs who frequently work off-site or meet with clients.
Mobile Needs: These workers are essentially looking to ditch the laptop, so they need mobile phones and tablets capable of the same computing heft.
The Right Apps: Short of developing proprietary applications for each work process, these kinds of workers can benefit from desktop virtualization infrastructure. VMWare and Citrix each provide enterprise-level virtualization.