What is the impact of mobility for the enterprise and the IT people tasked with supporting it?
Like it or not, mobility is a hard trend – one that is not going away anytime soon – and its impact is significant. There is a projected exponential increase in mobile usage and consumption along with the demands placed on IT professionals to make it work.
And it’s happening everywhere. Recent stats indicate that university students arrive on campus their first day with an average of eight mobile devices that they will use daily! While in the Insurance industry, field claims managers are working intensely on mobile technology to input real-time data following a major incident such as Hurricane Sandy in the USA.
This mobile revolution goes far beyond the casual user with a single mobile phone. It comes with complex challenges for IT service management caused by the four integrated macro trends of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud).
And, because of intensifying domination of mobile usage and expectations, there is a need for a new level of mobile user experience that IT must deliver. The idea that you can take a desktop computer interface and apply it to iOS and Android has already failed. What we need is a web-based, mobile, cross-platform user experience that delivers an easy, intuitive consumer-like experience that users expect today and what they need to be productive on any device. These applications must be engaging for the user and, at the same time, make it easier for IT to do their job. It also needs to be easy to deliver because users won’t wait months for a new service to be delivered; they’ll go somewhere else to ensure they can get their job done without delay.
The ITIL factor in making mobile work
To manage data on the move, it has to be simplified for the end user.
So, the best practices of ITIL are even more critical as everything becomes connected in the mobile era. In fact, two of the most critical elements for mobile that come from ITIL’s continual service improvement principles are knowledge management and analytics.
When working mobile, users typically need answers to questions as quickly as possible. Knowledge management plays a key role in expediting those answers, therefore you need to start with establishing a capable knowledge manager and ensure knowledge management processes are in place for greater mobile efficiencies. Equally, if users are enabled to locate their own answers, that reduces the pressure from the service desk.
With analytics, a dashboard showing KPIs is not a static thing and will change over time depending on the services you provide to meet the business demand. Your reporting dashboards need to map the changing demand for services across different parts of the organization. This provides visibility to make better decisions based on real-time information.
Working within the mobile environment means needing purposeful information at the right time: for example, mobile technicians or even utility equipment are accessing a knowledge base and incidents in connection with GPS location services during the working day. This ties into mobile as employees in the field need the right access to information via mobile devices. If they need to make changes, search the knowledge base, or refer to the service catalogue and place an order, mobility backed up with ITIL processes plays a part in their organization’s efficiency.
Companies wanting enterprise mobility to work for them need to continue pushing to the edge, engaging directly with their end users more. This demands the use of ITIL processes for both the infrastructure and for how to relate to users. The more they engage with and understand them, the more they can create a responsive, front-end minded experience for users. Organizations need to deliver purposeful apps, workflows and services very quickly today and require the business overall to be more responsive.
The purposeful application
The natural evolution of purposeful information is the purposeful application. For example, when you want a taxi, you go to Uber. When you want to rent a vacation home you go to Airbnb. And when you drive past a great looking home for sale, you check it out on Zillow. They are user friendly, purpose-built applications, which take the place of bulky sites that claim to do everything except what the user needs at the time.
Enterprises, and their IT professionals, can make mobile more purposeful for their employees: apps could include field service management or accessing HR benefits, such as booking a vacation. People expect purposeful mobile applications and want to use them. And when enterprises have them, adoption challenges are made easier. Conversely, traditional service management portals attempting to deliver apps just doesn’t work, and adoption suffers. Again, user experience is expected in today’s mobile era and it will dictate their success.
Bringing users’ IT choices out of the shadows
The challenges for IT, and the IT professional, are in great part about the apps and devices employees bring into the workplace without IT’s knowledge. Shadow IT has invaded the enterprise via unauthorized apps, opening up organizations to security risks and data leaks.
One of the most effective ways to solve this issue is by embracing it. IT must work closely with end users to truly understand their needs and provide the purposeful enterprise apps that will support and empower them. If users can get what they believe they need from IT to do their jobs, they won’t get it elsewhere. This presents the IT organization as a partner to the business users and elevates its stature — thereby diffusing the need for users from operating in the shadows.
No organization can survive without IT. But you don’t want to just “survive”. You want to “thrive” by growing with the needs of the organization. To thrive, you must overlay IT with processes such as ITIL because, without it, growth is not possible and chaos reigns. ITIL brings the right level of structures while empowering the mobility in the enterprise with a new, cross-platform technology.
See our ITIL section for more information.