Written by Stefan Spendrup, VP of Sales Northern and Western Europe at SOTI
The need to interact and interface with customers and employees as smoothly as possible has been pushed to the top of the ‘business-critical’ agenda in recent times. Having access to powerful mobile devices and intuitive mobile applications has ultimately changed the fundamentals of how we work, and an increasing number of organisations are now more reliant on mobile technology than ever before. With almost 23 million Brits now operating in a remote setting, and 26% planning to continue to work from home permanently or occasionally, mobile solutions are no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity for operational durability and success.
Business-critical mobility, the intersection between mobile solutions and strategic workflows, is what workers fundamentally need to function without difficulty. Be it field service technicians, delivery drivers or frontline healthcare workers, many employees are dependent on reliable mobile solutions that can give them access to real-time information at the point of interaction. It is at this very stage where intelligent mobility comes into play, and more specifically – business intelligence.
Business intelligence is used by companies to maintain performance and functionality. By merging both procedural and technical infrastructure it can store, analyse and produce business data. So, how does business intelligence relate to mobile device performance and how can it ensure that business data is safely held, yet accessible to those who need it?
Business-Critical Mobility in the Workforce
Backtrack to March 2020, when the world went into lockdown and offices shut, multiple sectors had to quickly adapt and digitise their strategies to continue functioning and performing as smoothly as they did before. Whether they have been issued by an employer or personally owned to aid work processes, mobile devices are prevalent in just about every worksite today and helped the transition to digitisation. However, requirements for mobile devices differ significantly across sectors, particularly for mobile workers who require access to critical customer or business information in real-time. For these workers, device reliability comes at a premium. They are frequently dispatched to remote locations to provide acute care or services, and for many organisations, these workers represent their primary connection or interface with customers.
For the benefit and ease of workers faced with challenging and demanding scenarios, there is immense pressure on ensuring that they are equipped with reliable, up-to-date and efficient devices. Thankfully for these workers, improvements in mobile solutions mean that they support a variety of applications, such as dispatching, customer relationship management, asset management, mobile POS, medication administration and warehouse management. The benefits associated with investments in business mobility are equally as diverse and are designed to effectively improve workplace performance and operational efficiency, as well as improve decision making processes, increase sales and gain competitive advantages.
However, while the implementation of mobile solutions is critical to an organisation’s operations, one of the clear challenges for many is the lack of internal resources to fully support their mobility initiatives.
Mitigation for Failing Mobility
As much as mobility is now an essential part of most operations, it does often come with a myriad of compromises, particularly when it comes to both the performance of the network, application and the mobile device itself. With many workflows now heavily relying on mobile technology, the impact of failure can be significantly disruptive and business leaders need to ensure the impact is minimal. In a previous SOTI survey, conducted by VDC Research, the consequence of each failure incident can result in over 100 minutes in lost productivity or 23% of a daily shift.
Likewise, these technological disruptions can have a ripple effect throughout an organisation, with employees and the outcome of their work falling off target. In the current climate, where time is precious and tolerance of technological difficulties is low, this can amount to massive losses in both productivity, employee morale and return of investment. The nature of mobile and wireless technologies and the environments they are used in to support business-critical applications often dictates whether a failure will occur.
The challenge and pressure then come down to how prepared an organisation is to respond to these outages, and how exactly they minimise the disruption. In the same study, it was revealed that only one in five organisations claimed to have complete visibility into the performance of mobile solutions used by their frontline workforce.
Given the critical nature of mobile solutions for many organisations today, providing employees with real-time visibility into the performance characteristics of these solutions, and the tools to quickly address problems, substantially reduces the disruption caused by poorly performing solutions. It is now more crucial than ever that these kinds of processes are implemented into operations.
A Solution to Minimise Downtime and Workflow Disruption
Having the right visibility and ability to remotely manage mobile solutions will significantly minimise any impact of failing business-critical mobile devices. This is provided by intelligent business innovations such as Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions. The core objectives of EMM solutions are to manage elements of mobile devices such as security, configuration, authentication, performance and central connectivity. With these objections being so essential to IT infrastructures in today’s climate, particularly in deployment environments where mobile data collection and processing is critical to the business, EMM solutions have been indispensable for managing device lifecycles as well as automating time-consuming administrative tasks such as onboarding and decommissioning users.
Whilst the benefits for workers and improving workflows is essential, the benefits of having EMM solutions to improve user experiences are equally important. Users of EMM solutions rely heavily on the ability to customise user groups and assign access privileges, configurations and application availability based on job functions or individual roles, so with the right EMM solutions in place, user productivity can be vastly improved.
With EMM solutions in place, organisations can see a significant increase in employee morale and efficiency, customer satisfaction and additionally these solutions can represent a considerable return on investment. This is greatly valuable, particularly in today’s budget-constrained environment, with the focus on cost containment being heightened as organisations look to limit their investment exposure. However, not all mobile solutions are equal and failing to align the right mobile solutions with the target application or useability standards can expose organisations to a significantly higher cost of ownership.
Successful mobility solutions analyse business components of an organisation itself, saving time and labour for workers who were previously assigned these tedious administrative tasks. In addition, some of the valuable benefits that intelligent mobility management solutions can achieve include operational visibility and analytics, application development and management, helpdesk integration, security and battery performance.
Intelligent Mobility is Effective Mobility
The most successful business-critical mobile solutions consider all the key factors that are influencing performance – from mobile device and application capabilities to network performance and ultimately user experiences. Some may argue that the pandemic revitalised workflows by presenting opportunities for organisations to introduce EMM solutions and reap the benefits they offer.
As the adjustments of remote working are now in full swing, understanding and addressing the key challenges that affect the success of mobile solutions, both out in the field and within internal operations, is equally important. From application performance to network latency and data throughput, organisations that adopt an intelligently managed fleet of mobile devices within operations will reap the benefits of functionality and success, both in the short and long term.