Monkey Do

by Brian Katz on May 22, 2013 · 0 comments

I am in prison today. To be fair, it’s a very nice prison that has high speed Internet, a refrigerator it’s own bathroom facilities but a prison no less. It’s allergy season in the New York metro area and although I have been doing the delicate dance of medication balancing, this morning I woke to the realization that today was not going to be a day that I won the battle. I happen to be one of the lucky few that only needs to endure this for a few weeks but all it takes is a walk to the car or the mailbox to realize that I wasn’t going anywhere today. The only good news is that besides the large supply of tissues that I have on hand, my workday is marching on uninterrupted.

monkeys_typingThe premise for mobile in the enterprise is simple. It’s about enabling your workers to be more flexible and agile while becoming more productive and efficient. Yet very few people seem to understand these words. I talk to too many people in different companies that believe they have to go mobile because everyone else is. There is no plan and they end up shocked when they don’t get any value out of mobilizing their workforce. It’s no different than BYOD. No matter which survey we look it, around 80% of companies acknowledge that BYOD is happening at their company and yet only about 30% have policies supporting it. Realize that this doesn’t mean that these companies are enabling their users, it means the users are doing it anyway, the company be damned.

Let’s look at the statement a little more closely. The action when you mobilize your work force is very important. You are enabling your users. It’s not that you provide them with a mobile device or you allow them to buy apps. It’s the fact that you are giving your users the power to do something. Enable is an important word. It means that you are opening doors that were previously closed. They can use their devices to do work that they couldn’t before.

This is where the word flexible comes in. You are enabling your users to be flexible. They no longer have to be chained to their desk; they have the ability to work in new locations and in new ways. Their job is no longer a location for them but what they actually do. You aren’t just freeing them from sitting at their desk though. You are allowing them, really enabling them, to work wherever and whenever they need to because they have tools that enable them to do so. They can take advantage of the cellular or WiFi networks around them to get work done and they can use a tool that gets battery life that was previously unheard of. They have been enabled to go where the action is, and sometimes that means whole new locations that weren’t previously accessible with technology. They also have the flexibility to connect when they need to, not just from nine to five.

This is where agility comes in. You’re enabling your users to respond at a moment’s notice to get their work done. They can be out at a job site or on a sales call and the information can be entered right then and there because you’ve given them the tools that enable them to interact the way they need to. They no longer have to take notes and walk back to their desk or laptop to enter the information. They can respond to requests for information where they are because they have apps that allow them to turn their data into information and knowledge that they can use at the right place and the right time.

You see, when you enable your users to more flexible and agile, they use the new tools they have to become more productive. They spend more time doing productive work because they can do it when and where they need to. They also become more efficient because they have the tools to improve business processes that were stuck with legacy technology that didn’t allow right time and right place interactions.

Enabling your users is more than giving them a mobile device. It’s about providing your users with the right tool set, which is built from the marriage of the right app paired with the right device, that uses open but secure APIs to allow them to act on the right data to meet their goal.

It’s relatively easy to give an infinite number of typewriters to an infinite number of monkeys to hopefully eventually get a Shakespearean manuscript, but it usually just ends up with a bunch of monkeys covered in black ink with Wite-Out spots all over them. It would be much easier to just give someone a nice tablet with a matched set of apps that hooks into the data needed to pull out one of Shakespeare’s actual manuscripts that they could then use to perform a great drama. It’s all about right interactions. Remember, when you provide the right tools, you enable your users to accomplish great things at the right time and the right place.

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