Enterprise Mobility Minute #3: Got an Enterprise Mobility Strategy? Go Get a New One

SAP Guest

By Dr. Ahmed El Adl, Vice President, Global Mobile Solutions Services at SAP

Enterprise MobilityThis year, “How to create a mobility strategy?” was a hot topic – discussed at every industry conference and in every mobility publication. So with all the attention, it’s not surprising that some companies were successful in creating initial mobility strategies. Great step! But scratch the surface and you’ll see that many of those strategies aren’t really strategies at all. They’re simply a collection of initial steps taken to try to mobilize business processes.

Some companies have implemented a couple of mobile apps in different business areas. Some used a MEAP platform and introduced a Mobile Device Management solution. Others used a native SDK to implement their first apps. But how many companies have truly taken advantage of the tremendous opportunities mobile technologies offer?

As we enter 2013, it’s time to consider the major trends that are now shaping opportunity – and causing us to completely rethink our approach to mobility strategy.

1. Strategic Approaches for Leveraging Mobile Technologies

There are different approaches for leveraging mobile technologies in a sustainable and strategic way:

  • The traditional approach where a comprehensive centralized enterprise mobility strategy is created for the whole company and its relevant business areas.
  • The hybrid approach, being used by some companies, where a high-level enterprise mobility strategy is created as a framework of guidelines for the whole company. Then a detailed mobility strategy and roadmap is developed for a specific department or business area.
  • The fast emerging approach where a high-level enterprise mobility strategy is created as a framework of guidelines for the whole company – but then you take it a step further. You create your overall strategy for a specific business area or product line, but design it all upfront to leverage mobile technologies that can reshape your business or products.

Before deciding on the approach that is right for your organization, consider how quickly mobile technologies are evolving – and becoming more complex, embedding and converging with other technologies. This rate will only accelerate in 2013.

Also, consider how consumer expectations are shaping the direction of technology. Soon, it will no longer be enough to have an app on a smartphone – consumers will expect the functionality embedded in the product itself. Will your mobile strategy help you face these challenges and leverage all the new technological advances?

2. New Approaches in Mobile Apps Development

If you’ve created an initial mobile strategy, you’ve likely already answered important questions, such as: Should we acquire a mobility platform (MEAP/MDAP) or not? Do we need different platforms for B2E and B2C? Which business areas should we start with? Should we use off-the-shelf, prepackaged apps, or start building our own custom apps? Should we adopt a HTML5, native, or hybrid approach? Be aware – there are new developments that may change all of your answers.

On the platform side, the use of a separate platform for developing B2E apps versus another one for B2C or B2B is changing. In 2013, vendors who have separate platforms will integrate them into one unified platform – rather than just an installation-based integrated platform. Others, who are already providing a unified platform, will provide a cleaner integration based on partially new architecture, which will enhance performance, portability, security, and productivity.

The debate over HTML5, native, or hybrid might change or become redundant. Many of HTML5 capabilities, performance, offline usage, device hardware access, and developer tools are going to improve in the coming months. Technology companies and the developer community are strengthening HTML5’s unique capabilities such as cross-platform deployment and will continue adding more web APIs to tackle issues like hardware lockout. However, the hybrid approach will continue to be the most interesting architecture for building apps in 2013.

On the apps side, reusable Mobile Apps Development Components (MADC) will make a significant impact next year. More than just web APIs, MADC will streamline the development of generic, custom LoB and industry-specific apps with software factory style speed and precision. Only minimal effort, costs, and time will be required to build high quality bespoken mobile apps – from entry level to complex ones. Ask your developers how you can take advantage of these software engineering techniques and make it part of your mobility development guidelines.

3. Mobile Apps Procurement and Operation in the Cloud

In 2012, we witnessed a huge rise in the number of vendors offering different cloud-based mobility services using either their own MEAP/MADP platforms or a third party platform from a major vendors. The new ecosystem of mobility vendors now includes everyone from small startups to major companies such as SAP, IBM, and Amazon. Mobile cloud services now span the entire lifecycle of mobile enterprise apps – from distributed design, implementation, and testing to centralized mobility management and user support.

Based on the huge investments made in cloud infrastructure this year and its envisioned values, mobile cloud services will rapidly becomemore mature, reliable, and cost effective. Expect even more services and financially attractive offers. Leveraging this market trend as a key part of your mobility procurementand operation strategy will allow you to add reliable options and quickly lower your TCO.

4. Moving from MDM to EMM

Over the last few years the talk was about Mobile Device Management (MDM). Then, as the industry reached another level of maturity we started to talk Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). If you are like most, your existing strategy probably focuses on how to secure the mobile device. However, it is clear that it’s not only about securing the device – it’s also about securing the content on it, and the information being transferred to and from the device. Therefore, a device-centric approach to mobility management no longer works and can be risky. Organizations must adopt a user-centric EMM strategy to increase security and reduce costs.

Another major trend worth mentioning here is the variety of data sources and types you need to collect, manage, and secure. In the past, companies operated on master and transactional data, which they collected, processed, and managed within their internal ERP systems. The sources, size, and format of the data were more or less limited and predictable. In 2013 and beyond, however, up to 90% of your valuable business data will come in a variety of formats from unstructured and social data sources. The size of the data will be big and unpredictable.

One more important consideration:  You need to ensure your EMM strategy and tools meet the standards of your industry and the special Information Privacy and Security Regulations (IPSR) of your company and region.

5. More Consumerization of IT

Many companies were taken by surprise this year by the consumerization of IT. Suddenly, employees expected their at-work mobile technologies to be more like their at-home mobile experience. Some companies were able to react quickly, adopting approaches such as BYOD combined with MDM solutions and policies – so that they could capitalize on this trend without compromising the security of their business information. Others were skeptical and stuck to old IT technology adoption roles.

So far, the major effects of IT consumerization have been user experience (UX) and BYOD. However, the consumerization of IT is expanding to the products and services you provide, as well as the processes needed to run your business.  Moving forward, you need a strategy that ensures you discover new technologies quickly and can adopt them even faster – so that you can leverage related business opportunities and avoid any surprises.

6. The Internet of Everything (IoE)

Machine to machine (M2M) communication and even collaboration is not new. However, the advances of the past year, particularly in hardware, networks, cloud, and in-memory computing (Big Data), removed major obstacles. We can now gather large amounts of data from a large number of distributed devices and sensors, then store and analyze it in the cloud and make it available for clients (humans or other machines) to consume it in different ways in real or near real-time.

Most of the technology needed to make the Internet of ‘things’ a reality already exists. In 2013, vendors will be investing aggressively to unleash the enormous business potential coming from this combination of technologies – especially since it could pave the way to a completely new generation of smart products and services. Make sure that your strategy doesn’t miss this trend – or you risk being left behind.

Finally, to get the full picture of the change ahead, you need to consider new generations of social business solutions, mobile business analytics, and new and even higher levels of user experience standards coming from innovative technologies such as augmented reality, 3D devices, smart TV (inside and outside the living room), and consumer apps.

Remember that mobility strategy should be an adaptive and continuous process. Now is the time to rethink what you’ve done so far. Don’t forget to bring along some new skills and new devices so that you’re ready for an exciting year in technology driven business transformation.

In the next Enterprise Mobility Minute Blog post we’ll discuss in detail how to update your mobile business and IT strategies in a way that will help you drive sustainable business transformation.

Follow the author on LinkedIn, Twitter: @aeladl

This post was originally appeared on the SAP Community Network and is republished here with permission.




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13 Scary Statistics On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jacob Shriar

There is a serious problem with the way we work.

Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.

The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.

The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.

Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.

1.  Encourage side projects

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.

2.  Encourage workers to engage with customers

At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.

3.  Encourage workers to work cross-functionally

Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.

4.  Encourage networking in their industry

This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.

13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement [Infographic]

What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.


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Supply Chain Fraud: The Threat from Within

Lindsey LaManna

Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:

  • Falsified labor
  • Inflated bills or expense accounts
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
  • Bid rigging
  • Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
  • Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
  • Unauthorized disbursements

LSAP_Smart Supply Chains_graphics_briefook inside

Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.

Build a culture to fight fraud

The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
  • Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
  • Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
  • Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
  • Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
  • Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.


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Why New Technology Has An Adoption Problem

Danielle Beurteaux

When 3D printing became a practical reality, in the sense that the actual printers became more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible to the average consumer, there was an assumption that the consumer 3D printing market was going to take off. We’d all have printers at home printing…. what? Our clothes? Toys? Spare organs?

That has yet to happen. 3D printing company MakerBot just went through its second employee layoff this year, driven by a market that’s developing much slower than predicted.

That same thinking is in play with a somewhat more prosaic technology – digital wallets. Apple Pay was released this year, as was Samsung Pay. There’s also Google’s Android Pay. During an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.” But that expectation has yet to be realized, at least vis-à-vis consumers.

Consumers aren’t using any of the digital wallets en masse. According to Bloomberg, payments made via mobile wallets – all of them – make up a mere 1% of retail purchases in the U.S. The reason is that consumers just don’t see a compelling reason to use them. There’s no real reward for them to change from SOP.

Both these instances highlight a problem with assumptions about mass adoption for new technology – just because it’s cool, interesting, and accessible doesn’t mean a market-worthy mass of people will use it.

Who is more likely to use mobile wallets? Emerging economies without a stable financial and banking systems. In those environments, digital payments present a more secure and quicker method for purchasing. These are the same areas where mobile adoption leapfrogged older technologies because there was a lack of telecommunications infrastructure, i.e. many never had a landline phone to begin with, and they went directly to mobile. The value-add already exists. (But there are also security issues, to which consumers are becoming more sensitive. A hack of Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary LoopPay network was uncovered five months post-hack. Although one was expert quoted as saying the hackers may not have been interested in selling consumer financial info but instead in tracking individuals.)

Here’s some interesting data and a good point made: mobile payments are most popular in situations where the buyer already has his or her phone in hand and the transaction is made even quicker than swiping plastic. For example, purchases made for London Transit rides are responsible for a good portion of the U.K.’s mobile payments.

Mass technology adoption is no longer driven simply by the release of a new product. There are too many products released constantly now, the market is too diverse, and the products often lack a true raison d’être.

Learn more about how creative and innovative companies are finding their customers. Read Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers.


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Create A Culture That Doesn’t Fear Failure

JP George

A fear of failure could be holding back your business.

If the people on your team are worrying about being ridiculed or blamed for independent creativity or the downfall of an entire project, they are likely to hold back their ideas and stick to completing projects in the same way over and over again. In comparison, people who work in an office culture with no fear of failure feel free to bounce ideas around, which helps generate new practices, keep up with the times, push projects along, and can “wow” customers with innovation.

Changing the way your office works won’t happen overnight, but these five tips could begin to implement positive changes to help steer your team toward a working environment that is good for the staff and good for the business.

1. Recognize and reward

Employee recognition is the key to not fearing failure. When an employee or team member goes above and beyond; make sure they know that their hard work is appreciated and that an efficient system for providing employee recognition awards is in place. Even small things like suggesting a new way to carry out a particular process should be celebrated. If an employee, colleague, or team member has a suggestion that isn’t quite on-point, find the positive; for example, you might say, “You’re on the right lines, your idea will help speed the process up, but…” Always make sure to offer positive feedback first, then mention the thing that needs changing, and end with encouragement: “Once that’s ironed out, we can implement this — great work!”

2. Adopt a team mentality

Seems straightforward and fairly obvious for a first step, but so many companies do not know how to really generate a feeling of teamwork and inclusivity, and instead put up a front of “togetherness” while retaining the bad practices that divide a workforce. Start by calling a team meeting and setting some ground rules together. Yes, it’s a basic ice-breaking activity in almost all training sessions, but it also helps each person to display respect and hear the opinions of other members of the group. Suggest from the start that the team use “we” rather than individual pronouns when discussing projects, as it helps to dispel blame culture and reminds each person that they are all responsible for any successes and downfalls of the team.

3. Say “yes” more

When staff members and colleagues approach you with ideas and innovation, are you more likely to think “straying from the status quo is dangerous,” or are you willing to hear the person out and let their creative juices flow? Even if the first suggestion they offer is horrible, try not to say “no” outright or make the person feel bad for sharing. Try to find a way in which their idea can be incorporated, even if it has to be altered to fit the project. Saying “yes” to the inspiration and thoughts generated by staff and colleagues means that they will be likely to offer more ideas in the future, and without that openness, you might miss the next great innovation in your industry.

4. Blame less

Similarly, try to incorporate policies that encourage employee recognition rather than shame for sharing concepts. If failure does occur, do not publicly belittle the person deemed responsible, even in jest. This creates tension within the office or team and can make the person receiving the blame less likely to contribute in the future, and may even affect their personal well-being. Instead of blaming and shaming, discuss what went wrong as a group, and try to enforce the group mentality of “we could have done…” rather than “I/they/she/he did…”

5. Look for the positives

If, for any reason, your team does experience failure—and you should, otherwise you’re just not aiming high enough—try to see the positives, and discuss the issue as a group — not in cliques of us vs. them, but together discuss what the group could have done better. If a majority insist on blaming one or two people, move onto analyzing how communication channels could be opened up and ask members how inclusivity could be improved. After all, if only a few people are responsible for a project failing, the responsibility was obviously not being shared in an equal manner while the project was underway. There are positives to every situation, even if it is just the ability to improve your team dynamic.

The changes won’t happen immediately, but once the systems are in place and your staff, colleagues, and team members start to understand the goals within both the office and working environment as a whole, your employees’ creativity should start flowing and you will start hearing new suggestions regularly. Even if some don’t work well, remember to recognize employees and enjoy the rewards of your newly open and trusting workforce.

Want more employee engagement tips? See Boost Productivity With These 4 Brain Breaks.


About JP George

JP George grew up in a small town in Washington. After receiving a Master's degree in Public Relations, JP has worked in a variety of positions, from agencies to corporations all across the globe. Experience has made JP an expert in topics relating to leadership, talent management, and organizational business.

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