Strategy, an overused term?

Posted by Ross Coundon on August 5, 2012

Do you recognise this situation?

Everyone in your business is talking about mobility. You know you need to embrace it but you don’t know where to start. A few departments start to take it into their own hands and before you realise it you have 5, 10, 20 different approaches, platforms, technologies. You’re losing control and you need to standardise; you need a strategy.

The word ‘strategy’ is an overused term in business. It often means talking about what you’re going to do in the future and then documenting it, reviewing it, reworking it. So the cycle repeats. All the while you’re not doing it.

With mobility, the technology landscape is evolving at a staggering pace, more quickly than technology ever has which means you don’t have the luxury of ruminating over an all encompassing ‘Mobility Strategy’. You need to start making interesting and valuable things happen.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t create a plan but in the process of planning you have to embrace the fact that your Strategy – your plan for change, will itself change over time as you learn from the experiences of implementing mobility. Therefore, that plan or strategy has to be flexible.

With mobility it’s easy (and important) to focus on the efficiency gains, real estate cost reductions, improved business intelligence and agility as these things are mostly quantifiable and serve to help you build your business case. However, this isn’t the full story. As I stated in my previous blog, mobility solutions are about empowering your employees to be able to create value. In doing so, you’ll get more out of your key asset, your people, and they’ll thank-you for letting them provide that value.

You must involve your employees, your users, in the process of creating your mobility strategy. They are the ones who will benefit, they know what happens on the ground better than you. They have important ideas about how to make things better. As you know, standard change management for IT projects includes the involvement of the users in the requirements gathering and the design for a solution in order to promote buy-in and adoption.

This is also true for mobility but I think you’re missing a trick if the first time they’re involved is when you’re starting to design a solution. Your employees; the people that are already out in the field and the people that would like to be, the people who make your business tick are the very people that will give you the best ideas for mobility. So involve them in your strategy planning. You’ll find they have many ideas and some will be cheap and quick to implement.

Prioritising some quick wins will delight your employees when they see their ideas being made real and they’ll want to be involved again. This creates terrific momentum if embraced. Of course, some of those ideas will require significant investment of people, time and money and will need to be prioritised accordingly. Pick your battles carefully and learn from the process of implementation and it gets easier each time. This will start you on the road toward your goal of a mobile enterprise.

So, we’ve dipped into the ‘Who?’ and the ‘What?’ of your mobility strategy (I assume if you’re reading this you’ve already answered the ‘Why?’)

It goes without saying, the next question you need to answer is the ‘how?’

Ross Coundon

Ross has many years experience in providing mobile workforce management advice and solutions to a wide range of industries, and as a result, he is ideally placed to support field service organisations in their transformation initiatives. Having worked with the likes of Vodafone, Scottish Water and the Environment Agency, Ross has particular expertise in the use of mobile technologies to improve field service operations.