Hello from The Netherlands. I arrived today at Schipol Airport and then found my way down to Utrecht for a presentation I am doing tomorrow afternoon. I must admit though that I am not as young as I used to be. I used to travel to Europe on a monthly basis…..work through the entire red eye…and go straight to the office and work the entire and end up going to bed around midnight. Not anymore. Oh well, the challenge of getting older.
The time on the flight did provide me however the opportunity to reflect on some recent discussions I have had with various organizations as they try to figure out their mobility strategies. There appears to be two “camps” of people within organizations. Those who are embracing mobility in the workplace….and those who are not. The problem is that the people who are not embracing enterprise mobility are often in influential roles…which often times means that the mobility deployments get delayed, or at worse cancelled.
Now of course, it depends what you mean by enterprise mobility. Mobile email – at this point in time – is table stakes. The same goes for mobile calendaring. But what about using tablets and other mobile applications? That’s where things get more interesting….and complicated.
A number of organizations have reached out to me in recent days asking me how they can go about justifying investments in mobility. What is the ROI model? Boy is that a tough question. What is the ROI of mobilizing email? It’s invaluable in my opinion, but by the same token, incalculable. Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t scenarios – particularly in vertical segments such as retail or insurance – where you can absolutely demonstrate the value and ROI of mobility investments. However, how do you quantify the value of mobilizing your CRM application or providing business intelligence on a smartphone or tablet?
That is significantly more challenging.
Now that said, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t intangible – albeit real – value in mobilizing applications within your workplace. I guess my point is that you have to understand the fundamental opportunities. To take a step back and say “what’s the ROI?” is an understandable and pragmatic question – but there are so many technologies that we have adopted in the workplace where the ROI and “productivity benefits” are intangible.
I guess in one sense, it’s a gut feeling. Either you get it or you don’t. The challenge for organizations is that they will need to get it moving forward. Moving forward, mobility will be a competitive advantage for organizations. You’re just going to have to trust me on that. Will the tablet replace the laptop? Not any time soon, in my opinion….but they are highly complementary.
So go on – take a calculated risk – and delve into what mobility can provide to your workplace. Trust me, it will be worth it.