Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome the latest guest contributor Matt Schulz from American Family Insurance who will be providing his unique perspectives on enterprise mobility to the Enterprise Mobility Forum. Matt has been a long standing member of the EMF and has now decided to jump into the “deep end” and share with you some of his insights. Please join us in welcoming Matt as the newest Guest Columnist!
In the motivational spirit of the recent election, I thought it would be fun to put an end to the debate around what does “mobile” mean. With Mobility projects, it seems like many of the roadblocks an enterprise incurs in getting projects moved forward has to deal with semantics. You can spend countless hours or months debating what you are trying to solve or improve, rather than just working on the solution.
So what does mobile mean? Many mobility experts and executives I know in Information System/Technology roles suggest mobile has to deal with devices only. But they may not agree on whether or not devices includes smartphones, tablets or even laptops. In some cases, laptops and tablets are becoming so close to the same device(or are both a laptop and tablet), it really muddies the water.
So if mobile includes both a phone and a tablet, why not a laptop? Here is an example within a company like mine. Insurance agents are encouraged to work outside the office to meet customers where it is convenient for them. They can bring a “mobile” laptop which allows them to accomplish everything they said they wanted, right? For example, they can log onto to their policy system remotely and create a quote. The same high-level statement can be made for a tablet or smartphone. So what is the difference between the laptop and a tablet/smartphone?
It is the EXPERIENCE! The laptop takes several minutes to boot up, creating small talk that can derail a sale before it gets started, the customer needs to sit beside the agent or is blocked from the agent across the table to see what is going on, and the process is typical not interactive with the customer. A tablet or smartphone typically starts right up and is a few taps from the quote, typically the process is interactive and the customer enjoys the experience and sees the company as being “with it”. Yes, laptops and laptop operating systems are getting closer to providing those experiences, but companies have spent millions of dollars and time developing applications and infrastructure for laptops and desktops. So even if it is possible to create similar experiences on a laptop, owners of programs supporting a laptop experience will typically be a roadblock to mobile projects.
So my advice is this, mobile is about creating an optimized experience outside the office which is typically provided by a tablet and smartphone. It is about getting the job done in the right time at the right place where it is convenient for your customer. So stop arguing about what mobile means and start creating new processes, apps and web apps that maximize the experience.
With that said, I would love to hear what you think!