Begin By Gathering All the Facts
Why Mobile at Scale is Hard
Like planning for a journey, solution design should begin with deciding where you want to go. That includes a thorough understanding of the business needs and the desired outcomes. What's the purpose of the solution, and—importantly—what are the definable metrics (KPIs) that will measure success?
A key part of this initial process is talking to all the stakeholders and putting yourself in the shoes of the end users. With your end-user "personas" defined, use information gathering workshops to navigate backward from an understanding of their needs and pain points to the design of your solution. It gives you a much better likelihood of success, good user experiences, and high adoption rates.
Knowing your KPIs helps get buy-in from leadership. If you can go to them and say your solution will achieve x, y, and z, you're presenting a package of needs and outcomes that's easy to grasp.
What are Managed Mobility Services?
Mobile solutions mean nimbleness, protection against disruption, and the ability to lean into innovation opportunities that create competitive advantages. Managed mobility service providers specialize in the technology, tools, and assistance that enterprises need to get mobile solutions right. Read the Blog >
The Key to Mobile Success: Planning for Scale
Why do enterprises launch mobile pilots and even complete full-scale deployments without an enterprise mobile plan? Too often, planning is perceived as a long, painful process that slows everything down. With users demanding always-on connectivity and 24x7x365 support, few companies can afford to slow things down. However, taking the time to create a mobile strategy sets the enterprise up for success and is well worth the effort. Read the Paper >
Understand Your Capabilities
Once you've got an idea of what's required, you should honestly evaluate your internal resources to see if you have the expertise and bandwidth to design, implement, and support the enterprise mobility solution you want.
Mobile can be a very different animal from what many IT teams are used to supporting. There's more need for freedom, personalization, and choice that has to be considered. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) continues to be a paradigm shift for IT teams that extends beyond mobility. It's part of what's driving the evolution of solutions that are cloud-based services instead of just hardware or software packages. Helping dispersed end users can be challenging, too—when simply stopping by an employee's desk in the office isn't possible. Partnering with a managed service provider is a way of getting the required muscle.
This is also the point where a health check of any existing mobile solutions—including infrastructure, Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms, and security environments—should be done. You want to ensure your infrastructure and security won't let you down as you roll out something new. We'll dive deeper into endpoint management in our upcoming masterclasses.
Planning a Mobile Blueprint
Choosing Mobile Devices for Your Project
Taking all that you've learned, you can now start to design. At Stratix, our Solutions Architects call it a Mobile Solution Blueprint. There's lots to think about, including devices, operating systems, device management platforms, support, and even carrier networks. Your blueprint should include these elements:
1. Device Choice
Here's where your understanding of your end-user needs and desired outcomes gives you special powers. A frequent cause of poor adoption is frustration with a device because it's not easy to use. That can be caused by physical outer design or internal software shortcomings.
Are there requirements that mean you need a small or even wearable device? Perhaps the opposite is true, and a big screen is the way to go. Will you need accessories like scanners attachments or Bluetooth peripherals. Some organizations need the level of device software customization possible with Android enterprise solutions, while others will pick enterprise Apple because of end-user preferences, compatibility, or other needs. The bottom line is that the devices and operating systems have to check the boxes to get you the right results.
Throughout the enterprise mobile solution design process, keep futureproofing in the back of your mind and build it into your blueprint. The last thing you want is something that goes quickly out of date or can't be adapted if your needs change.
Calculating the life expectancy of the devices and peripherals you select is just one part of futureproofing. That includes operating system and application updates and ensuring the manufacturer intends to support the devices for the entire period you intend to use them.
Futureproofing also includes flexibility and scalability. What if you have workflow changes or new uses for the mobile solution down the road? How adaptable is it? If business goes well and you need to expand, will your devices and infrastructure handle it? Good solution design goes beyond just thinking about today. Try to plan for tomorrow too.
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3. Management and Support Strategy
Equal with device choice to the success of any enterprise mobile solution is management and support. Once your devices are deployed, how are you going to track them and keep them updated? Who's going to manage the device lifecycle, swap out broken equipment, and do repairs? How will you support end users wherever they are? All of it needs to be in your blueprint.
a. Mobile Lifecycle Management
A complete enterprise mobility management plan doesn't stop at purchasing devices. Even after the initial deployment, there will be an ongoing need to administer your inventory as employees join or leave the organization. You also need a solution to take in devices that need repair and send out replacements. As devices reach end-of-life and have to be replaced, you'll want an environmentally-friendly IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) solution to repurpose them or dispose of them properly.
b. Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Just like PCs, mobile devices require constant management to ensure they're up to date and secure. Your blueprint will include an MDM platform for that endpoint management and control. There are many MDM vendors to choose from. Considerations include:
- What devices are supported
- Ease of device enrollment
- Simple administrative dashboard and device control
- Robust security management
- Meets your specific organizational requirements
c. Asset Management
A major challenge in managing enterprise mobility is knowing where all your devices are and their status. You can't just walk around the office and do inventory. Solutions like Stratix's itrac360 give you a single portal that aggregates orders, asset location, spare pool status, repair history, reporting and more, in real-time.
d. Mobile Help Desk
The nature of the enterprise mobility environment means you need to be able to help people wherever they are and when they need it. Your 24/7 mobile help desk also must be staffed with experts on your mobile solutions so end users get effective support that minimizes downtime.
4. TCO Calculation
Your mobile solution blueprint should include an accurate Total Cost of Ownership estimate. You don't want to be on the hot seat down the road if the TCO is higher than your leadership expects. Your calculation should include:
- Hard costs (hardware, software, and maintenance contract purchase costs)
- Support costs (lifecycle support services, spare pool, and help desk)
- Soft costs (lost productivity due to work disruption)
Testing and End User Acceptance of Your Mobile Project
5. Testing/Pilot Programs
Before you move to large-scale deployment, it's absolutely critical you thoroughly test your solution in as close to a real-world environment as you can get. That includes first article inspection to compare test devices with your blueprint to make sure they're delivering what they're supposed to. Small pilot programs with the actual end users who'll be working with your solution are ideal. Make sure all the bugs are worked out, or you risk poor adoption after rollout. First impressions count for a lot, so if something doesn't satisfy right out of the box, it's extremely difficult to change people's minds down the road.
6. Implementation Roadmap
With your mobile solution blueprint complete, and testing done, it's time to draw out the implementation roadmap. There are two big pieces:
a. Change Management
To ensure end-user adoption, you need a plan for communication and training so that they know what's coming, what the benefits are, and how to use the solution when they get it.
The second part of your roadmap is the plan for procurement, kitting, configuration, and distribution. How are you going to get the scale and expertise you need to do it quickly and smoothly? Do you need to bring on temporary help or set up a special room or other location to get it done?
Set Yourself Up for Success
Mobile Solution Design Examples
With a well-thought-out enterprise mobile solution that incorporates all the steps we've covered in this class, you have a much better chance of achieving the outcomes you want. In our next class, we'll do a deeper dive into mobile device lifecycle management to ensure your solution is convenient, easy, and cost-effective.
Why Off-the-Shelf Doesn't Work for Enterprise Mobility
Listen to Dipesh dive into further details on creating solutions that delight end users and deliver on business goals.
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