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Why a mobile first approach is what enterprises need to focus on…

12th February 2015

 

What’s the definition of a ‘mobile first’ approach, in the enterprise?

In simple terms, it’s when a business recognises mobile as the primary channel across the business.
 
They have identified all of their business processes and designed them for mobile first, meaning employees interact with the business first and foremost through such things as smartphones, tablets and apps.
 
 

Why do enterprises need a mobile first approach in today’s world?

It all boils down to making things easier for employees. Technological/digital advancements in the consumer world have made peoples lives much easier in terms of communicating, collaborating and carrying out specific tasks. People now expect and demand a ‘consumer like’ experience in the workplace – You’ve only got to look at the rise of BYOD as proof of that.
 
Employees are therefore showing organisations how they want to carry out their role, which is ever more based around mobility – Working from anywhere and at anytime.
 

“No matter where an employee is located, businesses can push information and communicate simultaneously and instantaneously with them”

(IBM).

 
But at present organisations think they are satisfying employees demands by simply connecting BYOD devices to the corporate network and to business tasks, as more of a bolt-on to existing processes, and so very much as an afterthought. Often only making a small improvement to the lives of their employees, and therefore missing a huge opportunity.
 
Mobile is not going anywhere. An eMarketer report estimated that by 2017 70% of the global population would have a smartphone. And with Millennials set to take over the workplace, the organisations that make mobile central to everything they do, and do it soon, will reap the rewards.
 
 
 

Just what are the rewards/benefits of a mobile first approach?

As we’ve already alluded to, a mobile first approach empowers employees, by providing them with the ability to interact with company information much easier. Benefits of this include:
 
1. Increased employee engagement – productivity.
 
2. Overall lower costs – less admin, more streamlined/improved management.
 
3. Improved customer experience – Both from highly engaged employees and from the mobile experience of the organisation. A mobile first approach in the enterprise is not just focused on the employees, it should transcend all elements of the business, and this includes the experience the customer has with the business, which in the consumer world is very much ‘mobile first’.
 
Clearly the above points indicate higher sales and lower costs and we all know what the result of that is…
 
And the really great thing? Is that a mobile first strategy allows an organisation to empower the employees who in the past they may well not been able to reach through more traditional channels (remote, contract workers for example).
 
There’s no doubt organisations can achieve a huge competitive advantage by having a mobile first strategy.
 
 
 

What stage of the mobile first strategy is your business at? And how can internal communicators make the most of the stage they are sat within?

It is widely recognised that there are three stages of enterprise mobility.
 

Stage 1: Opportunistic

As the name suggests, this stage is simply when a company reacts to what employees are asking for, so looks at using mobile to answer very specific needs. As you can imagine, this could involve different parts (teams) of the business looking to meet different employee needs and likely using different suppliers to do so.
 
There will also likely be no set procedures in place for mobile design, so what ensues can be a fragmented approach to mobile.
 

Advice to internal Communicators:

Although most companies are now hopefully moving beyond this stage, it can be a very important first stage to show those within an organisation the power of mobile. Internal communicators should therefore look at where the opportunities for mobile are. Identify some of the more digitally savvy employees and ascertain where they think improvements can be made or where opportunities in mobile lie.
 
And when creating internal communication campaigns identify ways in which mobile can be used to enhance communications and if implemented, be sure to measure effectiveness so that results directly linked to mobile can be shown.
 
 

Stage 2: Strategic Mobility

During this stage the organisation is attempting to help large groups of workers by focusing on mobility to help improve their role. For example, many companies are now addressing their intranets, and designing mobile versions.
 
During this stage organisations will give more attention to guidelines and standard enterprise wide user experience design, due to mobile being given more investment and attention. Apps are also key at this stage, with organisations now focussing on standard ways of building their own apps and ways of distributing them for employees to access (private app stores).
 

Advice to internal Communicators:

At this stage organisations should be able to take advantage of data analysis and measurement, which can be obtained through the frameworks that the organisation has put in place for mobile strategies. Internal communicators can then look at measurement to identify the best ways to target employees, in terms of channels and content. And internal communicators will be able to develop and deliver apps for campaigns far more quickly due to the existing frameworks, API’s and services that the organisation will now have in place.
 
 

Stage 3: Mobile first

You should now know what this stage entails. Everything created by the company is done so for mobile first, with every other channel coming second. If you work for a big company (unless they’re a leading tech one) you’d find yourself lucky to be in this stage. It’s very much a future stage that all big companies should be looking to reach, so that they can experience all of the benefits we outlined earlier that come as a result of adapting to changes/advancements in both technology and ways of working.
 

Advice to internal Communicators:

Design content for mobile first – therefore have a greater focus on visuals. Employees will look to consume content quickly on mobiles. Infographics, memes, data visualisations are great to use. The goal is to provide employees with easy to consume regular pieces of content. They are then likely to take in a lot more company information over time.
 
Remember, a mobile first approach aims to make things easier for employees. But employees will only find life easier if the user experience is strong.
 
 

Conclusion.

Quite simply, there is no going back. A mobile first strategy is something all businesses have to follow. It offers a huge opportunity to those organisations who take it sooner rather than later.
 
Every department within a business must identify the ways in which mobile can help them improve each one of their processes, with mobile systems then created and deployed.
 
Internal communications is one such department that can dramatically benefit from a mobile first strategy. Internal communications is also a department that can play a role in helping others with their mobile first strategy and deployment, by offering guidance and understanding on different mobile tools, such as social networks.
 
 
Please get in touch if you require help with using mobile within your organisation, specifically for internal communications.
 
Until next time…
 
Rima
 
 

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