Telco’s Key Differentiator

Customer Service and the potential in the customer relationship is the biggest asset Telecoms possess.  Whether they effectively leverage this asset or not is still to be seen.

When my local service provider calls my home and offers a service I already subscribe to from them it reminds me of that wasted opportunity and the magnitude of the challenge before these Telcos.

They already know what I subscribe to.  They know my movements and my consumption patterns.  They know that I pick up a coffee every morning and that on most morning I drive to work (and other times I just come back home).  They know this… of course they can’t do anything with it since I haven’t allowed them to – but they haven’t even asked!

If they truly leverage what they ‘know’ about me, even simple CRM-type data, my experience with my local provider would be exponentially improved and I probably wouldn’t play that silly game that Canadians play every 3 years.  The switching Telcos game.  Predictable and a pain.

Real-time, personalized offers would be possible.  My loyalty and stickiness as a customer would increase.  Concerns about the Cost of Acquisition (COA) and retention management (churn) would be less and less… as a Telco’s attention would shift to providing value-added services that would automatically help with the churn anyways.  I would much rather go with one vendor (and that could very well be my Telco) rather than a dozen different ones.  It would simplify my life if Telcos understood me and provided other services that I currently receive elsewhere.

 

 

Mobile Strategy Blog: Some Changes for 2013

Obviously this year I would like to blog more… much more! It becomes very difficult to do so in the midst of family life and work responsibilities. But what if I try and shorten my posts and not stress about them? What if some of my comments here are shorter than your typical blog post … but longer than the infamous 140 characters? I think it may be worth giving it the old college try.

You will of course vote with your clicks and if you don’t show up I get the message. This blog exists for a much more sinister reason than just receiving your clicks. It exists to pad my resume and give me an online presence in the mobile world. Not quite as a thinker… since there are smarter folks with much more time to do all the heavy lifting in that area. Hopefully this little corner of the blogosphere will leave a trail back to me. (Confusing I know)

So expect more posts. But many shorter ones as well.

Simple Guide to your first Mobile Policies

Having a coherent set of mobile policies as early as possible will help you prevent headaches for your IT staff and confusion for your end users. Like anything else they are note that involved or complicate … they just take time and will require you to take a step back and just think.

Let’s start with a simple definition of mobile policies.

Mobile Policies:  A set of usage guidelines and procedures for both the organization and the end user to adhere to.

Nice and easy…

At a bare minimum, your mobile policies should include guidelines on the following:

  • Device Ownership: Will you only allow corporate owned devices? Can an employee bring their own device?
  • General Usage: Essentially the do’s & don’ts. What is allowed and what is not allowed on the devices. This will be slightly influenced by the Device Ownership question. This is pretty standard stuff that you can most likely just ‘port’ over from your general IT and behavioural, good citizen employee guidelines. If the device is corporate owned what can the employee use it for. Be reasonable.
  • Corporate Processes: Many don’t include general procedures in their mobile policies, but if you are going to spend the time why not include the official processes for requesting a new device, an application or whatever else is related to the device.

A mobile policy should be in agreement with your already existing security policies. Be sure that the mobile policy is complimentary and not contradictory to what your security group already has in place.

You may think that this is an oversimplification… but in my short time in mobile (since 2006) I can tell you that many organizations do not have anything in place. If you have to start somewhere … you might as well start with simple.

Three Simple Steps to Building an Enterprise Mobile Strategy

In the Enterprise we tend to over-complicate even the simplest of things.  A simple process becomes convoluted, onerous and even unmanageable once the enterprise bureaucracy takes over.

Let me give you three simple steps to guide your efforts towards building a strawman mobile strategy.  Please note this is at the simplest level and there is much detail within each step… but for now this a good starting point:

  1. Business Alignment:  Your mobile strategy should exist to enable (ie. help out) you larger corporate strategy.  As such, your mobile strategy needs to be developed within the context of your enterprise vision and overall business objectives.
  2. Use Case Development: The first step to help you identify key areas where mobility could be most impactful.  For example, if  your business objectives include lowering costs through your supply chain then you will look at use cases in that area which you can explore and develop further.  Spend the time understanding the users, their needs and the high level value of these use cases.
  3. Prioritize Based on Value and Impact: Once you have identified 5 – 10 – 15 use cases go ahead and prioritize them on their value, impact to the organization and implementation feasibility (technical and budgetary).  This is step where you dig deeper on the value and costs of each use case since at some point after the use case you will have to get the money to do it.

What is missing here?

You probably noticed technology is barely mentioned here.  I believe it is important (especially working for the company I work for)… however, technology should not drive this initiative.  Instead, it should be part of the entire process as appropriate.  For example, you don’t want to finish the exercise and realize you need to retrace your steps to determine the impacts of technology (architecture, systems, etc).

They go together… but technology does not drive the discussion (it informs it).

Remember this is about value and business outcomes!  That is what mobility is all about.

 

Mobile Customer Engagement: Some Initial Considerations

What does engagement truly mean? We talk about it a lot don’t we? It’s the buzz word. We can be sure to slide into every conversation if we drop the customer engagement key words. People make money selling it; a lot of it. Yet many have not stopped to really think what engagement means to them and their business.

I must confess that I have a fear. Okay, fear might be an overstatement … but please play along.

This is my fear – that organizations (of any size) will try mobility as a means of ‘engaging’ their own customers without thinking the process through.

To help you along the process and just to give you some food for thought here are some questions to consider along the way:

  1. How deeply do you want to engage your customers while they are mobile?
  2. How well do you really know your customers while mobile?
  3. How well should you know them?
  4. Does your customer need you in the form of a mobile application?
  5. Is a mobile app the best way to engage with your customers?
  6. Can you (should you) influence your customers at the point of decision?
  7. Or would you gain more if you influence them at other points in their buying journey?
  8. Do you want your customers to transact with you through mobile?
  9. Or do you want mobility as a vehicle to raise awareness of your business and its products?

As always there are more questions but 9 seems like a good number.

Value and Experience in Enterprise Mobility

Value and experience are not mutually exclusive in enterprise mobility.  These two can actually co-exist and live happily inside your organization and should both be of equal importance when you formulate (plan, develop, work on, stress over) your mobile strategy.

In fact I argue that these two are dependent on each other:

The better the end user experience the higher the value it can bring to the organization

If I were to say that design influences behaviour you would probably agree with me.  In the same manner your end user’s mobile experience will greatly influence the value of your mobile initiatives and thus the overall return of your mobile projects.  The mobile experience is impacted by the following:

  • Mobile Application: Things like design, colour, flow, clicks, menus, number of screens … and all the other stuff that the more creatively inclined people talk about.
  • Devices: Are you using the right device for the job?  And please do not think for a moment that Apple are the only devices needed for any job.
  • Connectivity: Lo and behold after all these years we are still talking about this.  Make sure that poor connectivity is not an excuse for your mobile workers to not complete a task.
  • Information: Do they have the right information, data, knowledge to perform and complete the required task?
  • Integration: Closely related to the above… but does your mobile worker in their mobile context have access to the enterprise?

Let’s leave at this for now… feel free to comment below.

Mobility – it is not about what you think!

We sometimes forget about the one critical component in enterprise mobility; the one thing that allows the enterprise to be out there and extend itself beyond its four walls.  Sorry… It is not the technology.  Technology is great but it is only a means to an end.

It is more important than technology.

More important than the hardware, the software, the coding or even the connectivity.

I am talking about the end user; the mobile employee.  I am talking about you and me!  Although mobility is about the device, the application, the technology and the connectivity… at the same time it is more about something else… someone else!

It is not about what the latest device can do… but it is about what that device allows us to do that is so important both for the consumer as well as for the enterprise.

Mobile technology is about liberating the mobile worker… and the mobile consumer.  It is about taking the enterprise anywhere and everywhere.  It is about taking brands outside of the stores and into a consumer’s hearts and minds!

I think I may have gotten carried away with the last phrase… :)

The Year of the Mobile Enterprise – 2012

I have always been excited by massive change.   As a high school and undergraduate student I loved to read about historical turning points, revolutions, political upheavals … where things were turned upside down and the system/structure/government that was left in its place was completely different from what had been there before.

It would appear that we can no longer hope for such monumental changes in the mobile space.  No longer is mobility something we hope for.  No longer is it something we dream about.  It is so much a part of our every day lives that we are even taking it for granted.

But is it really that much a part of our lives?  I would argue that true mobility (read mobile enablement) has not yet penetrated the enterprise.  In many ways mobility has been kept outside of the enterprise fortress.  It is the last bastion to be conquered in 2012.  The extension of email and calendaring is not true mobile enablement.

In 2012 we will see the enterprise mobility space reshaped.  Long dominated by the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution by the end of 2012 the mobile enterprise will look very different than what it does today.  Do not think that this monumental change will start on January 1st … it started a few years ago.  Palm, Good Technology and Research In Motion all paved the way for what will happen in 2012.   As old devices come up for a refresh and the pent-up demand for functionality increases IT departments everywhere will be forced to seriously consider opening the doors to true mobility.

Enterprise mobility is about extending the enterprise to mobile employees where ever they are on a wide variety of devices.  This can be done securely and efficiently through the many mobile device management solutions out there (i.e Afaria and the future BES/Ubitexx combo among others).  If the enterprise stops only at the device management aspect of it they will completely miss the boat and it can not in good conscience be called ‘enterprise mobility.’  On top of managing the devices you will need to provide access to critical enterprise applications as well as some consumer apps available through the app stores (or all – depending on your security concerns).  Speaking of app stores you will also need to decide  how will control and to whom you will distribute each mobile app – you can also do this with an internal enterprise mobile application store.

In 2012 the enterprise will truly become mobile.  The key term mobile strategy (or mobility strategy) will begin to be identified more and more with your enterprise mobile strategy (roadmap) as much as it has been over the last few years with your approach to your market through the mobile channel.

 

Mobile Strategy vs Mobility Strategy

I have been thinking about this difference the last few days. Some people use the terms interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. They don’t mean the same thing… I am still cementing my thoughts on these differences but I think it is a good exercise for all of us if we are able to go deeper into the meaning of each.

What do think? Is there a difference? Are they referring to the same thing? Or different things?