You have probably seen the TV ads in which people simply sing out loud: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” and an agent immediately pops on the scene, either to rescue them or show them how much savings they have available. The competitive company, of course, only can produce a man with a fishing pole.

Don't you wish your company had the ability to magically pop in at the moment it is called, either by customers or even employees? That's the ultimate goal of mobile strategies. However, becoming a mobile enterprise doesn't happen overnight — it takes a deliberate, enterprisewide strategy and some elbow grease.

So, what, exactly, is a “mobile enterprise,” and what benefits are to be derived from attaining this status? These questions were recently explored in a recent global survey of more than 400 executives by Unisys, which identified a small but growing segment of “mobile trendsetter” companies. These leaders indicate they are using mobile to create new revenue streams, lower customer acquisition costs and design new mobile apps.

While most executives report having a mobility strategy in place, about 21 percent can be categorized as mature mobile enterprises, meaning they have a defined mobile strategy that drives their technology roadmap, success metrics and have integrated mobility into their overall enterprise governance.

The survey finds that the more mobile experience a company has, the greater the gains. More than eight out of 10 mobile trendsetters cite gains in productivity from their mobility investments. Organizations moving toward mobile report increases in hourly work output, reduction in overall time to market and lower costs of customer acquisition.

Here are the common ingredients employed by mobile trendsetters to advance their organizations' mobile capabilities:

1) Start with small, exploratory pilots to mobilize key productivity applications. Evolving to a mobile enterprise does not have to mean “costly application rewrites, arduous development projects or the burden of dealing with a variety of mobile devices. Instead, it must boil down to business processes that can accommodate mobility, focusing on techniques that create rapid, low-cost and secure applications for multiple device types.”

2) Factor in the entire mobile environment. “If the focus is on the device or the technology alone, the solution is bound to fail when technology moves forward.”

3) Employ metrics to determine success. “Almost two-thirds of the mobile trendsetters have formal technology-enabled measurement processes in place to calculate the ROI of mobility,” the Unisys survey shows. Among the mobile trendsetters group the top three factors for measuring the success of mobile initiatives are increases in customer satisfaction (67 percent), increases in the speed/efficiency of key business processes (60 percent) and increases in employee satisfaction (60 percent).

4) Put data protection and security top of mind. “Protection of data accessed by mobile devices and managing user authentication and access to business-critical information top the list of best practices that respondents have implemented most widely. Encryption of data also rates high.”

5) Take an integrated approach to mobile management. Introducing “an integrated platform for managing the mobile environment — encompassing users, applications and devices — is cited by a third of respondents worldwide.”

6) Be open and flexible. “Technology is evolving rapidly. What seems great today may not be as appealing a year from now, so embrace change. Foster mobile innovation and creativity by collaborating with partners and customers who are all experimenting with their own mobile initiatives.”

7) Strike a balance between business demands and strong IT implementation. “Enterprises need to look beyond solving problems for particular devices and focus on what will enhance business processes today and in the future.”

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

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