Real Time Communications Featured Article

What's Your Company's Enterprise Mobile Maturity Level?

September 08, 2015
By Special Guest
Harjot Sidhu, VP of Consulting at Vox Mobile

Enterprise mobility isn’t merely a means of getting emails on the go or a tool for executives to view meeting notes—it’s nothing less than a revolution in product and service delivery. The rise of mobile apps, such as Uber or Dropbox, has completely transformed, disrupted, and (in some cases) crushed industries and businesses. Companies that want to compete in the 21st century need to harness the possibilities of mobile by shifting their approach from tactical to strategic to transformative.

However, because of the traditional approach to IT, the highly dynamic nature of mobility, the increasing fragmentation of end points, and many other reasons, enterprises are unable to innovate and, in many cases, are even forced to retreat to day-to-day “fire-fighting”.  This mobile management barrier, which prevents progress within the organization, is known as the “m-gap”.  Because of this m-gap, organizations get so bogged down in the minutiae of management that they fail to capitalize on the incredible opportunities mobile presents for businesses in virtually every sector.

The m-gap is closely related to enterprise mobile maturity. More mature organizations can use mobile to create breakthrough innovation, whereas less mature companies typically struggle just to manage mobile effectively. Generally speaking, there are five levels of enterprise mobile maturity, and a company’s ranking on this scale determines whether or not the organization is fully prepared to innovate:

  1. Functional
  2. Enabling
  3. Contributing
  4. Differentiating
  5. Transformational

Obviously an organization’s entire mobility environment cannot be distilled to simply one number. There are at least 10 categories of mobility that should be assessed individually such as mobile infrastructure, policy, security/compliance, governance and mobile strategy, and more. Even within a given category, multiple maturity levels can be identified. For example, the IT department may demonstrate little innovation but there may be pockets of innovation in the line of business, often unauthorized, but innovative nonetheless. Each maturity level has its own set of identifying characteristics, and a comprehensive assessment is required to pinpoint any given organization’s maturity levels on the scales accurately. But companies that fall on the lower end of the scales typically have at least some of the following factors in common:

  • Devices are issued based on job titles rather than need
  • No clear assessment of “bring your own device” (BYOD) status or related policies
  • No recent assessment of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution.
  • Uniform device security regardless of variability in risk among the user groups,
  • Limited support and operational practices including delays in lost/stolen device response, poor end-user feedback, and “best effort” support
  • Minimal use of mobile applications (email, calendar and contacts only)
  • Weak mobility governance with limited mechanisms for feedback to IT from the lines of business

Companies that are operating at the lower end of the mobile maturity scale often display these characteristics and others traits that hamper their ability to fully reach their potential in the mobile space. On the other hand, organizations that fall into the higher ranges of the mobile maturity scale typically display characteristics such as the following:

Image via Shutterstock
  • Recognition of mobile’s role in innovation and ensuring foundational status in IT strategy
  • Identification and application of user segments and profiles to enable role-based technology deployment, support, financial reimbursement, security stance, and more
  • IT governance that emphasizes business enablement and collaboration
  • Broader deployment of proven horizontal apps
  • The development of a framework and some deployments of vertical apps for line of business process improvement and automation

Today, most companies fall into the 1.5 to 2.5 range (out of 5) on the enterprise mobile maturity scale. But companies that want to fulfill their potential in an increasingly mobile-first business environment should consider an expert maturity assessment that accurately identifies their current and target characteristics within a realistic timeframe.

Performing such a mobile maturity assessment is often a first step for many organizations and will typically reveal their m-gap, which must then be closed. The good news is that resources are available to help companies, not only perform their mobile maturity assessment and develop their mobility strategy, but also to execute that strategy in order to overcome the m-gap. The ultimate result of such an endeavor, and the goal of any organization, is application success, a great user experience, agility, and breakthrough innovation. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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