Feeds

You bought into mobile email - what have you got to show for it?

Have mobiles increased productivity?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Mobile Clinic Our mobile clinic returns today, this time looking to get some clarity on whether or not we really have become more efficient since the advent of the mobile phone, and if we have, by how much, and why. As before our panel of experts provide their opinion, something which you can do to via the comment forms at the bottom of the article.

Question

What are the main components of a business case for justifying investment in mobile access email and other business systems? - Cost Benefit Analysis.

Dale Vile, Research Director, Freeform Dynamics Ltd

This is a question I have been investigating through primary research since 2001, and over the years, the various studies I have been involved in have probably gathered feedback from upwards of 15,000 IT and business professionals on this topic. And still, the question of how to justify investments in mobile technology keeps coming up. Why? Because it remains notoriously difficult to construct tangible business cases for many types of mobile solutions based on classic financial return on investment (ROI) modelling alone.

To illustrate the challenge, imagine how you would go about retrospectively cost justifying your investment in normal everyday email today. The level of visibility, reach and immediacy of communications offered by email are pretty much essential for the majority of businesses to operate effectively, yet try turning that into a tangible value you can put a number on.

It's the same problem with mobile solutions aimed at professionals – managers, sales people, consultants and the like. Cost justifying the provision of a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device, or even a data card to enable connectivity from a notebook PC, can be extremely difficult. Sure, you can make assumptions about number of minutes of lost productivity recovered in a day as people use previously "dead" time between meetings or in transit to do useful things on their mobile devices, and I've seen some great Excel models and analyst reports that do this very nicely. While there is nothing wrong with such an approach, however, I do think there is a danger of missing the point.

In our business, for example, we certainly don't justify giving people BlackBerries and data cards on the basis of getting them to work every minute of the day. It is so we can run the business more effectively. We get much better visibility of what's going on and team members can be much more responsive both when supporting each other on activities and decisions, and when dealing with clients, partners, subcontractors and so on. What it basically means is that stuff gets done more quickly and effectively, rather than processes being continuously blocked because people are not available to do a quick review, confirm a decision, or provide a vital snippet of information.

And our research confirms time and time again that that's really the way to think about the value of mobile email and mobile application access for white collar workers – simply greasing the wheels of business processes and decision cycles, and removing artificial delays. As someone said to me a while ago in relation to mobile email – "How do you put a financial value on being able to get to a ‘Yes' more quickly?"

Having said all this, there are some types of mobile solution for which the financial business case can best be described as a "no brainer". Paper and administration intensive field service and logistics operations transformed through the introduction of mobile technology can give rise to ROI periods measured in months. Cost savings come directly from reduced overhead and better control over the way in which resources are allocated and used, leading to better overall resource utilisation. The positive impact on resourcing was, in fact, something that came through strongly in one of our more recent research studies, which also highlights the spin-off benefits of increased customer responsiveness and a general improvement in levels of service delivered.

So, while it is easy to dismiss a lot of mobile technology as being predominantly about providing executive toys and perks, if you look for benefits in the right way, they are there and can be very compelling. It is all about the way you define and assess the level of value.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE
Just need to bring the fibre box within 19m ...
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.