If you peruse your mobile marketplace’s “productivity” apps you will find such entries as: to-do lists, notes, contacts, file shares, free hand writing apps, etc. In general these apps offer functionality that helps users organize themselves but offer very little in the form of business productivity. Furthermore, these apps are not usually connected to any of your business infrastructure and therefore promote data silos; disjointed stores of information that aren’t connected to anything meaningful for your business.
What does productivity mean? Dictionary.com defines it as:
The quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.
Based on the above definition what does being productive look like for employees? Simply put: productivity is action that produces revenue. It is the time when an employee is executing tasks that the business can invoice or bill. In the world of mobility that means working with data. And not just any data – company data.
So what are the data elements that employees are, or at least should be, working on to make money for a company? It can be broken into a few high-level categories:
- Line of Business data
- Audio/Video Manipulation
- Communication (Email, Social Media)
- Systems control
In order for a mobile productivity app to be of real value to a business it requires connectivity to a centralized structure that can manage, aggregate, and analyze the work being done as a cohesive company unit. This work can be accomplished with on-premise or in the cloud infrastructure but either way a centrally managed infrastructure is involved. Many, if not most, apps lack this capability and are better suited for individuals rather than organizations. Pass them over for business purposes as you may regret it later when an employee quits and your valuable data is left high and dry somewhere out there.
Do you know what apps people in your company are using? Do you have users creating isolated data islands? What can organizations do upfront to avoid this? Companies that are attempting to leverage mobile devices for productivity not only need an effective mobile device management strategy but also a plan for mobile productivity. Next I’ll discuss the parts to these plans and what questions you should be asking as an organization.