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Rethinking Enterprise Mobility Strategies


Adopting a user-centric business design, developed around unique user personas, can deliver a seamless user experience that successfully meets business goals.

Adopting a user-centric business design, developed around unique user personas, can deliver a seamless user experience that successfully meets business goals.

Experts predict that by 2015, the Internet will be accessed more by mobile devices than desktops. Mobile devices differ from desktops in various ways: they are more personal and are always with the user, they can detect location, movement, acceleration, orientation, proximity, environmental conditions and can operate with inputs through gesture, camera, voice, barcodes, movement, etc.

Figure 1

This multiplicity of functionality makes the mobile device more than just another computing tool to replace tasks historically performed on the desktop. As seen in Figure 11, mobility fundamentally changes the behavior, making it a necessity for enterprises to think about a mobile strategy that arises from a deep understanding of user behavior and motivations, one that creates a captivating user experience that is timed to their functional needs and personal preferences.

Capitalizing on Mobile Personas

In the expanding mobile ecosystem, "personas" offer critical business context. Personas are groups with common goals, tagged with a name and a personality, to understand their needs. Persona stories are developed to include the mindsets, motivations, perceptions, measurable attributes, etc. for various classes of users. This does not mean rebuilding the enterprise with new business functions but picking and choosing which existing functions are applicable to particular personas and how to serve users with specific entry points.

Persona analysis and business context-building is, therefore, the first focal point for enterprises looking to get mobile on the right path with knowledge workers and customers. Enterprise-oriented personas need not be developed from scratch; rather, they can be recast into a mobile context.

Building a Mobile Business Strategy

A successful mobile business strategy should be mobile-first to create serious organizational inroads that can provide new entry points for users alongside existing service offerings. The following three-step methodology (see Figure 2) can help pave the way for discovering and validating future business scenarios, by reexamining how business operating model improvements can be made to enhance interactions, internally and externally with customers and business partners.

Figure 2

Step 1: Discovering Business Segments for Mobility

Core business processes across the enterprise provide the ways and means of the business. Multiple personas, such as employees, customers and partners, interact to fulfill service requests using various channels. One way to start creating persona-based mobile strategies is to closely inspect these processes and selectively identify areas for improvement. Each process should be analyzed for its need to operate in an anytime/anywhere mode and its ability to extend to mobile devices.

The key question that needs to be addressed is: "Which business processes should be scoped for mobile use?" The answer should address two issues: 

  • Would mobile capability contribute to revenue or productivity gains?

  • Could mobile capability and motivation improve the function?

Step 2: Analyzing Mobile Persona Characteristics

As human actions are inherently situated in a context that frames the individual's behavior — with continual fluctuations of location, time, relevance, environment, interactivity and human actions — understanding personal context is critical in capturing the nature of the interaction.

Given that mobile devices function as a smart digital agent for many people, it is best to consider application interactions in two parts:

  • User need-based information planning.

  • Time sensitivity-based information delivery.

A Day in the Life of a Modern Mobile Worker

Before planning the mobile experience, walking in the shoes of a persona can be helpful. It can also be used to document the key interactions of both humans and systems that correlate with "at-the-desk" and "on-the-go" experiences. At-the-desk activity is predominantly governed by the desktop in planning and preparation activities. On-the-go activities include the various levels of mobile device and human interactions required to successfully fulfill a particular business scenario.

The below motion graphic depicts the traveler persona using a day-in-the-life process flow, with activities performed at rest and in moving conditions.

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Overview

Step 3: Planning the Mobile Experience

Drawing from the example of a traveler persona, we demonstrate here how an organization can plan its mobile experience. It is critical to understand both how a traveler leverages flight services and the mobile capabilities necessary to deliver these services holistically. In fact, organizations should treat each touch-point as a trigger with which to connect individual traveler personas across various business scenarios. For example, once a flight delay event has occurred, an airline must be prepared with options delivered to mobile devices to guide travelers toward their destinations and minimize disruption and dissatisfaction.

By creating an experience map, the airline can capture all the different personas that are impacted by a flight delay, enabling it to understand the options available for each activity. Mobility features are expressed through the mobile information interactions that can be applied in various contexts. Linking interactions at the activity level provides multiple solutions that can fit into specifics of each scenario. As they are aggregated, a larger app emerges to address the flight delay challenge.

Looking Ahead

Successful enterprise mobility strategies must be executed differently than traditional IT application development initiatives. The mobile interface should deliver laser-focused functionality with a true understanding of business objectives. Mobile apps designed for the enterprise should be always-on, always alert and always able to meet the needs of individual users with a personalized touch.

For this very reason, personas are key to a successful mobility strategy. Organizations must leverage various components of persona-driven mobilization to build and deliver business capabilities that meet, and where possible, exceed organizational objectives.

For elaborate illustrations of a mobile strategy, examples and real-life applications, please read our whitepaper 'Rethinking Enterprise Mobility Strategy'. You can also visit Cognizant's Mobility Practice for more information.

1 Source: David Willis, "iPad and Beyond: The Media Tablet in Business," Gartner webinar, April 2013,

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