The national bank of a G20 country had a tough time deciding which way to go with corporate mobility. Its management, just like the rest of us, had personal preferences and opinions on various products and brands involved, which was complicating the selection process for the CIO. Media, industry marketing, and our own social circles, all play a role influencing our opinion and blurring the reality. While these sources of information and noise can provide some awareness, they risk trivializing the decision-making process that is fundamental to running a successful business.
That’s because workers feel more attached to their smartphones than they ever will to their computers, even when the devices are company-owned. The smartphone you carry is right up there with the clothes you wear, the purse you carry and the car you drive. But CIOs and IT organizations need to approach enterprise IT assets, productivity, and risk management with a sober analytical head and pragmatism, all while ensuring alignment with corporate strategy. Corporate assets, and more importantly, the corporate image, are ultimately at stake.
CIOs thus have long-term business goals on one side of the equation, and the fast-changing tastes and technologies of the smartphone world on the other. Add the mobility management platform into the mix (a necessity in just about any sound enterprise), and CIOs often face a product selection process that favors politics over technology.
Anonymity: So that Rational Strategy Can Prevail
Choosing an enterprise mobility platform was a strategic decision for the national bank (as it almost always is). The CIO needed a way to elevate the decision-making process above personal bias. The IT department received unsolicited feedback from management that some vendors may be more preferred than the others, and opinions both about vendors’ financial prospects, and the relative perceived advancement of various products. There were plenty of strong opinions and “suggestions” for the CIO about which vendors were preferred by upper management. They picked their horses and took the necessary steps to influence the race
Realizing that the senior managers jumped to conclusions as soon as they saw the brand name, the CIO offered to anonymize it for the sake of objective decision-making. The brand names were removed, and the management received the report with vendors labelled as “a”, “b”, “c”, and so on. The report included each vendor’s financial details, an IT product trial scorecard that included features, performance, and Total Cost of Ownership projections, as well as risk assessment details, end-user satisfaction scorecards and users’ comments. All cleansed of brand names.
The management committee happily evaluated this anonymized report and quickly arrived at a unanimous decision, selecting one vendor among the MDM contenders, and one smartphone platform. The most important thing is that they felt comfortable with their decision even after they had realised their choice was not what they had pitched to the IT department. In the end everybody won: IT got the top-scoring MDM platform, end-users got the smartphone they scored the best, and the committee sided with the vendor that looked to have the best overall reputation in mobile enterprise business and solid financials.
Your MDM platform is only part of the equation. To implement a truly effective mobile strategy, you need to take things a step further, and garner an understanding of your business’s unique mobile needs. The CIO’s Guide to EMM, written based on feedback from mobility analysts and fortune 500 companies, is just the book you need to get started.