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Five Mobile App Questions Board Members Should Ask The CIO

October 11, 2013




Introduction to my article published in Forbes – October 9, 2013 & The Chicago Tribune October 10, 2013. Read the full article here

Written by Mark Scott, CEO of Northern Pixels

When it comes to implementing technology solutions within an enterprise, the CIO is the authority on the matter; however board members need to sometimes test just how solid the CIO’s plan really is.

As it relates to significant mobile technology cost expenditures, board members of a corporation should ask questions and take an interest in the process. There’s nothing wrong with healthy discourse. After all, the CIO should be prepared to defend his/her decisions.

With that being said, here are five mobile app questions that board members should ask the CIO.

1. Which business processes are of highest priority for transitioning to mobile devices and apps?

Enterprises can have hundreds, sometimes thousands of business processes, some with a higher potential for saving on productivity and cost-saving than others. How is the CIO prioritizing which business process will be mobilized first? In other words, what’s the plan and what business data is it based on.

Moreover, unbeknownst to the CIO, sometimes business process owners have already taken it upon themselves and implemented mobile solutions. It’s important that the CIO know and understand these ground-up mobile initiatives, identify what can be learned “from the trenches” and find out just how these actions will impact future company decisions – good or bad.

2. Where is the CIO choosing custom mobile solutions or packaged mobile solutions, and why?

Custom App builds are frequently required in business, such as a customer-facing branded app. However, today the majority of field business processes for data collection and dispatching can be handled by off-the-shelf mobile solutions.

Considering the complexity and variety of device operating systems, and factoring in multiple screen sizes and functionality, if a custom build is still being undertaken, what is the business case for replicating the capabilities of an available off-the-shelf mobile solution?

Furthermore, it’s perfectly legitimate to raise the track record of the enterprise in developing, releasing and maintaining custom solutions. What have been the associated costs in past custom developments? Is there a track record of employees adopting and using these custom solutions?

3. How are we using SaaS solutions to extend our mobile employees?

Complimentary external solutions can play a significant role in mobilizing employees and ensuring that enterprises are getting the most out of their employees in the field. Inform yourself as to what SaaS solutions the enterprise is commonly using today. Salesforce is a broadly used example, but multiple cloud solutions are creeping into every department within the enterprise.

Ask what the strategy is to connect and leverage SaaS solutions to the mobile strategy to improve business processes. Again, try and learn what you can from business process owners who have deployed “non-sanctioned” solutions to improve their department’s business productivity, and where they should fit in the new mobile strategy.

4. How will the new deluge of mobile data be used to improve the business?

The more mobile we go, the more data we generate. With the new deluge of mobile data coming into the enterprise, how will it be leveraged to improve productivity, and how will the data connect to the Enterprise analytics and CRM to improve business processes?

Moreover, what about all of the new rich data that mobile empowered employees will bring to the enterprise (photos, videos, bar & QR codes, customer signatures, GPS tagging, voice memos, etc.)? How will it be stored, searchable and valuable, versus causing a case of useless data bloat?

Introduction to my article published in Forbes – October 9, 2013 & The Chicago Tribune October 10, 2013. Read the full article here

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