Is your digital transformation mobile-first? It should be

Smart adoption of mobile provides an opportunity to move out of platform- and device-specific siloes and toward a flexible and adaptable computing environment.

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Your mobile strategy — both for internal use and in support of your customers — is a bellwether of your approach to digital transformation. It is an opportunity to take more digital-native approaches across your technology portfolio, particularly on the front end where your employees and customers engage with you through computers, websites and mobile devices.

Many IT organizations treat mobility as at best a separate silo or channel, and at worst as an unwanted platform they support as minimally as possible despite business demands. You see this approach expressed as constrained support of mobile devices and a desktop-centric approach to customer engagement on the web. The results are more technological and operational siloes, less flexibility and engagement opportunities for employees and customers, and a perpetuation of the rigid, monolithic approach to computing — all self-limiting attributes that digital transformation seeks to end.

By contrast, a pervasive, holistic approach to mobility enables more than just mobile work and engagement. It can be the vehicle for removing troublesome siloes in security, management, operations and engagement. The secret is to not treat mobility as a separate type of computing or channel, but as an attribute of computing that provides an opportunity to reform your computing and channels to be platform-agnostic.

You can deploy mobile technology to your staff and customers in a way that forces digital-native thinking across your core supporting technology platforms. An ecosystem approach to mobility — one that supports an omnidevice and omnichannel worldview — changes the level of abstraction in core front-end technologies so you can reconceive them outside their traditional siloes.

Why mobile?

Mobile devices have been around the enterprise in one form or another for nearly 20 years, and for a decade in the modern form pioneered by the iPhone and Android smartphones, then the iPad and Android tablets. Yet it is common for enterprises to treat them as adjuncts to their “real” computing strategy (meaning based on PCs) or as a parallel environment. That’s created a new silo both for employees and customers. It had led to increased effort for IT, employees and customers alike, as they have to navigate artificial barriers around functionality, access and user experience across the range of devices that they use.

What is needed is a cohesive strategy that looks beyond the specific device and instead at an ecosystem of computing capabilities. This sort of higher-level approach can be a starting point for front-end digital transformation both within the enterprise and in customer engagements.

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