There's no question that the proliferation of mobile devices is increasing in the enterprise marketplace. Let's not even go down the rat hole (today) about individual vs. corporate liability. Let's not even touch (directly) upon my favorite topic: mobility management. I want to talk about the value of mobility in the enterprise.
There's a lot of talk about the value of mobility in terms of "productivity" gains. I actually have a big problem with that term. I certainly know what the word means, but I can't pin it down to define it. (Maybe someone here can help me?)
But when we talk about mobility - how much are we actually measuring? Today, we measure (and it's not always done) the cost of the monthly mobile expenses. We can also measure/monitor the performance of the mobile infratsructure...as well as monitor and measure how long it takes to troubleshoot issues (think about ITSM). But what about measuring when it DOES work?
Sure, we able to measure efficiency gains in certain areas, such as fleet service. Mobile solutions have helped many organizations improve the number of visits that a service truck can make in one day. Least cost routing also improves how much gas is being used...and mobile reports have obviously helped speed up claim/invoice/form processing by not requiring the individual to enter the information when they get back to the central office. But again, that's the blue/gray collar market. What about for knowledge professionals? That's a significantly more difficult task.
That said, it can be done (in theory). We already have the tools in place from a Business Intelligence perspective. Companies can already track the performance of call center employees, as well as sales forecasts or any number of other business processes. How can we start leveraging those tools to better track the performance and the benefits that end users get from the investments that you Mr./Ms. CIO want to make? This requires taking a step back and thinking once again about ITSM.
You will need to work both with your Line of Business manager and your CFO to develop a plan to justify the mobility investment. ROI doesn't always have to be in hard dollars, but your CFO will thank you for it...and also hold you to it if the project isn't a succcess. That's why you need to have a holistic mobility strategy that is NOT just about the technology but instead a re-evvaluation of the actual business process. Maybe this is the dawn of the mobile business analyst?