Two of the biggest trends that many companies are addressing right now are mobility and Social Networking. Maybe second only to cloud computing in hype right now, these two areas represent significant opportunities for many companies. However, one thing that I have noticed is that sometimes the trends with a lot of hype get a lot of attention when it maybe isn’t necessary in a particular instance.
Mobility is not just about providing mobile phones and other mobile devices to all or some of the workforce, but also understanding the security, information and process impact of having a mobile workforce. Likewise, social networking is not just about marketing products through another channel or managing relationships, but also understanding the culture and demographics of your customers/consumers, suppliers, employees and partners. So there is some significant thought that needs to be put into leveraging either of these trends for your enterprise. The question to answer first is whether your business is one that can leverage them given the nature of the way your organization COULD work, given the right tools and applications. In order to answer this question, which is not a technology question, you must develop an understanding of business process and information flows in your organization’s operations. Too often, though, we see the analysis in this area focus on one or both of two aspects: 1) the technology (hardware and software and network) and 2) current mobile workers and executives and social networking users. The full potential here can only be exploited by understanding the impact of mobility or social networking on the operations of your company (how you design, produce, sell, deliver, and market your products and services) and the relationships that your company maintains.
While it is likely that either mobility or social networking can have a positive impact on one or more aspects of your enterprise, you must be prepared to look beyond the technology and current state of operations to leverage them. Sounds like a job for EA.