Sep 29

What can enterprises learn from the way the sporting world serves its fans?

Fans

If you haven’t been to a sporting match in the last couple of years you’ve surely missed the frustration of attempting to connect to a severely strained mobile carrier network. Driven by the demands of tech savvy and constantly connected users, sporting venues today are responding by building new (or retrofitting) massive WiFi infrastructures to meet the crushing demands of mobile bandwidth hungry fans. In doing so, fan engagement and expectations at sporting events are undergoing unprecedented change.

These high tech venues are providing a host of expanded and personalised experiences for fans. From the moment they enter the venue, fans can get services that direct them to their seats, allow them to upgrade those seats, or give them the ability to order food and beer without ever having to get up and miss the action. These highly connected venues can also deliver instant replays, providing multi camera angles straight to your mobile device. Fans are catered to at an individual level like never before.

Just as sports venues have woken up to the fact that they can, and must, dramatically change the on-premise experience by taking advantage of users’ excitement for mobile, businesses too have the same opportunity. Succeed and employees will not only have higher satisfaction at work, but they’re likely to put in more hours as well. Fail and you run the risk of your employees looking for a better run team. However, this will take financial and resource commitment by the business to invest in infrastructure, security, and services to see this come to fruition.

How should enterprises take the first step to create a contextually relevant connected culture? They can start by making sure they have the capacity for users to connect. They can perform an assessment of their WiFI capacity and increase access points if need be. The number of devices employees will be bringing into the workplace will only continue to go up and without the ability to connect to the network, and beyond, the opportunity of connectivity will be lost.

Organisations will also need to develop a strategy for mobile and the cloud that takes into consideration what it means to enable their end users. Mobility is only a gimmick if it doesn’t meet actual employee needs. Organisations need to think beyond IT and involve the business side of the operation to truly understand which apps and services it should be providing in order to deliver contextually relevant experiences.

There are many on-premise contextual services that enterprises could enable for employees. From a help-desk experience, to workflows, to analytics, to cloud storage, enterprises have a huge opportunity to make mobile experiences directly-relevant to the end user. These solutions can leverage the additional information mobile devices can provide to deliver the right information at the right time and right place.

Organisations need to look at how they will develop, deploy, and manage these services and security to end users for a smooth experience. This can usually be greatly accelerated through one of the many enterprise mobility management suites available on the market. They will give businesses a base platform for security, app management, and information control.

As much as sporting events have changed the in-venue experience for fans, they have also changed what it means to be an engaged fan outside of the venue. This might be in the comfort of your home, or out at a restaurant or a bar. The challenge venues faces is figuring out what can be done to further draw fans into the action of the game. How can they make those fan experiences as rich and relevant as the fans who are in-venue?

Sports leagues and venues have responded to this remote fan challenge by offering the opportunity to engage with players, fans, and coaching staff through social media. They’ve also created game and trivia questions to compete against other fans. Mobility too offers fans a second screen, contextual experience of related real-time information to the game and players as it happens.

Business should ask the same types of questions as to how to enable remote employees in new and personalised ways. Is your sales superstar about to show up at a key client? Why not have all her related information ready based on their calendar and current location. Need to bring a distributed team together to review product information? Leverage apps such as Fuze or Skype to connect everyone with the devices they already own rather than expensive legacy video conference equipment. The relevancy of these experiences is only limited by an organisations ability to streamline their process to the individual employee.

Mobile will only further blur the lines on what an engaged fan means. It will also continue to blur the boundaries of what “office” and network means. However, with this blurring of lines, enterprises, like sports venues, can take advantage of mobile devices to better deliver and gather information as it happens. Businesses need to provide contextual experiences to connect employees like fans, as an ongoing experience that meets relevant needs at the right time and right place for the win.

Benjamin Robbins is a co-founder at Palador, a mobile consultancy located in Seattle, WA. He can be followed on Twitter @PaladorBenjamin.

This article was originally published on The Guardian on Sept 26, 2014


Mar 27

ICYMI - Enterprise Mobility for Dummies - part II

In case you missed the live broadcast yesterday of Game Changers on the Voice America Business Channel, I had the honor of speaking on a distinguished mobile panel of experts that included Maribel Lopez of Lopez Research, Carolyn Coad of SAP, and Michael O’Farrel of the Mobile Institute, hosted by Bonnie Graham. It was a great (and entertaining) discussion on the current and future state of mobility - click below to listen!

http://cdn.voiceamerica.com/business/011054/graham032614.mp3


Mar 17

Live from London - The Internet of Things at the Guardian Changing Media Summit

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I am in London all this week and will be speaking on the IoT at the Guardian’s Changing Media Summit.  Follow the live blog tomorrow and Wednesday for the latest happenings and some impromptu interviews I’ll be doing. Tweet me if you have any questions you want me to ask any the distinguished speakers.


Oct 31

The app headache you can’t afford to ignore


Oct 25

SAP SMP 3.0 - A fresh approach to mobile development and open standards

I spoke with Carolyn Fitton, SAP mobile marketing, about how SMP 3.0 isn’t just about bringing together its various mobile platforms and assets, but how the platform is designed with developers and the latest open standards in mind.


Oct 24

What’s so special about app wrapping?

Got a chance to catch up with Milja Gillespie today at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas to discuss app wrapping and it’s advantages in the enterprise.


Sep 25

Photos from the Opening Keynote at Mastering Mobility in Melbourne

Just a few shots from the Mastering Mobility conference in Melbourne Australia. It was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to deliver the opening keynote on mobile strategy. Big thanks to the folks at the Eventful Group for putting on such a great event!

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Sep 24

25 Things Influential People Do Better Than Anyone Else

I was honored to find that I was named as part of  the Forbes article 25 Things Influential People Do Better Than Anyone Else. Check out the article and see if you agree!

Forbes_25Things


Sep 13

remotelyMOBILE named 2013 must read IT blog for 2nd year in a row!

BizTech must-read IT Blogs 2013

For the 2nd year in a row remotelyMOBILE has been named one of the 50 must read IT blogs by Biztech Magazine. I am honored to share the list with such other great blogs as:

Thanks to everyone who voted! Check out the full list here.


Sep 10

Mobile Has to Matter

This article was originally published on Sept 3 2011 on HP’s September issue of Discover Performance

Mobile influencer Benjamin Robbins describes how enterprises can approach mobility to improve the enterprise, revitalize IT, and, most importantly, serve the user.   There isn’t an enterprise on the planet today that doesn’t recognize the value of mobility—not just to customers but also to employees. But mobile has emerged as such an important way of transacting business that some organizations get psyched out when they try to define their approach it.  We spoke with Benjamin Robbins, co-founder of enterprise mobility consultancy Palador, on how enterprises should think about mobile and the role that IT leadership can play in a self-service world of cloud and automation. Perhaps surprisingly, he said that, in some ways, mobile is no big deal.

Q: How do most enterprises view mobile? How does that contrast with how they should view mobile?

Benjamin Robbins: Companies should not look at mobile as a separate, siloed piece of technology. Mobile should, at its core, support the company’s objectives. Companies don’t have a laptop strategy or a PC strategy. Mobile is no different—it’s just a technology that needs to support the business. The way to avoid that is to always ask why. Why are we doing this? How does it support whatever aspect of the business we want to support? How does it help move us forward?

Q: Why do most enterprises have a hard time seeing mobile as just another tool in the toolbox?

BR: People get excited and think of it as special because anytime, anywhere connectivity to apps and services is a different compute paradigm. When you’re at a client site, you used to say, “I can send you that file when I get back to the office.” But mobile shortens the cycle. Whenever there’s a need, the ability to execute is much shorter. That’s exciting for organizations, but they have to stick to the core mission and ensure that mobility supports those core business processes.

Q: Where are enterprises messing up mobility?

BR: They’re tripping up in a few areas. First, there’s the traditional way of doing IT that has a really PC-centric sense of things like security and network. But now you have people bringing their own devices to work, and IT doesn’t always want to make the shift to handle it. Second, employees can now be their own IT. Everybody doesn’t have to have the same app—maybe you like QuickOffice, maybe I like something else—and IT doesn’t intuitively know how to handle that. Third, the whole idea of “network” is changing. Network used to be a physically bounded thing you had to plug into. All of that is changing, and organizations are tripping up because the mentality of IT isn’t changing.

Q: That seems like an issue for IT leadership.

BR: Yes, I think enterprises need to get to a place where IT leadership understands that IT’s role is changing but it’s not being eliminated. Business units have the knowledge and budget to drive services they need. However, they lack the technical heft. IT’s role is to enable those services, guide those services, understand existing capabilities in the marketplace, and play a support role in implementation. Business units don’t normally have the expertise to manage those things long term, so they need a partnership with IT. You really need IT leaders who don’t view their primary job function as cost cutting. It’s got to be about enabling people, not saving money.

Q: How does a visionary IT leader get the CIO and CFO to agree that cutting costs, or languishing with flat budgets, is not the way to manage IT?

BR: It is very simple. It involves the right attitude combined with the right metrics. First, organizations need a CIO and CFO who understand that there is a shift taking place, where technology is first being approached as an operational expense rather than a capital expense. Businesses need to exit the business of owning technology and spend the cycles instead on figuring out how services will advance the core business. This eliminates the attitude of treating technology as just another utility to be managed, like electricity or garbage. Second, as with any technical project, the “why” must be tied to ROI. CIOs should be able to answer how any project, be it mobile or not, advances the mission of the organization, and what sort of metrics are being used to measure the success of the investment. Mobile in no way should eliminate the need for fiduciary responsibility. The CIO should have no trouble drawing a line between technical budgets and organizational need.

Q: What kind of expertise will IT bring to the table, now that the business can generally help itself to the services it needs?

BR: The BUs get really excited about something, but might not see the bigger picture. One BU might get super-excited about a service and dump a bunch of data into it, and use it for a year before realizing it’s not what they need. Then they have to get that data out and don’t know how. IT can help with that—and help prevent that from happening in the first place.   Plus, you need people who can go deep into the data. Data streams are at the core of business value, so it’s imperative to have people who can manipulate and manage data beyond an Excel level of expertise.

Q: You spent a full year working only on a mobile device. What were the biggest insights you gleaned that might be helpful to enterprises working on a mobile strategy?

BR: I think that organizations, as part of their mobile policy, should advocate that it’s really important to maintain a healthy connected balance. If you say “we don’t need mobile,” you’ll fail, because competition will fly by you and you won’t know what happened. But by the same token, if you expect people to be connected 24/7, you’ll burn people out, and the organization will suffer, too. If you send someone an email, does it really matter that they get back to you in two minutes vs. two hours?   The important thing about mobile isn’t making people use it all the time—it’s using it in the right instances. Here’s an example. There’s a medical device company and their sales team had to get in front of surgeons. They found that with mobile devices, they could get right in front of surgeons while they’re scrubbing up for the next surgery. You couldn’t do that with computers, but with a tablet you can do that. A mobile strategy shouldn’t be about being constantly connected; it should be about using the technology in the right way at the right time.  

Get more from Benjamin Robbins on Twitter at @PaladorBenjamin and at Palador.com.


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