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StarHub answers Smart Nation call to action with GREAT Strategy
Enterprise mobility is changing and developing so rapidly that some organizations are finding it too complex to grasp and even intimidating. However, organizations which understand the positive impact it can have on business through social, digital, mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud, have partnered with service providers to exploit mobility, achieving business objectives and sometimes even solve business issues. With the Singapore government’s implementation of the Smart Nation Policy1 to enhance mobility and data analytics, the proliferation of enterprise mobility will be brought to greater heights, and more corporations from small to large will have to embrace this new development to stay ahead.
Global market intelligence firm, IDC, even went as far to say:
"Mobility is a key aspect of the evolution of the 3rd Platform (Big Data and analytics, social, cloud, and mobility), and having the right strategies and tools will be paramount for success.”2
The benefits of enterprise managed mobility are numerous. Sebastian Tan, Vice President of Enterprise Services, Solutions and Delivery at StarHub, summarized it in one word – “GREAT”. It means Great user experience as part of a recruitment and retention strategy; Reduced cost of doing business; Enabling the mobile workforce and achieving productivity gains; Analytics-driven insights for better customer engagement; and Technology-driven approach to business enablement.
“Our big data capabilities have helped customers shape their go-to-market direction. We leverage our network assets and solution partners to offer an end to-end mobility solution that power businesses to succeed with a data-driven approach to decision-making,” said Tan.
“In today’s context, IT goes beyond being a platform enabler helping businesses save costs. It is more of a business enabler by fusing marketing team’s product and consumer knowledge with the IT team’s technical expertise to deliver an enhanced customer experience. By knowing the available technology and merging that with customer know-how, a collaborative cross-functional team can bring about great results to a digital business,” he added.
Tan gave the example of provisioning policies that bar high data-usage applications such as video streaming applications when a user is roaming. “IT can help prevent bill shocks to unwitting users who may not be privy to the data usage charges when overseas.”
Despite all these benefits, some enterprises going digital and mobile may find issues like security and data loss or big data analytics daunting. Although every industry will have its own specific challenges, Tan cites three top critical issues that enterprises must look into.
“Firstly, understanding the target audience behavior and preferences is important. For example, based on your target audience age-group, we can help businesses identify the types of devices that the age-group is using, so as to make an informed decision on the OS that your mobile application should be developed on. Making general assumptions about your target audience is wasteful on resources and counter-productive,” said Tan.
Secondly, “when designing your application, businesses need to recognize that security during data transfer is important. It is not enough to secure data at rest. Data that is traveling also needs to be secured and this can be done via https encryption.”
“Last but not least, in the digital age, end-users are demanding an always-on experience. For IT, this means zero application downtime for an optimal user experience. Any downtime would translate to calls to the helpdesk, and have an eventual impact on transaction volume and sales.”
To deal with the rising cost of office rental in Singapore, which is a major concern for many local businesses, hot desking and remote working are starting to gain popularity. It helps improve productivity and maintain business agility. However, businesses also need to find a balance between enabling remote and mobile employees with application development and deployment so that real-time information is easily accessible to the employees, and at the same time, have sufficient enterprise security control to maximize operational benefits for the business.
This is especially true for enterprises eyeing the huge potential to exploit the remote capabilities of their employees’ devices with a cloud platform. “Cloud has been a game-changer for many businesses, including the small and medium enterprises. The ability to collaborate with fellow employees and access information via a cloud environment is now a reality, without the significant investments needed in a private cloud infrastructure,” said Tan.
Larger corporations are already taking advantage of this by investing in applications such as CRM and Customer Analytics where information can be crunched real-time and integrated with social insights via available APIs for meaningful insights and better customer engagement.
With the development of Cloud, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has become a common practice, enabling ease of operation and empowering employees to leverage their own devices. “[Although] some have realized that to harness the true power of mobility, a common denominator is still needed, in this case the selection of devices, which will have a direct impact on the development cost of mobile applications,” Tan advised.
Recently, to resolve the issue of multiple corporate mobile applications, a term “xYOD” referring to a range of technology options beyond BYOD, such as HYOD (Here’s Your Own Device) or CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) is adopted. According to Tan, some enterprises make use of “the CYOD approach to retain control of the range of devices being used in the corporate environment and as a result, shorten the development cycle of corporate mobile applications.”
“I [also] see xYOD as a business enabler with lots of benefits. It’s a matter of choosing your mobility strategy, which spreads across your procurement strategy for devices, application development approach and targeted end-users, to ultimately deployment while retaining the necessary control in a secured environment,” said Tan.
The bottom line is to “Define a sustainable mobility strategy from migration strategy of legacy applications, device strategy, development and implementation of mobile applications and software, to defining how your end-user support framework is structured. This will determine whether businesses are able to successfully ride on the technological bandwagon to deliver innovative products and services,” said Tan.
For businesses looking to exploit the benefits of enterprise managed mobility, it is important to know and understand the business requirements and needs before embarking on a search for a solution provider or partner. This will keep the focus on the business’ end-deliverables, and avoid being trapped into fitting business requirements to readily available solutions offered by service providers.
Tan also stresses the importance of having a partner rather than vendor to help enterprises with their business requirements. The service provider should be a collaborator that understands the business’ target customers. It will then look at the appropriate business needs before looking into the business IT roadmap to develop a cost effective and purpose-built suite of solutionsto enhance the business.
“The difference is that a partner tends to be more consultative and offers value-add rather than just offering you an off-the-shelf solution. If you go by the 80/20 rule, the partner needs to offer the flexibility of customizing the 20% to tailor to your business requirements.”
1. Many Smarties. One Smart Nation, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
2. Enterprise Mobility: Embracing the Shift to a Business-Oriented Mobility Strategy, IDC