Mobile-First – Business Case or Just a Trend?

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Mobile-First – Business Case or Just a Trend?

7signal is working with many enterprises that want to “cut the cord.”  At home, cutting the cord means getting rid of your landline or dropping Cable TV subscription.  In business, it means phasing out desktop computers and phones, prioritizing deployment of mobile apps, and ensuring Wi-Fi is reliable enough as the primary network.

Motivations for Mobile First?

I often wonder why CIOs make the decision to cut the cord.  Do they justify it via a well thought out business case or do they just want to get on board with an inevitable trend?  So I ask. The answer seems to be a little bit of both, but clearly the executives and managers driving the move to the mobile-first untethered enterprise, do have clear business-case driven reasons to justify their decision.

For new buildings, it is somewhat of no-brainer.  The cost of cabling each desktop for voice and data can run millionsMobile Wi-Fi devices of dollars, and the office space design becomes locked down in a rigid environment that is difficult to change.  But what about existing facilities which are already wired?  An IT manager at a major education services company told me, “All my wired infrastructure is expensive to keep under maintenance, and now the switches are being discontinued so I can’t get support.  So why would I go to my CIO with a $1.5M purchase order for new switches?  He will ask me, “What do I get with this?” and I all I can say, “the status quo!””

Is there a Business Case?

But the business case for cutting the cord goes far beyond saving infrastructure costs.  A study by Cisco listed the following reasons why organizations are enabling employee mobility:

65% – Increase productivity

62% – Increase efficiencies

54% – Improve customer service

54% – Save money

53% – Improve collaboration

52% – Improve employee satisfaction

The increase in productivity is difficult to measure.   Certainly being able to process information and collaborate with co-workers anywhere and at any time should lead to faster, hopefully better decisions.   This productivity gain should occur regardless of whether or not the company embraces BYOD, but some of the BYOD business cases are enlightening – an article by Extreme Networks pegs the value of BYOD at $21M per year of increased revenues for a 1000 person company.  And whether BYOD is driven by business cases or by inevitable trends, a study by TechPro Research show that in the U.S. about 60% of all corporations have implemented BYOD and another 14% plan to do so soon.

Mobile First Implications for Wi-Fi

So mobile-first is here and picking up steam.  But when you “cut the cord” and get rid of your desktop computers and phones, and you rely on Wi-Fi as your primary access to the network, you better make sure it will work.  Perhaps just as important, you better be able to show that is it working.  This is where a Wi-Fi Performance Management solution based on a Service Level Agreement (SLA) reporting and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) really helps.  And you don’t just want to look at the Wi-Fi – you want a complete end-to-end view of the worker or customer quality of experience:

  • Can they connect to the network?
  • Can they authenticate?
  • Can they get an IP address?
  • Can they reach the services / sites they need to get to?
  • Do they consistently experience quality transactions?

Without this type of reporting, you are flying blind, and you may have not only “cut the cord”, but also cut your wrists in the process.

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