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Mobile Everything? Considerations Before Delivering Mobile Access

We frequently see projects these days with a requirement for mobile access to corporate technology platforms. For clarity, I am limiting my definition of “mobile” to cell phones.

We hear three common drivers behind this requirement.

The first driver is remote access (outside the office) to these platforms. Second is a changing employee population which is accustomed to cell phone based access for everything. A third driver is “image” of the company based on the marketing hype around the need for mobile access. I believe, in some cases, these drivers are insufficient justification to add mobile access.

Yes it’s true that mobile access is very convenient and can improve productivity.

However, there are few things that should be considered prior to delivering mobile access:

  • Screen size – Due to the limited visual space on a mobile device I have seen apps that eliminated “key” data. This often lead the reader to inaccurate conclusions. This screen size limitation becomes more dangerous with the ability to manually adjust the screen size. Imagine a power station supervisor telling his operations person to decrease the output for a power plant because the device dropped a digit and he really needed to increase the output.
  • Security – The small size of most cell phones makes it easy for the user to lose the phone or have it stolen. Many large cybersecurity incidents have been traced back to a compromised mobile device.
  • Liability – We have already seen legal cases in court where a victim successfully sued an employer. The employee was using a cell phone while working. This use was identified as the cause of the injury to the victim. This type of liability and more will continue to expose themselves in our legal system.

If you have read this far you might come to the conclusion the author is opposed to cell phone enablement as a computing device ? You would be inaccurate in that conclusion. I have personally used cell phones since the very beginning of the devices with the “Bag” phones.

Back in those days we paid hundreds of dollars just to “talk” 30 minutes within a limited geography. When it makes sense, I am still a strong advocate for the use of the cell phones as a computing device.

The reason for this blog is to provide some counter balance to this conversation.We have plenty of marketing hype to fuel the engine on the “Pro” side of this conversation.

A balanced, well reasoned approach to what should or should not go “Mobile” will pay big dividends to shareholders, employees, and employers. In the future I think we will have even more chances to improve the quality of our work with cell phones.

With emerging technologies like Virtual Assistants, AI, IoT, etc. a new way of working with our mobile devices will be discovered. But like any technology decision we should always take time to consider the big picture.

Thinking it through!

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