Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Mobile Expert Interview Series: IDC's Nick McQuire, Part 1

IDC's Nick McQuire
Nick and I will both be attending the upcoming conference in Brussels entitled, The Enterprise Mobility Exchange.  I saw him on the agenda and arranged an interview with him.

Note: These are not Nick McQuire's exact words, but rather my notes from the interview.  However, Nick did review this article and provided edits in advance of publication.

Kevin: Tell us about your roles and responsibilities and what areas you cover?
Nick: I have been at IDC for just over a year, and I was at BT Global Services in the strategy arm working across the mobility and UCC portfolios before that.  Before BT, I headed up Enterprise Mobility research in Europe for Yankee Group so have been directly and indirectly in the enterprise mobility segment in Europe for close to ten years now.

Kevin: What are your focus areas today?
Nick: Enterprise mobility and M2M (machine-to-machine communications) in EMEA.  I focus my research on the mobile and M2M value chains in terms of vendors and service providers.  In terms of end users, at IDC we do a fair bit with CIOs, especially in terms of our events platform, but also we run numerous CIO dinners across Europe throughout the year working with them on their challenges in terms of mobility.

Kevin: What do you think is the value of attending an event like the Enterprise Mobility Exchange in Brussels on May 9 - 11?
Nick: I was particularly interested in attending this event based on its success in previous years, especially in terms of field services.  I am especially keen to hear how recent enterprise-wise mobile trends are impacting the field services community, especially in terms of consumerization of the enterprise.  Are enterprises still looking in silos in terms of their approach to mobility?  I am interested in hearing best practices around mobile strategies and deployment in general and given the breadth of attendees and the scope of industry topics covered, I am sure there will be lots to learn in Brussels!

Kevin: What do companies need to think about before starting an enterprise mobility project?
Nick:  Of course many companies will have different approaches but we tend to advise CIOs that the starting point should be to conduct a general audit and rationalization of the estate to determine what enterprises have and what the priorities should be.  This should range across mobile infrastructure, devices and contracts and liability schemes to determine the costs, inventory, policy and any projects that are in place already flying under the radar.  This process in itself is often a revelation for many companies and going through this rationalization exercise up front is a critical step because it often lays bare a few key, previously hidden, priorities early on.

The next step, once organizations have determined what they have, should be to engage the business units to understand their requirements and what mobility means to them to do their job effectively. Having cross functional user buy in early on helps with sponsorship internally but also with prioritization as well.  We also argue that IT should functionally profile their users during this process to best determine user requirements and solutions for specific user groups, work styles and work spaces within the organization.  Not all workers are mobile workers and equally some worker roles have higher risk profiles than others. Gone are the days when blanket policies and standardized technology apply to all workers in organizations, so functional profiling is an important exercise.

Next, after the fact finding, it is then critical to put in place a mobile strategy that aligns with wider business goals of the organization and takes this input from the business teams.  What are the priorities for the company over the next two to three years, and what is needed to achieve them?  Is it to cut costs or to drive growth and greater customer interaction?  Is it to foster better collaboration and innovation or more effective business continuity?  Is it about talent recruitment and retention?  A mobility strategy should directly align to and enable these strategic priorities.

Finally, we argue that success for wide mobility implementations within enterprises needs central governance especially in its infancy.  Perhaps it’s a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Mobility within the company or a VP of Mobility internally.  But some form of central governance, which considers cross functional interests across the mobile workforce for sure, but also senior management and functions from HR, Legal and Operations.  This 360 degree view will ensure considerations across the business are met from employees, partners, legal, including unions, etc., and of course customers.  It will also ensure governance across the business in terms of avoiding duplication and unnecessary costs as well as to ensure priorities and standards are in place.

Read Part 2 of this interview.

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Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.