Thursday, July 12, 2012

Enterprise Mobility and Competitive Decision Making

Colonel John Boyd
One of the greatest military strategists of the 21st century was the late USAF Colonel John Boyd.  In his workshops he emphasized the need for agility, new and quicker ways of thinking, and competitive decision-making.  He taught that advantages in observation and orientation enable a tempo in decision making and execution that outpaces the ability of your competition to react effectively in time.  His core strategies were compiled into the acronym OODA (observe, orient, decide and act).

These strategies are meaningful to nearly every company that is developing a mobile strategy and thinking about potential ROIs.  Have you considered the negative impact on your business that might develop if your competitors connected their mobile workforce to real-time business analytics, CRM, EAM, field services, ERP, etc, and you did not?  What if your competitors could respond faster to customer service issues, optimize real-time scheduling, respond faster to new sales opportunities, solve problems faster and make better decisions in the field?  What if they could run circles around you?

Boyd stressed that the key to winning is the tempo.  He called his theory, Fast Transients. The theory of Fast Transients suggests that in order to win or gain superiority we should operate at a faster tempo than our adversaries.

There is a big difference between running a batch mode or offline business, and running a real-time enterprise.  Real-time means you have mobilized your workforce and you can make the best decisions possible, and respond as fast as possible from nearly anywhere.

In the mobile strategies workshops that I taught in 11 countries last year, I start by asking the audience what kind of business tempo do they want to support and maintain.  The purpose of this questions is to get my clients thinking about how their business can be transformed if they operated on a faster tempo with mobile solutions and real-time data exchanges.

Boyd preached that the key to winning is the speed with which you change and adapt to changes.  How fast can you switch from Plan A to Plan B?  How soon can you recognize the need to change plans?

In the mid-year enterprise mobility survey that I have open right now, making better real-time decisions is currently the second leading ROI that companies are seeking by mobilizing their enterprise.  The third is developing better customer interactions by using mobile solutions.  Better customer interactions often involve responding to your customers' needs faster.  Sounds like Boyd's tempo strategy again.

If you would like a free copy of the mid-year enterprise mobility survey results, please take the survey and I will send the final results to you.

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Kevin Benedict, Mobile Industry Analyst, Mobile Strategy Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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.