Using Mobile to Incrementally Innovate

By Christian Buckley posted 12-06-2013 18:04


At the AIIM Executive Leadership Council (ELC) meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this week, event facilitator and technology futurist Thornton May framed the discussion on securely mobilizing the enterprise by asking a broader question: "How do we create value with information?"


The question stuck with me, and honestly, I stopped paying attention to Thornton for a couple minutes while I jotted down a few thoughts on the topic. The real issue is that many organizations intent on delivering the latest, greatest technology solutions many times slip into delivery mode without first understanding why they are building in the first place. What is the value we are delivering? How will mobile improve our data, help us access that data more quickly, help us synthesize this data to solve business problems more quickly?


So much attention on mobility is spent around net-new tools -- trendy capabilities that, while cool and fun and new, sometimes add noise rather than improve our business activities. We're all looking for that new mobile innovation that will suddenly deliver new productivity not previously experienced, when what we should be looking at is how to use mobile to incrementally improve.


For example, I had a conversation with someone about my company's use of Concur for expense reporting. It's a cloud-based platform, so I am able to login from any machine with internet connectivity. There is also a mobile app, and my co-worker commented that it was very limited, and, he thought, a useless app. While the mobile app is very limited, allowing you only to snap photos of receipts and create generic expense line items -- its purpose is not to replace the entire expense report process, but to take two of the most common entry activities and simplify through mobile tools, allowing you to snap a photo of your receipt at the time of your transaction, and create a line item for the expense. Once you log back into the system, your line items are there to complete your metadata assignment (expense category, project details, descriptions, etc) and attach the photo which you snapped at the time of purchase.


This other person was complaining about the limitations, where my perspective was that these two primary tasks are all you would ever want from a mobile experience. I would never build out a feature-rich spreadsheet-type application for the mobile experience, although there is plenty of room to expand the two simple app features and allow the user to quickly snap a photo and then walk through a form to complete each entry and attach the photo. There's always room for improvement.


But my point is that enhancing key functions of a customer experience (cataloging snapshots of receipts) is a great way to start introducing mobile solutions into a business. 

#mobility #efficiency #mobile #innovation #businessprocessimprovement #enduser