Mobility: the foundation of digital transformation

February 18th, 2019  by Bruno van Marsenille

These days, information must be available and accessible everywhere, at any time and by any partner of the company, including employees, customers, suppliers, prospects, and more. This requires an infrastructure that is powerful, reliable, and secure, as well as digital processes. Welcome to the virtual IT environment.

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More than ever, the enterprise is moving beyond its internal borders to open up to all its stakeholders. No longer working in isolation, the organization must make its platforms and data accessible to drive growth.

Here are some numbers that explain the extent of the phenomenon. According to a study by StrategyAnalytics, the number of mobile employees will increase from 1.45 billion in 2016 to 1.87 billion in 2022 worldwide – or 42.5% of the active population. Accenture estimates that the annual number of security breaches increased by 27.4% in 2017, showing the fundamental importance of finding the right balance between unhindered mobility and information security.

According to PwC, 50% of all employees will be from Generation Y by 2020. This generation grew up using computers and mobile technology. It is clear that companies will have to adapt to the needs of Generation Y. If not, they fail to attract the talent they need and will risk to see employees leave, as 44% of employees today – according to a Dell and Intel survey – believe their professional environment is not smart enough and not connected.

Internal organization

The old architecture silos must give way to virtual environments, relying heavily on the cloud - private, hybrid or public - to facilitate the exchange of information. Similarly, the workstation becomes more virtual, especially using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology, making the user more mobile and stimulating collaborative work. The underlying IT infrastructure also becomes virtual to provide greater flexibility and enable change. The rise of edge computing improves employee productivity - of both remote and on-site employees - as well as relieve pressure on the internal IT infrastructure and enhance the security level of the extended IT environment.

Road congestion and workspace costs stimulate teleworking and videoconferencing, while agile collaboration methods and collaboration in virtual teams become part of everyday business. This is why network operator Proximus estimates that by 2020, 90% of organizations will deploy telework applications for their employees. At the same time, there is a rise in the use of apps, and not only to improve productivity, whereas storage evolves into shared storage in the cloud.

Apart from mobile devices and software, IP telephony and instant communication are indispensable collaboration tools. Not to mention fixed-mobile convergence and unified communications that allow employees to work wherever they are.

The network

Thanks to the cloud, the organization are able to focus on the added value of IT and on business innovation, leaving the management of its infrastructure in the hands of trusted partners. In addition, the cloud will integrate both applications and data in a more open and flexible global system, provided the necessary security is in place. The cloud will also enable better activity-based IT resources provisioning and turn capex into opex, a particularly relevant argument in times of budget cuts.

Networks – LAN or WAN – are essential links in data transmission. The focus won’t only be on WiFi wireless networks, but also on 5G technology, which will speed up transfer speeds and allow ever larger volumes, following the evolution of unstructured data growth, images and video in particular. 5G will also facilitate the breakthrough of IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (Machine-to-Machine). The technology is expected to arrive on the market in 2019 and will need to be quickly standardized and tested. At the same time, devices will need to be ready as well, allowing large scale deployment, especially in the professional market.

The outside world

By deploying digital processes, the organization opens up to its partners. As a result, customers enjoy a richer user experience. They find information faster, benefit from more personalized data, take advantage of automated processes (including the order process), and use different communication channels. As a result, the customer enjoys a richer offer of customized services.

Suppliers benefit from digitization and mobility to access a wider range of internal data and automate their logistics processes, which will improve operational excellence, reduce costs, and increase the levels of productivity, innovation, and creativity.

In the field

In any mobility project, it goes without saying that security is an important, if not crucial, dimension. Likewise, change management as well as user information and training need attention to ensure the widest possible adoption. And why not clean house before installing new mobile solutions?

To help companies succeed in their mobile transformation, Aprico respects and implements three basic rules: smart, lean, and agile. The smart approach aims at understanding the real added value of mobile technology for the organization and to set the business priorities to achieve the transformation. Aprico is open and independent. Its recommendations are based on the platforms and technologies that fit the client best. Aprico strongly believes in the lean improvement culture that involves planning the right resources at the right time and at the right cost. Finally, our agile methodology combines ongoing collaboration (involving stakeholders as early as possible) throughout the development process, rapid prototyping, and frequent testing (splitting the project into manageable entities resulting in regular delivery). Our approach reduces time-to-market, ensures easier change and maintenance, and ultimately improves customer satisfaction.

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