Importance of Context in Mobile BPM …

So, Mobile BPM is a hot topic this week with Scott Francis publishing a lengthy blog post over at BP-3 and a mobile BPM question over at ebizQ.

Two element of Scott’s blog post from earlier in the week really resonate with me.

It might not be your knowledge workers …

Scott starts:

It turns out there are all kinds of people out there with purpose-built devices, and sub-par software experiences even today. Think of the delivery man coming to your door with a portable device for you to sign for a package. You can’t even read your own signature. And the hardware is expensive. Now imagine that same deliveryman with an iPad.

via Scott Francis

Generally, I think that mobile BPM is about the context. Is a mobile application helpful and intregral to the process or just cool? Scott’s example a perfect place where a great mobile experience would improve both the customer and the employee experience.

Too many proponents of mobile BPM focus on the desk-based office workers who are increasingly bringing mobile devices into the work on BYOD schemes. There are a multitude of good mobile first use cases around these workers but equally there are lots of bad use cases.

If your office workers work predominantly in front of a computer, the value proposition of great mobile experience when they will mostly be interacting with your process on their desktop is probably little more than technical debt.

It’s all about the context ….

He also writes:

And do we really want our HR processes intermingled with our sales processes and our claims processes? I’m not convinced that we do. A fictional ACME corp doesn’t need a single BPM mobile app.  ACME needs mobile apps that make sense for each of its critical processes – distributed to the users that make sense for those processes. And the apps should be tailored for the processes they interact with. Of course the processes should understand what can be done from mobile devices (potentially everything but potentially not).

via Scott Francis

Again, context is king when deciding to go mobile.

I was recently involved in a process where we implemented a mobile-only user experience for one particular role in the process. Most of the process participants needed to work for long periods of time and at their desks to complete their tasks but the senior management wanted to review and approve tasks on their Blackberries. The interesting part of the process design was that the senior managers were unlikely to ever log directly into the system from their computer but were more than happy to review things on their smartphones. Everyone else, needed a keyboard and access to other information on their computers to be productive.

So, the appropriate use of a mobile can be different for different people even inside of the same process. One-size fits all implementations let vendors check the mobile box on the Gartner or Forrester vendor evaluations but don’t necessarily fill the needs of real customers.

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