Last week, we discussed the importance of momentum - putting one foot in front of the other to move forward. Sounds pretty easy….except when you are lying flat on the ground in an open field with a large pine tree poking you in the eye. Add a dull hand saw that looks more like a comb then a cutting tool along with a -10 C wind chill and you have the makings for a swell family outing at your local Tree farm. (thumbs up from wife and daughter - mission accomplished)
There are several options to finding the right tree, here are 3 that we've used over the past few seasons:
> buy a pre-lite tree in any assortment of colors (purple, green, white -even pink) from your local department store (most economic $)
> cut your own tree (or buy a pre-cut tree) - they make this sound romantic but you are also paying a premium for the experience (AKA free cookies and hot chocolate = expect to pay $$)
> purchase a hand-picked tree from the “we’ll cut it for you” Tree farm at a cost that will crash any holiday budget (they know you by first name = big spender $$$)
Think about your upcoming mobility project for your institution much the same way. Before you can begin you need to ask 3 big question upfront:
Who is my target audience and what process can we automate for students, facility and administration via mobile devices to make their lives easier? (3 typical use cases)
> students want to be social and engage with their friends, faculty, admin and varsity programs
> students want to feel safe and secure in their surroundings with access to resources in the case of a threat
> students would like to integrate with student information systems, library systems and automate enrolment and admissions
Do we have the right resources and subject matter expertise in-house (IT, Admin etc.) to build, manage and maintain this mobile initiative?
> device selection - what devices will I need to support? (smartphone, tablets, blackberry, IOS and Android)
> what is the skill set to build the mobile application? (native, web - support for off-line / wireless coverage)
> how will I handle mass adoption, scalability and security?
Are there advantages to selecting an out of the box solution like Campus Life that can simplify mobile application development?
> how much flexibility can I expect to have?
> what is the time and effort to deploy a mobile solution in this scenario?
> how can I brand and private label the solution?
Jumping into a mobility project with minimal thought or planning is like buying a Christmas Tree in middle of the summer. Pointless, unless you are Santa Claus carrying a shade umbrella that doubles as a portable Christmas Tree.
- Gather as much feedback from your end users (students, faculty and admin) as possible throughout your initial planning to prioritize use cases and functionality
- Know your end goals, objectives and success criteria (one application or many complex integrated apps)
- Investigate build vs. buy options - understand the big picture - Mat Brogie from Mobility CIO has some great insight into this question
- Understand your strengths and capabilities as you develop, deploy and maintain your mobile application
- Plan for turbulence and hiccups through-out your project - mobility is no exception
- Define your time frame (test / pilot / feedback / rollout) and adoption strategy – how will your end users use this daily vs. occasionally
- Think about a unique brand experience that defines your community / spirit that your end user audience can own
- Make it simple and intuitive to use with thought to user interface and design
- Provide an outlet for students to contribute ideas and a forum to innovate
- Instill an agile methodology through-out all phases allows for feedback and collaboration
What are you struggling with when you think about deploying a mobile strategy?
What are some of the political barriers to building a mobile “field of dreams”?
How have you incorporated some of these smart steps in your own mobile deployment?
Big question – do you have a strategy in place to get all your holiday shopping done before December 24th? (or have you thought about outsourcing this?)