Two of the things I love most about my job are, first that I'm always learning. Second, I love to share what I've learned, by presenting at events, writing articles, and conducting webinars. I love to see someone's eyes light up as they think about a problem a new way, or find the solution they've been looking for.
This week, those two "loves" came together for me as Todd Baginski (SharePoint MVP and VP of SharePoint & Mobility at Canviz Consulting), Ben Henderson (Senior Product Manager for Colligo Engage at Colligo) and I prepared for the webinar we're delivering on Tuesday morning:
Planning for Mobile SharePoint Success: A Deep Dive into Real Business Scenarios
How this webinar come to make Todd Baginski say "Wow!"?
In years past, mobility was an investment reserved for execs and remote sales teams. Today, almost every information worker is by definition mobile. No longer tied to their desks, they need access to information anywhere, any time, on any device.
The question we set out to ask ourselves was: How far can you support mobile scenarios with out-of-box SharePoint & Office 365? How do you make an effective build or buy decision if you need more than that?
Those aren't easy questions. "Mobility" is space that's expanding with a pace that is extreme even by today's tech pace standards. The reality (which shouldn't surprise anyone) is that SharePoint and Office 365 only go so far. They don't meet even some of the most fundamental requirements of many scenarios. And the user experience is anything but "delightful" for most features as you go across devices, content types, and levels of connectivity.
Therefore, a significant number of companies use third-party solutions to support mobility: close to 12% by a recent AIIM study. And almost one in three are planning to implement third party tools to support mobility in the near future. A lot of companies also develop custom apps for their mobile and remote workforce.
But those things cost money. So you, as a customer, need to understand just how far you can stretch the out-of-box tools, where they fall short of meeting certain requirements, and what the alternatives are to go the distance. You then need to be able to quantify and justify any investment you make to support your mobility scenarios.
How can you do that, when you might not even know what your 'requirements' are, or what the various tools and approaches can achieve (or not)?
Those were the thoughts in our heads as we began to work on this webinar.
How this webinar approaches creating a path to success
We decided the most valuable approach would be to look at requirements from a practical, scenario-based perspective. So we're closely examining the requirements for four typical scenarios that involve mobility, multiple devices, remote and disconnected workers:
- The "information worker" who needs access to enterprise content across devices, locations, and connections. From the desk, to the conference room, to the airplane to the remote location. These are the most fundamental requirements, which set the stage for the other three scenarios.
- The "remote sales executive" who needs to understand a customer by accessing corporate data, to present sales collateral, and to place orders.
- The "field technician or engineer" who needs technical and procedural information in sometimes extreme conditions--information that might even save lives. Access to and use of the information is subject to strict controls and auditing for compliance purposes.
- The "professional services consultant", like a lawyer or financial advisor, who, in a firm, needs to manage knowledge and content and who likely lives in their inbox.
These four scenarios are unique, but share commonalities. And, taken as a collection, they contain just about every requirement you would ever need to consider for any mobile scenario.
So we're going to dive into each, enumerate their requirements, align technologies that support those requirements, whether out-of-box, third-party, or custom developed. And, by the time we're finished, you'll have a comprehensive list of requirements with which to evaluate any mobility scenario in your organization. Our goal is that, with our list, you'll have a shortcut to success--you won't "forget" a requirement.
Then we wrap up with a matrix-based tool that you can use to actually quantify the importance, value, cost, and risk of the various ways you can support each requirement. That tool can then be used to justify whatever investment is right for your situation, and to understand the risks you're taking within your budgetary constraints.
What happened when we rehearsed?
We set out to rehearse this webinar twice. We had loads of technical problems which, as both a speaker and the CEO of IT Unity, drove me nuts. I won't bore you with those.
When we finally got into the process, we found this was far more information than we'd anticipated. But we also found it was super valuable information. So we decided to record everything, as planned, and we expanded the webinar from 60 to 90 minutes, plus an additional 30 minutes for live Q&A so that attendees can get the full value of everything we set out to discuss.
When we finished rehearsing, we all agreed we had something special. Todd Baginski--who lives and breathes "mobility" and is one of the Office 365 team's go-to gurus for mobile development--said:
"Wow, there's nothing like this out there that brings so many of these key topics together! This is great stuff!"
I agree! This is really good content... One of the more valuable sessions I've ever participated in.
Todd, Ben and I will be there to answer questions the whole time, and the dedicated Q&A period at the end should be very eye-opening.
I hope you can join us, so register today for the live webinar or to access the recording.