Mobile Self-Service Dream Teams for the Digital Workplace

Can you buy a digital workplace? If you did, what would it do? This five-part series analyzes Gartner Magic Quadrants to envision an architectural landscape for an integrated digital workplace to enable communications, content management, and mobile self-service. The goal is to bring ideas to the table for stakeholder discussions that strike a balance between enterprise integration and best-of-breed capabilities, to guide emerging strategies for digital workplace platforms and workforce enablement.

Part IV: Mobile Self-Service

This section takes a deep dive into Magic Quadrants that enable mobile self-service:

  • Enterprise Mobility Management
  • Business Productivity
  • BI and Analytics
  • HR Talent Management
  • Sales Force Automation (CRM)
  • Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) for HR and Finance
  • Self-Service Summary

This may feel like a catch-all category, but there is a reason behind this choice of Magic Quadrants. All of them share a mission for workforce enablement: being productive on a mobile device, doing hands-on analytics of real-time data in embedded dashboards, doing the everyday transactional work of core business processes in sales, finance, and HR. A digital workplace is, and must be, mobile, and must enable employee self-service across the enterprise.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

The business self-service trends for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) are strong drivers in this space for enterprises looking to balance mobile experiences with information security, access management, and provisioning. Airwatch by VMWare is the clear leader in the Leaders quadrant, which also includes MobileIron, Citrix, IBM, and Good Technology. SAP is the onlyChallenger in this space, but Microsoft is a Visionary along with Soti and Sophos. Blackberry, Landesk, and Globo are Niche players, but may still be compelling to organizations with investment in Blackberry hardware. However, BYOD and CYOD pressure from business users in a distributed digital workplace are likely to disrupt this market heavily. Organizations looking to deploy a mobile digital workplace may want to consider a hybrid vendor strategy with VMWare or Citrix on top of Microsoft, which provides a seamless user experience through the Office 365 mobile app suite.

Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics

Business self-service, decentralization, and agility are key trends disrupting the traditional BI market, and digital workplace teams will want to focus on business-facing  analytics tools with strong interactive user experience, integrated with line of business data repositories serving as systems of record. Extranet sharing with customers (and citizens in the public sector) is also a strong business driver that can trigger re-evaluation of data access/security and data quality. Governance capabilities as well as strong visual and interactive experiences should be balanced in selecting BI tools for the digital workplace.

Microsoft, Tableau and Qlik lead the field in the Leaders quadrant, with noChallengers identified. Alteryx, SAS, SAP (Business Objects) and MicroStrategy top a crowded field of Visionaries with a second tier of IBM, ClearStory, Logi, Pentaho, Tibco, and BeyondCore. The Niche players quadrant is even more crowded, with Birst closest to the center and an arrowhead of vendors Domo, GoodData, SalesForce, Pyramid Analytics, Board, Sisense, Information Builders, Yellowfin, Platora, and Datawatch. Enterprises looking to jumpstart the analytics capabilities of a digital workplace would do well to evaluate the self-service Microsoft offerings including PowerBI and Excel Services in SharePoint, while investing in Tableau or Qlik on top of a SOR data warehouse for enterprise reporting.

Sales Force Automation and CRM

In the digital workplace landscape, CRM was one of the very first workloads to go mobile-first andcloud-first, and all but the niche players here have mature online offerings.

SalesForce clearly leads the Leaders quadrant, but Microsoft takes the other two Leader spots with Dynamics CRM cloud (#2) and on-premise (#3).  SAP CRM and NetSuite are Challengers in this space, while SAP for Sales, Oracle, and SugarCRM are the Visionaries. There is a long tail of Niche players Base, CRMNext, Aptean, Zoho, Sage, Bullhorn, Infor, and Tour De Force, mostly aimed at the SMB market.

Bringing Sales back into the fold without sacrificing the user experience will require some outreach from traditional intranet teams, who may find a new sponsor for digital business, extranets, and mobile productivity from leadership poised to drive digital business and e-commerce to customers and partners.

ERP Systems

Postmodern ERP is a technology strategy that automates and links administrative and operational business capabilities (such as finance, HR, purchasing, manufacturing and distribution) with appropriate levels of integration that balance the benefits of vendor-delivered integration against business flexibility and agility.” (Gartner)

In the context of a digital workplace, ERP systems are the corporate systems of record for business processes and data that workers interact with on a daily basis. Integrating communications and content management into these platforms has been underway for some time, both as leading vendors add their own social and ECM capabilities and as ERP vendors announce partnerships with market leaders.

For single-instance ERP systems in midmarket and upper-market companies, Leaders are SAP (Business All-in-One) and IFS Systems. Oracle is twice a Challenger with JD Edwards and Oracle e-Business. Microsoft Dynamics AX is a Visionary along with Epicor. Niche players QAD and Infor (LN and M3) round out the Magic Quadrant.

The next digital workplace frontier for ERP is surfacing self-service process touchpoints to the front office through mobile and responsive web applications. Digital workplace teams will want to bring a mobile-first strategy to the back office by helping ERP teams evaluate native mobile apps from SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft before they commit to heavy process customizations that could require custom mobile development.

HR Talent Management

HR systems are quickly emerging as a key digital workplace capability for mobile self-service to a distributed workforce. The GMQ for Talent Management is dominated by Leaders SAP (SuccessFactors) and Oracle (PeopleSoft) for completeness of vision, and CornerStone OnDemand, which ranks highest in ability to execute. There are no Challengers to these leaders, but a raft of Visionaries coming up fast includes Halogen, Saba, PeopleFluent, SumTotal, and Haufe, with TalentSoft just emerging from a Niche players field of Lumesse, Deltek (HRSmart) and Technomedia.

Self-Service Leaders Summary

Who are the self-service leaders in the digital workplace? There will be three sets of capabilities needed: mobile infrastructure, mobile apps, and access to data. This is the most challenging space to envision, since each group of stakeholders will drive self-service for their own business processes while IT teams struggle to accelerate the cloud infrastructure needed to deliver value. Mobile self-service is a mission-critical end game for digital business, but it will be a long game with lots of players.

Why not do mobile, then do self-service, or vice versa? Many enterprises will do just that. But a mobile-first, cloud-first strategy needs not to tack mobile apps on as an afterthought, or risks needing to reengineer processes that made sense for the hybrid cloud implementation, but aren’t simple enough for a great user experience. Here are some strategy tips to consider.

  • Think beyond the intranet in terms of workforce enablement for self-service
  • Think outside the box by preferring out-of-the-box user experiences to save customization and maintenance costs
  • Plan for BYOD even if your enterprise currently provides mobile device hardware
  • Pick one or two essential business processes to enable for mobile, like time and expense, and use these to test the mobile platform before investing heavily in app development
  • Become a champion for decentralized and self-service analytics for business users
  • Engage compliance and information security teams up front with the digital workplace vision to avoid lockdown of key business data needed to make analytics and transactional processes self-service
  • Don’t pick an “official” mobile platform: your employees will do that for you by using their personal devices with or without corporate approval
  • Look to Sales as a sponsor and champion of mobile intranets for self-service
  • Plan for resistance to self-service from owners of highly secure content like Finance, Legal, and HR Compensation and Performance Management, and engage these teams for internal self-service first

Part V in this series will put it all together and envision a dream-team vendor suite for the digital workplace by examining capability breadth, best-of-breed and best-in-class winners, and the elusive ideal of a turnkey platform.

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