Designing a Mobility StrategyBy Bob Violino | Posted 2009-09-24 Print
Professional services firms must provide a customized level of service to their customers, but they also want to increase agility, improve employee productivity and cut costs. Virtualization, mobility and social networking help these companies achieve their goals.
Designing a Mobility Strategy
Law firm Fenwick & West LLP in Mountain View, Calif., has made mobile computing and communications technology key tools for many of its employees.
“We’ve been using mobile devices since the first BlackBerrys were available,” says Matt Kesner, the firm’s chief technology officer. “We believe we were the first law firm to equip all our partners with mobile e-mail devices, and we were among the first to provide combination e-mail and cell phone devices.
“Mobile devices are an important part of our communications strategy. We want to be available to our clients when they need our advice. We also want to use business process automation to provide our services to clients with as little overhead as possible. Mobile devices, with their ever-increasing capa-bilities, make our workforce more efficient and nimble.”
The availability of information is key to this approach. “Mobile devices let us put much of the important knowledge of the organization in the hands of our lawyers,” Kesner explains. “We are pushing to put all of our systems into browser-accessible interfaces so that one day soon, they can have all of our resources on their mobile devices.
“Because mobile technology is important to our firm, we try to be among the first users of new waves of products. We often find ourselves beta-testing the latest technologies so we can learn and assimilate them quickly.”
Kesner says Fenwick & West uses “just about every kind of mobile device,” including Palm USA’s Treo, Nokia Symbian devices, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Apple Computer’s iPhones, in addition to BlackBerrys. The company is also planning to purchase the new Pre multimedia smartphone that Palm launched in June.
“We support any mobile platform if we can find a way to meet three security imperatives,” Kesner says. “First, the device must be able to receive and send all e-mail via an encrypted channel. Second, it must be lockable with a security code. And third, we must be able to remotely wipe the device if it is lost.”
Fenwick & West encourages its employees to try new mobile applications, such as mapping tools, social networking and video conferencing. “The benefits of mobile devices are all about having access to what you need as a knowledge worker,” Kesner says.
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