Mobility & Social Media
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This essay briefly highlights the expanding use and impacts of mobile communications and social media in today’s world. The opportunities and challenges that these tools introduce are described. ...

This essay briefly highlights the expanding use and impacts of mobile communications and social media in today’s world. The opportunities and challenges that these tools introduce are described. Where adopted, changes that maybe required within an organisation’s architecture are examined as well as other potential changes required to Human Resources. How ERP and related products can support mobile communications and social media are also outlined.

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  • 1. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 1
  • 2. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 2ContentsContents ..................................................................................................................................................2Introduction.............................................................................................................................................3The rapid adoption of mobile communications and social media...........................................................3The impacts of mobile communications and social media on organisations..........................................3Challenges presented by mobile communications..................................................................................4Operation ............................................................................................................................................4Display................................................................................................................................................4Functionality .......................................................................................................................................5Connectivity........................................................................................................................................5Challenges presented by social media ....................................................................................................7Management of feedback and channels ..............................................................................................7The rights to and ownership of relationships......................................................................................7Appropriate use...................................................................................................................................8Changes required to architecture if mobile communications and social media are adopted ..................8Security - Basic configuration ............................................................................................................8Security – Policy.................................................................................................................................8Use of a unified platform....................................................................................................................9Changes required to Human Resources if mobile communications and social media are adopted......10How ERP systems can support the use of mobility and social media ..................................................11The consideration of business areas that will benefit from mobility ................................................11How ERP back-ends can be made available to mobile devices........................................................12Utilising data collected via social media for informative purposes ..................................................13Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................13References.............................................................................................................................................15
  • 3. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 3IntroductionThis essay briefly highlights the expanding use and impacts of mobile communications andsocial media in today’s world. The opportunities and challenges that these tools introduce aredescribed. Where adopted, changes that maybe required within an organisation’s architectureare examined as well as other potential changes required to Human Resources. How ERPand related products can support mobile communications and social media are also outlined.The rapid adoption of mobile communications and social mediaThe use of mobile communications has spread rapidly since the mid to late 2000s. At presentapproximately half of all mobile phones in the United States of America and Australia canaccess the internet (Cocotas 2012, Ross 2012). The rapid adoption of such technology isespecially evident in Australia where the market penetration of smart-phones in the mobilephone market had increased by 40% between 2011 and 2012 (Ross 2012).It is estimated that mobile devices will shortly overtake PCs and laptops, becoming thedevice of choice for accessing the internet. This also indicates a greater cross over betweenworking and personal lives and shifting expectations and preferences of the workforce towardthe increased use of mobile devices for both personal and working needs (Allen 2010,Gartner 2010).The use of popular social media has also increased. Between June 2011 and June 2012Facebook user accounts in Australia had increased by approximately six hundred thousand tojust over eleven million. As at June 2012 You Tube Unique Australia Visitors totalledapproximately eleven million. Between January 2011 and June 2012 in Australia Twitterusers had increased from one million to almost 2 million (Social Media News 2012).The impacts of mobile communications and social media on organisationsAs mobility gains traction the opportunities for organisations to enhance and differentiate theconfiguration of activities and processes emerge. For example a recent survey of businessesin the United States that utilise mobility / mobile communications highlighted the followingadvantages:
  • 4. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 4• A greener and leaner operation through reducing the need for utilities;• An enhanced customer experience through timely provision and recording ofinformation;• Streamlining of processes through paperless automation;• Enhanced communication by enabling cross cultural exchange;(Kessler 2011).Social media is evolving from an experimental means of promotion to an extremely powerful,informative and interactive tool. Social media offers organisations the following:• Up-to-the-minute exchange of information with the world;• A foundation for creating widely recognised brands;• A means to facilitate specific location based marketing strategies;• Enhanced recruitment and business to business relations;(Hernandez 2011).The challenges presented by mobile communicationsUsers of Mobile devices and PCs have the same fundamental need – to gain access tocorporate information that is stored on a server. However mobile devices differ fromtraditional PCs and laptops, which presents challenges to organisations, especially if adoptedon a larger scale to support their strategy. Differences and challenges are outlined asfollows:OperationMobile devices utilise different operating systems from PCs and laptops, which meanssoftware is not interchangeable between the two. Based on this separate software may berequired for both.DisplayMobile devices are typically smaller than PCs and laptops and some offer intuitive touchscreen display, so information is displayed in a different way. Due to the great rangeavailable there is also a variance in display amongst mobile devices.
  • 5. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 5FunctionalityMobile devices are not driven by standard applications as seen with PCs and laptops. Mobiledevices are more often utilised to access certain information or to complete very specificfunctions within a process. This will eventually result in an organisation having to managecomplex role based user administration and also manage exclusive applications that supportspecific business functions.ConnectivityMobile devices rely upon access to a public telecommunications network for connectivity,whilst traditionally PCs and laptops rely upon access to an internal corporate network.Mobile devices that have been implemented piece by piece in a home grown, looselygoverned environment without a common platform may only suit a smaller organisation. Onthe contrary in larger or expanding organisations the quantities of mobile applications,operating and back-end systems increase and without a common platform issues may arisesuch as security, privacy and high costs of development and ownership.Security and privacySensitive and classified information that can be accessed remotely poses security risks for anorganisation. Misplaced or lost mobile devices can be difficult to find or trace. Accordingto a study of 1500 participants undertaken internationally, 4 in 10 organisations had mobiledevices lost or stolen, half of these lost or stolen devices contained critical or sensitiveinformation and a third of these losses resulted in adverse financial impacts to organisations(Cylab, Mcafee 2011).There is also an emerging trend of Bring Your Own Device / Service (BYOD / BYOS)particularly in Asia where professional’s personal device preferences override standarddevice options provided by organisations. Where devices are used for both personal andbusiness purposes there are potentially greater security risks including data loss and theintroduction of malware to an organisation’s network (Cylab, Mcafee 2011). The use of amobile device for work and personal purposes may also raise privacy issues such as personalinformation leakage and knowledge of a person’s whereabouts (Kaneshige 2012).
  • 6. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 6The potentially high costs of development and ownershipWhere there are multiple devices operating independently on separate point to pointconnections a chaotic environment may develop where maintenance and development ofinfrastructure becomes complex. This chaotic environment of numerous point to pointconnections is pictured below:(Sybase 2011c).Within such an environment pictured above maintenance of databases or back-ends may bedifficult where a developer is not aware of which external applications and devices haveaccess or should be sharing information. Adding new applications or changing features onthe various devices within an organisation may also become time consuming and costly as thepotential for the reuse and sharing of features may be reduced in a heterogeneousenvironment (Mobile World of SAP: MEAP 2011, Sybase 2011a).Administration and accountabilityThe use of BYOD is expected to increase in the future. In BRICs countries (Brazil, Russia,India, China and South Africa) there is a greater use of BYOD with a level of concern mostlyfocused on technical / functional aspects. In non BRICs countries the use of BYOD is lesswidespread but where present there is a greater concern for governance / control in additionto technical aspects. The use of BYOD creates a large “grey area” where questions ofaccountability arise i.e. who should be responsible for costs associated with use andmaintenance? What proportion of costs associated with the use and maintenance should becovered and by whom? The provision of mobile devices by an organisation to employees
  • 7. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 7also raises issues such as levels of data access, and required features and functions (Gartner2012).Challenges presented by social mediaManagement of feedback and channelsSocial media offers instant interactivity with the wider world and in return large volumes ofand varieties of data are generated. This raises the following areas of consideration:• Is the media through which the data is captured appropriate? For example a Facebookpage may invite a range of open comments which may need to be actively managed,whilst an online survey collects specific data only.• Is the data captured relevant? For example open comments left on a Facebook maylack relevance when compared to a survey that can directly capture required data.• Can the data be utilized for informative purposes? Comments by customers mayrequire greater analysis to become informative, whilst targeted surveys may directlycapture data that can be promptly utilized for informative purposes.Social media that customers interact with can present the opportunity to openly praise ordefame an organization. For instance a well-known Australian retailer recently went intodamage control where one customer’s negative comment on the retail organization’sFacebook page rapidly snowballed into widespread online criticism of a the retailer’sclothing range (Bourke 2012).The rights to and ownership of relationshipsSocial media presents organizations with a “grey area” concerning right to and ownership ofrelationships and social capital. For instance it may not be clear who has the right to abusiness relationship developed via social media when an employee moves on from anorganisation. A particular example outlined how an employee in the United States ofAmerica developed an online profile whilst working for a particular company and continuedto leverage this online profile and relationship after this employee had left their originalemployer. This resulted in the employee’s liability for damages to the previous employer(Gross 2012).
  • 8. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 8Appropriate useThe fact that social media offers instant interactivity with the wider world calls forresponsible use. What may seem to be an appropriate use of social media for promotion byan organization may be considered inappropriate by others or by the customer. For instanceto commemorate the death of a popular musician a company distastefully offeredcondolences via social media by trying to sell fans more of this artist’s music. Also aparticular fashion label inappropriately promoted their upcoming clothing range by joking viasocial media that the recent political uprising in the Middle East was an indication of agrowing sense of excitement concerning the fashion label’s upcoming new collection (Gross2012).Changes required to architecture if mobile communications and socialmedia are adoptedSecurity - Basic configurationIn order to mitigate the security risks such as unauthorized access, data leakage and theintroduction of external threats a thorough risk assessment is required followed byimplementation and enhancement of basic technical security configurations. These shouldextend beyond updated Antivirus software and firewalls. Other important actions required toensure an effective basic security configuration could include:• Strong passwords to gain initial access;• Encryption to protect data files in case of unauthorised physical access;• Virtual Private Networks to isolate remote and mobile users from users on a mainnetwork;(Zhang 2009).Security – PolicyTo ensure accountability and effective administration of mobile devices, security policy mustconsider the management of and the appropriate usage of the types of devices and the needsof users. To ensure control, users should be distinctly segregated by business needs andcorresponding functionality. The availability of functionality and information should belimited only to what is required when the employee is mobile (Jogani 2006).
  • 9. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 9In addition to the technical aspects effective security policy should also focus on proactivelyeducating users and raising individual awareness of the importance of security. Theindividual sense of responsibility of employees should be clearly stated. Therefore aneffective security policy that raises awareness should be enforced within an organisation leadby unit managers and Human Resources. According to a study of 1500 participantsundertaken internationally, only 30% of participants were highly aware of mobile securityand data backup policies. This suggests a strong need for proactive security related trainingand information provision, which will increase as mobile device adoption continues to grow(Cylab & Mcafee 2011).A proactive approach to education compliments risk and security management, for examplein China it has been stated that security risks are potentially higher due to the greater use ofBYOD, but at the same time training and awareness of security are also more thorough. Forinstance it is the common practice of organisations in China to provide instructional videosand training to raise security awareness. Compared to the United States where it may bemore common for employees to be generally expected to read over lengthy hard copy policies(Kaneshige 2012).Use of a unified platformIn order to reduce the likelihood of siloed, disparate mobile devices and to reduce the highcosts of development and ownership associated with maintaining a variety of mobile devicesand back ends, a unified platform known as a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform(MEAP) may be required by an organization. A MEAP is illustrated below:
  • 10. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 10(Sybase 2011a).A MEAP enables flow of data from a back-end to a mobile device and vice versa viamiddleware. A MEAP also provides toolsets that enable scalable development of integratedmobile applications. Mobile applications interact with the middleware and drive both theinterface and process logic. Applications developed on a MEAP may run on more than onetype of device and can access more than one type of back-end / database, therefore flexibilityand sharing of information across device types is made possible (Sybase 2011a).A guideline for organizations has been provided by Gartner, known as the Rule of Three.This suggests that it may be beneficial in terms of cost and strategy to consider a MEAPwhere one of the following scenarios applies:1/When there are three or more mobile applications;2/When there are three or more targeted operating systems or platforms;3/When there is integration of three or more back-end systems;(Jow 2012).Changes required to Human Resources if mobile communications andsocial media are adoptedAs previously outlined education is paramount to security, therefore Human Resourcesshould play an active role in the development of education policy concerning appropriate use
  • 11. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 11of mobility. Policy should clearly highlight the individual’s sense of responsibility and alsocover aspects such as BYOD. As mobility becomes more widespread individual employmentcontracts should also address appropriate use of mobile devices. As social media presentspotential legal issues concerning appropriate use, Human Resources should also actively raiseawareness concerning the appropriate use social media, and address issues such as the rightof / to relationships where an employee’s role is reliant upon social media channels. Tocompliment effective security configuration and policy Human Resources should participatein developing a role based structure and approach within an organisation when mobility isdeployed.How ERP systems can support the use of mobility and social mediaMobility and social media offers opportunities for organisations to enhance and differentiatethe configuration of activities and processes. ERP systems can support the use of these toolsby:• Considering the functions of the business that will benefit from mobility and socialmedia;• Making the ERP business processes and back-end data available to people centricdevices and environments;• Utilising data collected via social media for informative purposes.The consideration of business areas that will benefit from mobilityIdeally, businesses running ERP systems that are considering leveraging mobile solutionsshould consider a business case approach. This will ensure that mobility is aligned withbusiness objectives and strategy. This approach should specifically consider where mobilitywill provide the greatest value because particular business areas and roles will benefit morethan others.Where there is a need for urgent responsiveness to customer requests or if information isrequired when interacting with customers externally whilst travelling, mobility may providebenefits. For instance, Tellabs a US based company introduced iPads as enterprise devicesin the supply chain area of the business. This provided a more timely response for customerswho were urgently seeking orders and support. By utilising the iPad processing and responsetime was almost three times faster than using a regular desktop or laptop (Tellabs Delivers a
  • 12. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 12Better Solution to Customers Using the iPad, n.d.). However mobile technology should notbe seen as a quick fix solution. It can be effective only when paired with efficient processesand functions, so business areas that will benefit from mobility when their processes are firstexamined and adjusted (Sybase 2011b).How ERP back-ends can be made available to mobile devicesIn order to leverage the potential of mobility and social media, back-end data and businessprocesses of ERP systems require external connectivity to a mobile platform and devices. Inorder to access back-end data and processes substantial development effort and knowledgehas typically been required to create connections by web services or portals. An example ofhow an ERP system is now providing efficient access to its back-end data and businessprocesses for mobile devices is SAP providing a product called SAP Netweaver Gateway(Bernard 2012). SAP Netweaver Gateway and its relationship within mobile architecture isillustrated below:(Thirakul 2012).SAP Netweaver Gateway can be described as open and flexible technology that enablesapplications to be extended to people centric devices and scenarios. Gateway is adaptable toany device or platform as it exposes the back-end and business processes as Open data(Odata). This means that a SAP ERP system can be exposed to and accessed by any devicethat utilises a browser. Gateway does not interfere or impact business applications. One ofit’s main advantages is that it allows developers open connectivity between ERP systems and
  • 13. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 13interfaces that have been developed in a range of development languages without requiringknowledge of SAPs own ABAP language (Bernard 2012).Utilising data collected via social media for informative purposesBy paying attention to information generated by social media, businesses gain rapid andintelligent insight into their customers, products and markets. Specifically insight gainedcould include the changing preferences of customers and highlight the need for specific andinnovative actions to be undertaken (Powel 2011). Data gathered by social media could betreated as a data source within Business Intelligence (BI) and Customer RelationshipManagement (CRM) systems. The sheer volume of data collected via social media can beoverwhelming if an organisation plans to utilise this as part of its BI and or CRM strategies.To overcome this, reporting and metrics should be clearly defined to ensure relevant andspecific data is being collected. This will reduce the need for filtering and complex analysis.However, in some cases a third party or specialised tools may even need to be utilised toperform analysis and interpretation of this data (Chouffani 2012, Powel 2011).ConclusionThere is certainly no doubt that mobile communications and social media has rapidly grownin popularity in recent years and it seems likely that they will continue to do so. These toolspresent organisations with new opportunities including: the enhanced ability to differentiateactivities and added insight and intelligence concerning the business environment. Whereadopted challenges arise due to: the inherent differences in between mobile and traditionalforms of technology and the vast, open channel that social media offers organisations.Specific challenges include: security risks, high costs of development / ownership,accountability and effective administration, how to interpret and manage feedback, the greylegal areas concerning rights to and ownership of business relationships and the appropriateuse of chosen media. In order to effectively leverage mobile communications and socialmedia and to overcome these challenges, changes to an organisation’s architecture andHuman Resources are required. These changes include: enhancements to infrastructure andsecurity, choice of appropriate media / ways of effectively interpreting data and the strongneed for raising awareness through the education of the workforce. As ERP systems form the
  • 14. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 14core foundation for business functionality they play an important role in supporting the use ofmobile communications and social media. The support that ERP systems may provideinclude: integrating suitable ERP functions with these tools, enhancing connectivity betweenERP systems and people centric devices and environments and leveraging data gained viasocial media for informative purposes.
  • 15. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 15ReferencesAllen, D, 2010, Enterprise Mobility Management Could Lower TCO by 78 Per cent, OnlineArticle, Billing / OSS World Website, viewed 17thAugust 2012,<http://www.billingworld.com/news/2010/06/enterprise-mobility-management-could-lower-tco-by-78-percent.aspx>;Bernard, 2012, Getting Started with SAP Netweaver Gateway, Online Article, SAP CommunityNetwork Website, viewed 31stAugust 2012, <http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-24763>;Bourke, E, 2012, Facebook targets retailer over tramp complaint, Online Article, ABC Website,viewed 23rdAugust 2012, <http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/08/14/3568192.html>;Cocotas, A, 2012, U.S. Smartphone penetration hits 50%, Online Article & Survey, BusinessInsider Website, viewed 08thAugust 2012, <http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-30/news/31258792_1_smartphone-click-range/>;Chouffani, 2012, Starting a Big Data initiative, Online Article & Survey, Business InsiderWebsite, viewed 05thSeptember 2012,<http://features.techworld.com/applications/3377370/starting-big-data-initiative/;Cylab, Mcafee, 2011, Mobility and Security: Dazzling Opportunities, Profound Challenges,Mcafee Website, viewed 25thAugust 2012, <http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-cylab-mobile-security.pdf>;Gartner, 2010, Gartner Highlights Key Predictions for IT Organizations and Users in 2010 andBeyond, Online Article, Gartner Website, viewed 15ththAugust 2012,<http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1278413>;Gartner, 2012, Gartner Survey Shows BYOD Is Top Concern for Enterprise Mobile Security,Online Article, Gartner Website, viewed 25th August 2012,< http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2048617>;Gross, 2012, Employers, workers navigate pitfalls of social media, Online Article, CNNWebsite, viewed 25thAugust 2012, <http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/07/tech/social-media/companies-social-media/index.html>
  • 16. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 16Hernandez, B, 2011, 5 Ways Businesses Will Use Social Media in 2011, Online Article,Business News Daily Website, viewed 16thAugust 2012,<http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/573-five-ways-businesses-will-use-social-media-in-2011.html>;Jogani, A, 2006, Governance of Mobile Technology in Enterprises, Information SystemsControl Journal, Volume 4, 2006, pages 1-3;Jow, W, 2012, The Mobile Enterprise Is Here to Stay: It’s Time to Deal With It, OnlineArticle, Business Management Website, viewed 28thAugust 2012, <http://www.busmanagement.com/article/The-Mobile-Enterprise-Is-Here-to-Stay-Its-Time-to-Deal-With-It/>;Kaneshige, T, 2012, BYOD: What Can We Learn from China?, Online Article, CIO Website,viewed 24thAugust 2012,<http://www.cio.com/article/714501/BYOD_What_Can_We_Learn_from_China_>;Kessler, S, 2011, How 5 Companies Are Using the iPad to Increase Productivity, Online Article/Study, Mashable Business Website, viewed 16thAugust 2012,<http://mashable.com/2011/02/24/ipad-productivity/>;Mobile World of SAP: MEAP, 2011, Podcast discussion, SAP Bloggers Corner, Podcast series,14thFebruary 2011, accessed 25thAugust 2012,<http://sapbloggerscorner.com/index.php/category/podcast/>;Online Business and Social Networking, n.d., http://mashable.com/2011/02/24/ipad-productivity/Online Guide, Business Link Website, viewed 16thAugust 2012,<http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?r.i=1081913265&r.l1=1073858796&r.l2=1074298365&r.l3=1081903308&r.s=sc&r.t=RESOURCES&topicId=1081903308/>;Powell, J, 2011, Q&A: Integrating Social Media and Business Intelligence, Online Article,TDWI Website, viewed 04thSeptember 2012, < http://tdwi.org/Articles/2011/05/11/Integrating-Social-Media-and-BI.aspx?Page=1???)>;
  • 17. Mobility and Social Media (September 2012)Mart Leepin 17Ross, M, 2012, Smartphone penetration booms down under, Online Article, B&T Website,viewed 07thAugust 2012, <http://www.bandt.com.au/news/digital/smartphone-penetration-booms-down-under>;Social Media News, 2012, Social Media Statistics, Website, viewed 11thAugust 2012,<http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics/>;Sybase, 2011a, Mobility Advantage: Without a Platform, There Is No Strategy, Whitepaper,viewed 04thAugust 2012, <http://www.sybase.com/detail_list?id=141500>;Sybase, 2011b, 10 Reasons for Managed Mobility, Whitepaper, viewed 05thSeptember 2012,<http://www.sybase.com/detail_list?id=141500>;Sybase, 2011c, What’s the Point? A comparison of Middleware versus Point Solutions,Whitepaper, viewed 08thSeptember 2012,<http://www.sybase.com/files/White_Papers/Sybase_MobileMiddleware_vs_PointSolutions_wp.pdf>;Tellabs Delivers a Better Solution to Customers Using the iPad, n.d., Online Video, TellabsWebsite, accessed 03rdSeptember 2012<http://www.tellabs.com/resources/multimedia/index.cfm/id/B281CAB6-C237-4619-912A7ED674BE11AA.cfm>;Thirakul, D, 2012, Developing Mobile Apps with Sybase Unwired Platform 2.1 and SAPNetWeaver Gateway 2.0, Web Blog, accessed 05thSeptember 2012,<http://scn.sap.com/community/icc/blog/2012/01/16/developing-mobile-apps-with-sybase-unwired-platform-21-and-sap-netweaver-gateway-20>;Zhang, R, 2009, Steps for Achieving Proper Mobile Security Governance, CIO Website,accessed 24thAugust 2012,http://www.cio.com.au/article/303278/steps_achieving_proper_mobile_security_governance/.