What enterprises going mobile can learn from the military. It’s not what you think!


At first glance you might think this is a post about leadership, fleet tracking or outsourcing, but no. Its time to reflect on a $5 billion dollar mistake the US Military made and how your enterprise can learn from it.

For the non-military geeks, lets talk about camouflage before we get started.  It been around for ages but the US military decided to make a big change in 2004. The change was to switch to UCP or Universal Camouflage Pattern. The goal was a 1-print-fits-all solution for military platoons across the globe, with the thought of a single pattern that could be worn in every terrain. It was pixilated and computer designed. Therefore it got the nickname DigiCamo…and its cool looking! This neat cyborg camo looks cool from consumer fashion, in MMA rings, on hunting SUVs to even on military recruiter’s outfits at local high schools.

But what about on the front lines? Well they hated it, and it flat out didn’t work.

From HummerGuy.net Classic
Camo left – Digi-Camo right

Here is a quote from Wally to explain this point first hand, as being forced to wear the new digi camo Army  Combat Uniform (ACU):

I’m an infantryman in the Army, my brigade was the first to get the ACU back in 05. I can tell you the ACU is more than likely the worst failure in clothing items I think the Army has ever had. I don’t have enough characters remaining on this text box to share my distaste for this pattern and its lack of effectiveness. ACU seems to work decent on camera, with one guy, but get a rifle squad or a platoon of guys in any type of vegetation moving or stationary and you will see the epic failure.

If you are a CIO and think a non-adopted mobile app is a nightmare, well imagine being an employee forced to where the new fall fashions that don’t conceal you as well in gunfire. It was a huge demoralizer, costs billions and hurt productivity. Now, lets look at the parallels.

Pretend your CEO is pushing you to go mobile and embrace technology by next quarter. Your sales team is happy stuck in the rut, with paper notes and excel spreadsheets. Pressured, you go with the first technology vendor that can hit your budget and has the shortest ramp up time.

But if you did just like military’s mistake, you failed to consider adoption. Did you check to see if the CRM synched to outlook? Does it have a simple UI or very confusing? Is it secure when used on mobile? Does even have an app for the road warriors? If not, take that above comment and switch infantryman for early adopter and ACU for CRM.

We are always stressing timeframes and budgets, but lets all take a pause and reflect on adoption before any mobile enterprise strategy. A $5 billion dollar mistake is no different then a $500k  one.  So think to yourself – Are you sending your reps into “battle” with defective mobile tools?

Daniel DiMassa –  “Without Adoption You Have Nothing!” 

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3


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