CIOs should define mobile strategies for better results

by Sohini Bagchi    Feb 26, 2013

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Enterprises are increasingly realizing that mobility technologies are changing their entire business landscape. In its recent survey, “CIO Mobility Survey 2013,” Accenture has revealed that 79 per cent CIOs see mobility as a revenue generator. More importantly, as many as 84 per cent IT leaders are looking at mobility as the primary channel for customer engagement. However, lack of well-defined mobile strategy is something that is hampering their pace of growth and innovation.

Need for a strong mobile strategy

Accenture researchers believe that a strong mobile strategy can help enterprises engage with their customers even better and in turn help them garner a much higher ROI. However, the survey also reveals that 58 per cent have only a moderately developed formal mobile strategy, which is a concern.

“When it comes to mobile deployments, CIOs need to research where they should be focusing their investments,” said Jin Lee, Senior Managing Director of Accenture Mobility. “In particular, they should look at areas that will grow, such as connected devices, and conduct a ‘gap analysis’ to determine how to perform better and get ahead of the curve.”

At the same time, before creating a mobile strategy, CIOs have to define why the organization needs a mobile strategy and which areas need to be emphasized upon. “The strategy will depend not only on the company’s IT budget, but also on what platforms and devices are used by the enterprise, whether they run native apps or browser enabled and whether the existing enterprise applications like the CRM, ERP etc, talk to each other,” says Bhujay Kumar Bhatta, General Manager, IT Services, ITC Infotech India Ltd.

The survey further found that CIOs consider mobile device management (27 per cent), collaboration (25 per cent) and knowledge sharing (23 per cent) as the top three features to develop a mobile strategy. Enterprises are also extending their offerings to mobile application management (MAM) as well as mobile information management (MIM) capabilities. As Jaideep Ghosh, Partner KPMG notes that in the current landscape enterprises should move beyond MDM strategies and adopt a more holistic approach while framing their mobile strategy so as to ensure greater security and flexibility.

Resolving security issues

The survey also reveals that security will continue to be a major challenge with the increased adoption of mobility solutions and technologies. However, the survey reveals that CIOs must find ways to support the myriad mobile devices entering the work environment. For example, they should emphasize on the employees and their levels of expertise when tackling emerging phenomenon such as bring your own devices (BYOD).

As Tim Jennings, Senior Researcher at Ovum believes that in the current mobile scenario, it is especially difficult to manage employees using two to three different devices, applications and operating systems. Those CIOs and vendors who are putting devices at the centre of everything may not be able to cope with the changing mobile landscape.

According to Jennings, a far more realistic approach would be to put the employee at the core of all IT policies. The CIO should focus on the users and what they may want and need. As a result he emphasizes that instead of having separate strategies for your multiple devices, businesses should have a centrally managed policy for individual users irrespective of the devices, locations or the apps he chooses.

Lee too agrees that CIOs must find ways to support the myriad of mobile devices entering the work environment. “They should also address the need to focus intensely on people and expertise,” he recommends. There is a 50 per cent rise in the number of companies in 2013 as against 2012, who plan to leverage external experts to develop and refine their strategy. This again indicates that mobile usage is growing faster than the market can provide in terms of skilled and available talent.

Sectors such as automotive, banking, insurance, and healthcare are particularly bullish about mobile technologies and are implementing mobility in their various day to operations, growth and also to innovate. They have a greater level of customer engagement with mobility. Many of them also have strong mobile strategies in place. In the next one year, retail, aerospace and consumer firms will also adopt mobility in a big way and are looking to have strategic mobility policies in their workplaces.

As the mobile landscape becomes complex as well as ubiquitous, Accenture survey reveals that if enterprises focus on an effective mobility strategy, they can surely see a greater level of customer engagement and profitability.