Mobile Prompts BFSI CIOs To Rethink Biz Model

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 02, 2014

mobile banking

Increased consumer adoption of mobile technology has triggered fundamental changes within financial services organizations such as banking, insurance, and brokerage. A new MobileIron study, titled: “The Changing Mobile Landscape in Financial Services,” conducted by Ponemon Institute shows that mobility reveals that CIOs in BFSI firms to shift to a new model of enterprise IT.

“Mobility is now a strategic initiative for many financial services CIOs,” said Ojas Rege, VP of Strategy at MobileIron. “However, mobility also catalyzes a fundamental re-think of existing IT skills and approaches, and it creates an opportunity for the CIO to lead the development of a new model of partnership between the business, IT, and end users.”

According to the study, over 50% of respondents expect that the majority of their employees will be using business email and apps on mobile devices in the next 12 months. BYOD initiatives are also growing, with the percentage of personally owned smartphones and tablets in their organizations expected to increase from 40% to 50% in the same time period.

Rege states that in the new model of enterprise IT, all employees should have the ability to access business data on a smartphone or tablet. CIOs will develop a phased strategy for making each core business process available with a mobile-optimized user experience and will establish training and communications programs that can scale to serve their expanding user populations.

enterprise mobility


The study also highlights some of the other key mobility trends in the enterprise

Employee Productivity Driving BlackBerry Migration

When it comes to smartphone brands, respondents expect BlackBerry to lose almost one-third of its market share in financial services over the next year. 44% of the mobile devices currently in use in financial services are BlackBerry, and this is expected to decrease to 30% in the next 12 months. nearly half of respondents expect to have zero BlackBerry devices in their organization in a year from now.

The primary driver of BlackBerry migration, however, is not concern about BlackBerry’s financial stability as a company. According to the study, the top three motivations for migration are all user-driven. The most important lesson of BlackBerry migration is that employees will expect IT to be responsive in meeting their mobile productivity demands, and they will go around IT if they do not get the tools they need.

The study concludes that in the new model of enterprise IT, migration will be the norm, as forward-thinking CIOs will develop an iterative security framework that can maintain security posture without sacrificing innovation or responsiveness.

Mobile is Replacing the PC

Nearly 70% respondents say their CIO believes smartphones and tablets will replace most desktops and laptops. This transition is already underway in organizations like pharmaceutical field sales. However, as financial service is in the very early stages of this shift, it is interesting that respondents believe a steep decline in demand for the PC is inevitable.

However, only 38% of CIOs are confident that they can address the risks posed by smartphones and tablets. This gap is not surprising, because these platforms are not always well understood by IT leadership, though this is certainly changing. researchers believe the security approach required for mobile is very different from that required for the PC.

The application approach required for mobile is also very different. CIOs in BFSI have also invested in the development of traditional PC applications and services over the years. The transition from PC to mobile is not just a simple shift in form factor. It is a disruptive change from keyboard to touch interface, monolithic to atomic applications, and single-OS to multi-OS environments.

According to the study, in the new model of enterprise IT, CIOs will have to ensure their teams are skilled in mobile user experience design and application development. They will use consumer apps as their design standard. They will also redefine risk profiles and center security models around mobile architectures to ensure traditional Windows security approaches are not applied to platforms that are fundamentally different.

Ensuring IT and Business Priorities are aligned

Currently, many CIOs in financial services firms believe their mobile strategy is either deficient or not aligned with IT and business priorities. Although financial services organizations are rapidly expanding their mobile investments, there is a substantial disconnect between IT and the line-of-business on mobile priorities.

Half of the respondents say their company does not have a mobile strategy. Of those companies with a mobile strategy, 45% say it is not aligned with IT objectives and 36% say it is not aligned with business objectives.

In the new model of enterprise IT, mobile strategy and accountability will often be decentralized, prompting  CIOs to establish new governance structures and policies to create much tighter partnership and communication among the end-user community, lines-of-business, and IT. The role of CIO, itself, will shift noticeably from execution to policy and enablement, says Rege.

“Agility and preparedness for change” is ranked by respondents as the most important factor in a successful mobile strategy. As a result of this, CIOs in BFSI may have to change their hiring requirements, training investments, and organizational structures to become agile and to establish an IT culture that embraces technology change.


The study shows that CIOs in BFSI are very aware of the challenges they must overcome to make mobile successful in their organization. They know what the challenges are and why new skills and approaches are required. Rege believes, a strategic imperative for financial services CIOs now is to determine how to establish a new model of enterprise IT that can make mobile a foundational platform for business transformation.