The pervasiveness of mobile computing is forcing companies to rethink their business models, reinvent their organizations and rewire their operations in order to reap the benefits and overcome the challenges of enterprise mobility.
Forces Driving Enterprise Mobility
For the first time in the history of organized business, enterprises are compelled to play catchup with their customers and employees.
For the most part, enterprises to date have not provided devices, tools and applications that match the latest technologies used by employees in their personal lives.This leads to a less-than-ideal experience for employees, in which their own personal technology is more enjoyable and productive than that provided by their organization. The significant popularity of smart devices (such as mobile phones and tablet computers) is reflected by rapidly rising sales, at a time when consumerdependent industries (such as retail) are suffering from reduced customer spending.
Rising Demand for Mobile Devices
Three forces technology convergence, ubiquitous connectivity/computing and increasing affordability are driving the demand for smart devices. The International Telecommunication Union reports that there are 5.3 billion mobile subscribers with 3G technologies in 143 countries.1 Forecasts indicate that the total installed base of smart devices will exceed that of PCs and laptops in the next few years (see Figure 1 ).
Increased Use of Mobility by Consumers
Without a doubt, consumers are at the forefront of the smart device revolution. Their appeal: greater convenience and utility. By allowing access to information anytime and anywhere for realtime decisionmaking, mobility has empowered consumers in a multiplicity of ways. These devices are indispensible, changing the way news, music, games and social media are consumed. They are also transforming shopping behavior, providing consumers with more information at their fingertips than retail associates, themselves.
Increased Use of Mobility by Employees
Employee preference to use smart devices at work to access business information is growing rapidly, according to a recent IDC study that surveyed 3,000 workers from nine countries.2 The study adds that half the respondents used their devices to work while on vacation, 29% used them in bed, 20% while driving, and 5% when at a place of worship. With employees relying more on consumer technology for work and personal purposes, the line dividing employees' personal and professional lives is blurring fast.
Dawn of 'BYOD'
Employees' demand for permission to use their devices was initially met with corporate responses that ranged from refusal to denial. However, this is changing, as companies begin to support the “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) movement, albeit with carefully drawn limits and controls (see Figure 2 ).
Various studies corroborate the emerging trend of corporate acceptance of BYOD. A Citrix global survey indicated that nearly all respondents will have a BYOD policy in place by 2013, with the U.S. (56%) leading in BYOD policies and the U.K. (37%) lagging behind.3 Companies not supporting BYOD cite security, legal and HR concerns as the reasons.
Barriers Make Enterprise Mobility a Tightrope Walk
The proliferation of smart devices in the workplace is creating some friction, especially within corporate IT departments. Among IT's primary worries: security, complexity of support, cost, limited IT budgets, and contention for primacy between PCs and laptops. Add in enterprise integration challenges and the rapid pace of mobile technology advancement, and it's no wonder that IT departments are feeling the heat.
For now, companies can look at implementing wellthoughtout device policies that allow organizations to limit, control and manage devices; prevent lowend devices that reduce productivity; and account for upgrades, with periodic reviews of device policies that are communicated to employees and customers.
EarlyMover Experiences with Enterprise Mobility
With enterprise mobility on the cusp of business criticality, innovative and enterprising early movers across many industries are adopting mobility to drive enhanced customer satisfaction and employee productivity. Some companies have let customers use their smart devices to search for and buy products and services.
In the travel and hospitality industry, customers are empowered to take charge of corporate tasks, such as booking airline flights and checking in using mobile passes and tickets. Insurers allow their customers to use mobile apps to file and subsequently check the status of insurance claims and request assistance or member services. In healthcare, mobile apps now allow patients to share their medical records with doctors and other industry professionals.
Early adopters see enterprise mobility as a transformative technology that helps them improve on and benefit from the customer interaction. Many customers find locationsensitive mobile coupons very useful and convenient, hence offering retailers the muchdesired potential to increase shopper loyalty and overall share of wallet.
Additionally, mobility is enabling organizations to reduce costs and improve worker productivity (see Figure 4 ). For instance, AnheuserBusch InBev implemented a mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP), a middleware layer that enables disparate devices to access a single set of applications, data and services. MEAP is intended to improve the productivity of the company's field sales and services team's direct store delivery (DSD) operations. The app enables more accurate and timely invoicing through the availability of realtime data. As such, endtoend invoice processing was streamlined, resulting in a 15% reduction in days sales outstanding (DSO), from 45 days to 39 days. In addition, the company achieved ROI in six months and a positive cash flow by the third month.4
Figure 4 :
Shaping a Mobile Future
Early adopters of enterprise mobility are realizing significant business benefits and envisioning new and creative ways to extend competitive advantage. Many organizations, however, are employing a waitandsee strategy to learn from the implementation experience of others before developing mobility roadmaps.
Getting enterprise mobility right is all about prioritization, striking appropriate balances and making delicate tradeoffs. A good starting point is gaining an understanding of the way customers and employees are using (and want to use) mobility, as well as the likely ways that it can be introduced. The realization that mobility is not merely about technology is of paramount importance.
An important next step is developing a holistic mobility strategy that lays the foundation and ground rules for enterprise mobility implementation and evaluating the alternatives of either hiring a third party or doing it yourself. Introducing change management efforts to inculcate a mobile mindset is essential for gaining enterprise mobility acceptance and adoption, a situation that is hypercritical in organizations with a preponderance of older and technologically challenged employees.
For more information, please read the complete white paper, Mobilizing the Enterprise (PDF)or learn more about Cognizant's Mobile Center of Excellence.
1 “The World in 2010: ICT Facts and Figures,” International Telecommunication Union, Oct.20,2010.
2 “IDC Unisys Study: 2011 Consumerization of IT Study: Closing the Consumerization Gap,” IDC, 2011.
3 “IT Embraces Bring-Your-Own Devices,” Citrix, 2011.
4 AnheuserBusch InBev implemented a mobile enterprise application platform for its field sales and services team,“ AB InBev Award-Winning Mobile Solution Accelerates Growth And Innovation ,” Spring Wireless, 2010.