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Enterprise Mobility Unleashed

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Lobby
3. Enterprise Mobility Unleashed
Businesses are embracing mobility. Now comes the hard part.


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Rapid technology developments in wireless connectivity and mobile devices marked the beginning of the mobility revolution. Next came the apps renaissance, when intuitive, engaging pieces of software, tailored for smartphones and tablets, began to change our day-to-day lives. The revolution has now reached business. Many organizations today find mobile initiatives popping up in every business unit, in every region and in every department. The floodgates have opened. Now what?

 

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My Take

Shehryar Khan
Founder and former CEO
Übermind, Inc.

The mobile revolution is underway. Companies big and small, across virtually every industry, are clamoring to unlock the potential of mobility in their business. At Übermind, we have helped some of the largest and most recognizable brands define and execute their mobile strategy1. Our goal is not just to create killer, intuitive mobile apps that are breathtakingly beautiful as they are functional (though we love to do that); it is to help companies transform their business through the use of the new generation of smartphone and tablet devices. And to rethink operating and business models – constrained only by our imagination of how a digitally advanced, always-connected customer base, coupled with a truly untethered workforce, can transform an industry. How business is conducted. How markets are shaped.

Surely in some cases the most effective answer is to build from today’s reality – to do what you’ve historically done, but to take advantage of mobile capabilities to do it better. But what really excites me is when we can help define a new tomorrow – not just doing things differently, but doing different things, like using mobile. And when you are using mobile coupled with other technology-based innovations like analytics, social, gamification, cloud computing and visualization as a Trojan horse for transformative thinking. A very sophisticated “always on, always connected, in your pocket” computing device (which some people call a phone) can help empower everybody that engages with your business – be they customers, employees or business partners.

Unleashing mobile has tremendous potential. But to fully realize this, it is important to acknowledge how mobile can impact many aspects of your business – from how your customers can engage with you in new and interesting ways, but also in how you can make a difference in the lives of your employees by equipping them with tools that enable them to do their jobs more effectively. Keeping an enterprise frame-of-mind is also important, factoring in special considerations and gotchas that come with enabling mission-critical aspects of the business through mobile innovation. Security. Scalability. Reliability. Maintainability. Flexibility. Integrated into back-office systems, data and workflows.

Developing, deploying and supporting mobile solutions is quite a bit different than traditional IT. Doing it well requires a special blend of business insight, deep technical chops and strong design. Companies that recognize this required mix of business, art and science will set themselves apart from their competition and reshape entire industries.

Where do you start?

For many organizations, the mobility opportunity is clear. But understanding where to begin isn’t as straightforward. CIOs are in the middle of the mix, facing their own concerns about the strategy, infrastructure and delivery capabilities required to meet mobility demand with enterprise-class solutions. To position IT as a driver of business innovation and agility, consider these next steps:

  • Fuel the arms race.  Move mobile toward the top of the CIO agenda. Put together a three-person swat team – designer, architect and developer – and have them rapidly train on a platform of choice. Find the early seeds of mobile opportunities in the business, and zero in on one that has clear business value.
  • Build a foundational strategy.  The mobility landscape is moving at warp speed. CIOs need a mobile strategy limited to a six-month horizon. Decide on an initial mobile app architecture. Establish foundational recommendations for management, deployment and support. Create a roadmap of prioritized use-cases and apps. And establish a plan for how to meet demand. The strategy doesn’t need to be exclusionary of any specific technology options: choose where to develop natively, where to use a cross-platform enablement tool, and where to build a mobile-tailored web app. Do them all at once, or in rapid succession, and you are likely to buy yourself strategic flexibility for the medium-term.
  • Centralize.  Given the freedom to run, each pocket within an organization is likely to either build skills in mobile app design and development, or outsource it. Even worse, they could establish competing policies with varying levels of enterprise-class features (security, privacy, integration, data management). This could confuse users and jeopardize your brand. Plus, each silo will go through its own learning curve. Having a core group or center of excellence that shares experiences among functions and business areas can accelerate the move from the mobile veneering of existing operations to true innovation.
  • Think differently.  Mobile is a different beast than traditional IT. To achieve your goals, you’ll need a unique mix of creativity and design talent that might not be a core discipline within the CIO’s shop. Take cues from leading consumer applications, and improve scope, usability and back-end performance to leverage the unique characteristics of mobile.

Bottom line

Mobility is quickly becoming one of the most important battlegrounds for business innovation. Operating models are being redrawn for consumers, employees and business partners alike. This puts enormous pressure on CIOs to determine whether mobile solutions are ready for the enterprise. In the push for usability, however, ideas like reliability, security, performance and maintainability should not be forgotten. Regardless, there’s no excuse for not pursuing mobile. The revolution is well underway. Every business should be exploring how it will operate when location constraints are obliterated. Every CIO should have a clear vision of a world in which every customer, worker and supplier is hyper-productive, hyper-available and hyper-engaged.  

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

1 Additional information is available in Deloitte Consulting LLP (2010), "Depth Perception: A dozen technology trends shaping business and IT in 2010", http://www.deloitte.com/us/2010technologytrends, Chapter 11.

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