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Why CIOs Need To Crease Out Mobility Strategy?

by Manoj K. Mishra, VP-Technology, Magma Fincorp September-2016

Enterprise Mobility is no more a topic of debate; it is a reality of the digital world today. With 40 percent of businesses prioritizing mobilization of business applications (as pointed by 451 researches, 2015) over next two years, it is on top of the CIO’s priorities list. Various other researches like Frost and Sullivan, Gartner, Forrester have pointed similar trends. There is huge surge in mobile workers worldwide and the number would have surpassed 1.3 billion in 2015, accounting for 37 percent of mobile workforce globally. India Inc. is far ahead with 64 percent of workforce on mobile devices with almost all of them using it for office purpose in some way or other.

Digital world has started delivering disruptive business models. As examples we can see the way Uber and Ola have changed the way people travel, the way Swiggy delivers food on demand etc. Punch line in success of such disruptions is customer convenience. Both businesses and customers are willing to trust and try new things on mobile for hard-pressed of time urban lot. For generation Z it is not a matter of getting used to smart devices, but the integral part of their life. Mobile applications not only provide a convenient business to customer (B2C) model but also provide an easy to transact offline mechanism to employees and agents, trying to carry out transactions without being in office premises. Business continue to invent new business models like branchless operations in case of banking and finance services, ability of insurance agents to issue policies in offline mode through mobile devices etc. Customer facing mobile application in 2015 and beyond is a natural expectation and not an extra to be provided by businesses in the world where consumer are willing to order anytime from anywhere. Businesses run in always connected mode, unlike brick-and-mortar model with fixed timings.

It is imperative on CIOs hence to get their enterprise mobility strategy in order and shape. There are many moving parts of Enterprise Mobility from CIO standpoint. Security of data and transactions through mobile applications, especially through employee owned devices continues to be a concern. However, CIOs can overcome this by setting up right BYOD policy to clearly define the boundaries, implement right set of tools and technologies like Mobile Device Management and integrating with mobile applications with back-end infrastructure in a tightly secured manner. BYOD policy is an imperative and not a debate anymore as, employees are not only hooked on to smart phones and tablets but also they recycle it much faster with technological advances. This is seen as an opportunity by businesses, as pointed by Frost and Sullivan study that there is almost 58 percent of employee owned devices footprint, compared to only 26 percent business owned. Provisioning applications on employee devices is a matter of correctly implementing security measures. Company owned devices will however continue to exist with a reduced footprint.

Mobile applications are subject to frequent changes due to dynamics of business, changing customer habits and faster pace of technological advances. Hence CIOs are faced with the challenge of getting it implemented with time and cost constraints. Selection of right implementation partner is critical for CIOs. While focused niche implementation partners bring right skill and speed to implement, they can face challenge to scale up like large implementation partners. CIOs need to strike a balance between the two. 

Below are seven secrets of success for an enterprise to successfully adopt and reap benefits of enterprise mobility:

1. User Design is a critical aspect.
2. Choose right partner given the context and future plans of the organization.
3.Simple but robust technology landscape helps.
4. On cloud or on premise is just a matter of choice depending upon the economy of scale 
a Wind scope.
5. Offline transactions are useful but technically complex to implement. Observe caution in implementing it.
6. Avoid loading mobile applications with complex operations, workflow and reporting.
7. Implement real time integration with back-end only if required; asynchronous integration suffices in most cases.

In most cases, board members are aware of mobile footprint of competitors and hence selling investment in mobility may not be a challenge for CIOs. CIOs may however face challenge in getting handle on a clear ROI. Though mobility is clearly a revenue enhancer by letting increase customer penetration, a productivity booster for employees and convenience to customers, CIOs should focus on the unearthing real business drivers (from demand and supply perspectives) and a way to measure benefits. 

In a competitive world today it is not a question of whether to adopt enterprise mobility or not, but a question of adopt it or perish in competitive market.