Mobility Has Big Impact On IT

Facing one of the biggest business challenges since Al Gore invented the Internet, CIOs in emerging markets seeking to mobile-enable their enterprises are making mobility a higher priority and spending more money on achieving that goal than are their mature-market counterparts, according to a new study by Accenture.


We recently provided an examination of several current major IT trends including mobility in order to shed some insight into the current roles of a well informed CIO.

In January 2012, Accenture conducted an online survey with 240 IT professionals (directors of IT, CIOs, CTOs, Directors of Technologies and Chief Mobility Officers) across 23 industries in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.

The Accenture 2012 CIO Mobility Survey, found 67% of CIOs and other senior IT professionals believe mobility will impact their businesses as much as or more than the Internet did in the 1990s. 

From this research Accenture says we learn that CIOs must do three things:

1. Understand where in their organization developers are creating mobility applications.


2. Discern how to quickly integrate them into a cohesive strategy.


3. Use that strategy as a foundation for competitive advantage.


The research also found that 69% of IT professionals surveyed would spend more than 20% of their discretionary budgets on delivering mobility capability for their business this year.

There is a significant contrast between IT leaders in emerging markets 94% and in mature markets 35% in spending patterns.This is most likely due to the large dependance on wireless networks in emerging markets doe to the lack of traditional hardwired infrastructure.

In addition, the survey found that 48% of participants in emerging markets have an extensively developed mobile strategy, while only 12% of respondents in mature markets claimed to have extensively developed strategies.


The survey included C-Suite IT professionals as well as mobile application developers with a stated purpose to understand the current state of enterprise mobility by identifying the top priorities of IT professionals in addition to  the obstacles to achieving them and the challenges faced by application developers.


"A majority of CIOs now recognize mobility's potential to transform their business, and we see that reflected in the increasing share of spend for mobility in their IT budgets," said Dan Lauderback, global managing director, Accenture Mobility Services.


"But we also see CIOs struggling with a proliferation of employee devices and employee-developed apps and many appear still in the discovery phase regarding the opportunities mobility presents. Mobility is not simply an extension of today's legacy IT systems, it's a completely new way of doing business. The companies that are focused on employee enablement, customer enablement and finding new avenues for commerce via mobility are in a class by themselves."



In mobile markets IT professionals and application developers have various plans to generate revenue. In the enterprise arena, 42% of IT professionals indicated they want to improve field service or customer service delivery with instant access to corporate databases, relevant business data, and on-the-spot transaction processing. Application developers cited downloads (41%), in-app purchases (29%), traditional advertising (24%) and subscriptions (20%) as ways to monetize consumer applications.

The study also revealed some significant differences based on geography. Far more IT professionals in emerging markets focus on mobility compared to those in mature markets. 93% of Latin American and 81% of Asian IT professionals indicated mobility will provide significant new revenue. But only 66% of European and 56% of North American respondents agreed.


Similarly, half of Mexican and Chinese respondents, as well as 40 percent and 32 percent of Indian and Brazilian respondents, respectively, strongly agreed that mobility will impact their business as much as or more than the 1990s Internet wave. But only one in five  of both U.K. and U.S. respondents strongly concurred.

"We've seen this leapfrog effect in emerging markets before," said Lars Kamp, strategy and corporate development lead at Accenture Mobility Services. "Very often companies in these markets can start with a clean sheet of paper and simply deploy new technology."

Accenture's study concludes that IT professionals must craft a comprehensive strategy for enterprise mobility. In order to do so, Accenture recommends a multi-pronged approach that includes three key elements: technology, business requirements, and management.

"Companies need to develop a comprehensive list of the mobility projects they have underway and clarify associated goals; accelerate projects by standardizing them; and innovate to create competitive advantages," added Kamp. "The rising penetration of smartphones and tablets is compressing IT innovation cycles for the enterprise to 12-18 months. Companies should review their mobile strategy every six to 12 months to ensure that they're placing their bets on the right trends."


The key take away from the study and the call to action should be that mobility is both a challenge and a priority for the CIO.

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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and