The mobile strategy of most Canadian companies is probably not much different than the e-commerce strategies they were supposed to have developed more than 10 years ago: Be where the customer is, and do something useful.
Much like e-commerce, which required firms to think about augmenting their online presence with some way to either provide information about products and services or conduct actual purchase transactions for their customers, the business case for mobility shouldn’t be that hard. Accenture’s recent mobility research study says as much.
According to Accenture, which surveyed 150 C-level executives in 10 industries here as part of a wider study in 14 countries examining the adoption of mobility and other digital technologies, Canada did surprisingly well. In fact, 85 percent of Canadian execs said they have adopted or deployed mobility, compared with 69 percent worldwide. Maybe it’s just Canadian common sense: If your employees, partners and customers are all using smartphones and tablets to work and play, it makes sense to use those devices as a touchpoint and a channel to market, sell or both.
Deeper in the report, however, Accenture shows that buying into the concept of mobility is a lot different than using it effectively.
In about two-thirds of companies, shortcomings related to the actual rollout of mobile capabilities are likely preventing organizations from making greater progress. These include current systems and infrastructure that cannot smoothly accommodate new mobile technologies; lack of a robust blueprint to guide adoption and no formal, robust methodology for developing mobile applications that spans development, testing, distribution, and updating.
Accenture recommends a more formal enterprise mobility strategy and more overt buy-in from the CEO (less than one-third of Canadian firms said their senior management was involved in mobility). Those kind of strategies don’t usually emerge out of thin air, unfortunately. Perhaps a more realistic prescription would be to look at the business needs where mobility could contribute value today, and identify technology projects already underway or complete that could address mobile computing needs. For example, unified communications is allowing Canadian companies to work more collaboratively and be more responsive to customers. Mobile UC is not merely a bolt-on but a natural evolution that can further increase ROI of the original project.
Finally, when we talk about “mobility” we’re still probably spending too much time talking about devices and apps. Accenture’s study is a good reminder that what lies beneath in the network — the stuff that doesn’t move, essentially — is the first thing you should be thinking about if you want to get an enterprise mobility strategy in motion.