Some of you know the inconvenience of losing a mobile phone. And a few of you might even know the pain of losing control of your organisation’s entire mobile strategy.
The proliferation of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs within consumer ranks has turned the old model of IT provision on its head. Some workers now carry devices that are more powerful — and are usually more user-friendly and convenient — than the computer provided by their employer.
The low-cost nature of mobile devices has also resulted in mobile deployments driven directly by business units such as sales or human resources to meet tactical requirements, effectively bypassing IT in the development of mobile solutions. The security implications are a nightmare, not to mention the cost of providing mobile data access. And when it comes to building external applications that connect with an organisation’s customers, these strategies are often being driven by marketing, and rarely by IT.
In many ways the evolution of mobile strategies is mirroring that of how Web strategies developed 15 years ago, with IT slow to catch-up. According to Gartner research vice-president, Geoff Johnson, CIOs are about to lose the plot.
In-depth: How to create a successful mobile project.
“[Mobile strategies] get out of hand too easily, so you need somebody to manage it,” Johnson says.
“That’s why you see the take up of solutions like mobile device management, and telecom expense management service providers.”
Mobility is clearly on the CIO agenda. A global study of 3000 CIOs, including more than 180 from Australia, conducted by IBM this year showed that 74 per cent were developing mobility solutions, up from 68 per cent in 2009, while 84 per cent of CIOs in Australia and New Zealand identified mobility as one of the most important elements in their planning. But it is still generally other parts of the business that are driving mobile strategies — particularly those that reach out to customers.
Sydney-based mobile developer, Creative Licence Digital, has worked with a wide range of organisations in delivering mobile applications. Mobile development director, Darren Winterford, says it is not the CIOs who are leading these initiatives.
“We normally deal with marketing directors and managing directors as opposed to CIOs,” Winterford says.
“A lot of CIOs have tended not to get too involved in the mobile space — from memory we haven’t dealt with a single one. Because mobile is not typically a .NET environment with heavy control or management, I think they often see it as a risk to administer.”
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