It’s a common story across many mobile development agencies; in those instances where a company’s mobile strategy is directed towards its customers, often the driver is the marketing manager rather than the CIO. It is not entirely surprising — the remit of many CIOs is to service internal customers and deliver efficiency and productivity improvements to the business.
This has certainly been the focus of Bob Platt, CIO at Wyong Shire Council on the NSW Central Coast between Sydney and Newcastle. Having bedded down the organisation’s internal strategy, however, he has turned his attention to how mobile can service ratepayers.
As a business, we want to standardise on certain devices. As for connecting customers into our services, we need to make them available to all the devices
“Now that we are building more expertise and experience it is improving to the point where we have a myriad of applications that we are working on across the board,” Platt says.
The mobile strategy follows an internal review of the business conducted a year ago, which included Platt’s own contribution, a discussion paper titled Anywhere, Anyhow, Anytime.
“That was about the fact that the needs of people have changed drastically,” he says.
“We have a very high percentage of commuters from the Central Coast to Sydney, so there was strong requirement to improve the way that we communicated with our customers, and also to our employees.” \
The council is increasingly exposing its mobile strategy to ratepayers.
In November 2010 it started a trial using Blink’s blinkAnswers software to deliver information regarding council updates, development applications, rail and road conditions, and other information of interest to residents. The goal is to improve the process of delivering information to the public using mobile devices.
Platt says the advantage of using a technology such as Blink, which creates process-driven web pages on the mobile device, is that it saves the organisation from having to redevelop applications for multiple operating systems.
“You’re not locked into a particular device — you have that device independence,” Platt says.
“It is very difficult to control how an end user outside the organisation connects.”
The CIO at services company, Wilson Group, Grant Hurley has taken firm control of all aspects of his company’s mobile strategy. Wilson Group is best known as the owner of Wilson Parking, but also runs a security business employing 3500 staff, as well as an IT solutions business, and has operations in four countries.