A recent study by Global Industry Analysts showed that the enterprise mobility market is still going strong and will reach $174 billion by 2017. This growth was further corroborated by a survey we conducted among 161 senior business and IT leaders in North America, where we found that more than 85 percent anticipate Enterprise Mobility Applications (EMAs) will add value to the work performed by employees.
Enterprise software providers already offer a stream of 'Collaborative EMAs' that extend current business applications-like CRM, workflow automation, and interactive product experiences-from the PC to mobile devices. But beyond that, how do you advance from off-the-shelf EMAs that replicate office processes to 'Transformational EMAs' that will reinvent critical business processes and achieve the anticipated competitive advantages? We believe here is where the CIO comes in.
Keep in mind that today's employees are mobile app experts. They have consumer-oriented expectations, and consumer behavior points to a quick dismissal of apps that may be visually appealing but provide little real value. However, that won't fly with EMAs. You can't afford to develop many apps in the hope of having a single hit. For EMAs to be adopted-and, most important, for them to be transformational-you have to solve a real problem and add real value.
How does this play out? Perhaps the most important reworking of traditional IT thinking is to understand the need to spend significant time with potential users before even thinking about what to create. You want to understand what workers are trying to do in a mobile context, what challenges and frustrations they have with their current mobile and wired experience, and what could happen if they were truly un-tethered. In other words, you need a product development team layered into a traditional IT team-a combined effort consisting of people capable of gleaning customer insights about what they want to do, and translating those insights into high-value EMAs.
For this model to work, CIOs must do two things. First, they must nix long development cycles that are aligned with budget cycles and prepare for rapid change and even a little uncertainty about what's coming next-not unlike technology itself. Creating 'Transformational EMAs' is about rapid experimentation and iteration.
Second, you need to gain C-suite support, by linking change to business strategy. What is the transformation you're aspiring to? What are some modest approaches you can start with? You'll need to identify the functional areas that affect these goals and how EMAs-and what kinds of EMAs-can help achieve the targets.
Mobility is in the process of changing the way we work and run our businesses, and creating 'Transformational EMAs' is one way to deliver the crucial competitive edge that today's C-Suite is looking for. It's up to CIOs to deliver.