If you asked a room full of business leaders what their mobile strategies are, almost half of them would have to phone a friend on their BlackBerry. According to a recent SAP and CIO magazine survey, fewer than 20 percent of companies have a well-defined enterprise level mobile strategy. And only a third of the respondents reported planning at the department or business unit level.
This doesn’t suggest that most companies are less than bullish on the potential upside that mobile technology represents. More than 70 percent of IT leaders see mobile as transformational or strategic to their business.
Most have high expectations related to mobile for productivity, efficiency, and customer engagement. A significant number of the respondents can point to productivity gains they’ve already achieved, and more than a quarter said that mobile technology increased the efficiency of business processes.
So how come so many companies aren’t pedal-to-the-metal on developing mobile strategies?
Well, while half of the respondents have had some success with their current mobile investments, the other half have not. More than 50 percent of the respondents said they’ve yet to identify a clear business case for implementing mobile technology. Nearly a quarter of the executives see mobile technology as only a tactical tool.
Equally important is that almost 40 percent commented that they lack the time or resources to pursue opportunities mobile may represent. Lack of IT skills to support mobile platforms, noted the survey’s analysts, will emerge as a significant factor limiting the wider impact that mobile technology can have on most organizations.
For the remaining 60 percent of the respondents, investments in mobile technology will continue to be made – departmentally if not on an enterprise level. These companies reported that mobile application development efforts over the next 12 months will involve at least some in-house work, from light customization to total internal development.
The emphasis on using internal resources, said the survey’s analysts, may relate to the fact that the mobile applications deployed or planned for deployment in the next 12 months are mostly industry-specific. That follows the trend reflected by already developed mobile apps which share these characteristics:
- Industry specific (unique to an industry process) 58%
- Line-of-business specific (finance, HR, CRM, field service) 52%
- Productivity related (approvals, time & expenses) 51%
- Analytics related (dashboards, KPIs) 46%
- Business-to-consumer (loyalty management, social media) 40%
If companies are being a little more cautious about making enterprise-wide pronouncements about mobility, Vishy Gopalakrishnan, VP Mobility Solutions at SAP, offers an understanding explanation. “Most organizations have a pretty good idea of how to handle new technologies,” he said. “The wrinkle with mobile is that it changes very fast and is pervasive.”
Learn more what companies are thinking about strategic approaches to mobile. Read the report on the SAP CIO Magazine survey: Mobile in the Enterprise – The Gap Between Expectations and Expertise.