In my last Mobility Minute, I talked about the shifting role of the CIO – from IT infrastructure manager to the Chef innovator of the company. This shift in roles by one of the key executives of the company is critical, but it’s only part of the answer for organizations that truly want to lead and grow.
Why? Let’s look at what the mobile technology revolution means for the rest of the organization. If you’re a business leader, you can’t just leave it to the CIO to harness technology and spark innovation. Mobility has a strong transformational power. To seize the opportunities it presents, and make change pervasive and real for your business, you need to proactively engage with the rest of the management team.
The hub of all of mobility innovation is typically the Mobility Center of Excellence (mCoE). But this is not the mCoE of the past. While the mCoE continues to collect and share best practices in mobility strategy, reference architectures, technology, support, governance, security, and usage policies – it can no longer be dominated by the IT organization. Now, as a business leader your role is vital.
Game changing technologies like mobile, cloud, in-memory, and social have the power to disrupt your existing business in numerous ways, especially when all or some of them converge. They can affect your current products, services, processes, IT solutions/infrastructure, and even your relationships to partners and customers. Mobility is at the center of this revolution and is a major ROI multiplier for many other technologies across nearly all industries and regions.
To capitalize on the power and opportunities presented by mobile technologies, I believe companies need to move the mobility CoE to the business side – and the C-Suite needs to take charge. This is not to say that the CIO would no longer have a role in the adoption of mobile technologies. Rather, this approach would be similar to moving your IT infrastructure to the cloud or outsourcing parts of it to SaaS providers. It would allow you to refocus more time and resources on your business, and IT would continue to deliver the technology solutions needed to make business innovation a reality.
While the traditional approach of IT incubating and adopting new mobile technologies worked fine in the past, and still works in some cases, a major shift in the mindset and approach of technology adoption is needed now more than ever before. Shifting your mCoE to the business side can help take enterprise mobility to the next level and move it beyond simple discussions about the latest smart phone or mobilizing workflow processes.
Moving the mCoE to the business side will create a new culture of innovation that will help accelerate the penetration of mobile technologies at every level of your organization. To be most effective a business centered mobility CoE should focus on theree major areas;
1. Inspiring new products
In the past, mobile technologies were mainly used to drive productivity and reduce costs via offline solutions rolled out on laptops, tablets, or ruggedized devices. Today, the most successful companies are leveraging new mobile technologies to create game-changing products and services – and these new products are emerging nearly every day and in every industry.
2. Reviving existing products
Customers’ expectations are being shaped by the same technologies we are using to reinvent our businesses. Combining mobility and associated technologies such as M2M, social, and cloud can not only lead to new products, it can breath new life into existing ones. For example, adding smart sensors to an existing machine could be a game changer that would allow you and potentially your customers to collect operational data, send it back to an in-memory Big Data analytic system in the cloud, and then have real-time access to that information from a mobile device. The good news is that such technological modifications are already possible without high costs or long implementation times.
1. Creating businesses or transforming existing ones
Creating new products, or adding new features to existing products, can transform your organization and set the stage for new businesses. It can also help you reach new customers and open new markets.
2. Inventing new business models and processes
New business models such as social and collaborative business might require closer integration of partners, suppliers, and customers. And new products require new processes for marketing, sales, and service. For example, if you’ve designed a new product to be monitored, configured, debugged, and partially repaired remotely – the role and structure of your customer service organization needs to change. As customer service is a revenue center, this shift can lead to some services becoming obsolete, while also creating opportunities for new more profitable service offerings. This underscores why business has to define the new business models and processes before IT can adjust its technology strategy and deliver the required IT solutions.
1. Empowering employees
The consumerization of IT and the range of innovative products used by employees in their personal lives have changed technology expectations completely. To move beyond simply providing employees the latest smart phone or supporting BYOD, business needs to identify what other solutions and tools employees in each line of business could use to be more effective.
2. Creating and enabling a new ecosystem
One of the major benefits of new technologies such as mobility and social business solutions is that you can use them to create a completely new ecosystem of business partners, suppliers, and customers. This new ecosystem is essential for success in the new networked economy that these technologies created. Of course, new IT platforms and solutions will be required to enable and retain the new ecosystem.
3. Customers facing makeover
Advances in technology have resulted in new customer expectations. To meet or exceed these expectations companies need to go beyond just having apps that clients like. A complete review of customer facing processes and IT tools can increase agility and profitability. For example, consider replacing your traditional CRM system with social CRM. By leveraging new technologies in these areas you can increase customer satisfaction and retention.
As a CEO or business leader, your success will soon be measured by the products and services your teams invented to capitalize on rapidly evolving and converging technologies. Whatever your industry or region is, breakthrough technologies can lead to new and improved products, markets, processes, and revenue sources for your company. However, to take advantage of mobile and its associated technologies, the c-suite needs to take a leadership role in identifying opportunities across their organization by creating a culture and team that embraces innovation.
Watch for our next Enterprise Mobility Minute Blog post on February 7.
Dr. Ahmed El Adl
Vice President, Global Mobile Solutions | SAP
Learn more about SAP Mobility Services