Mobility set to impact business more than internet: Accenture

By Freya Purnell

A new study by Accenture has found that 67 per cent of CIOs and other IT professionals believe mobility will impact their businesses as much as or more than the internet did in the 1990s.

The Accenture 2012 CIO Mobility Survey also found that 69 per cent of IT professionals surveyed would allocate more than 20 per cent of their discretionary budgets to delivering mobility capability for their business this year.

In terms of priority and investment, there is a clear divide between IT leaders in emerging markets, with 94 per cent spending more than 20 per cent of budget on mobility, and those in mature markets, with only 35 per cent allocating these funds. Similarly, the survey found that 48 per cent of respondents in emerging markets have an extensively developed mobile strategy, while only 12 per cent of respondents in mature markets had extensively developed strategies.

“A majority of CIOs now recognize mobility’s potential to transform their business, and we see that reflected in the increasing share of spend for mobility in their IT budgets,” said Dan Lauderback, global managing director, Accenture Mobility Services. “But we also see CIOs struggling with a proliferation of employee devices and employee-developed apps and many appear still in the discovery phase regarding the opportunities mobility presents. Mobility is not simply an extension of today’s legacy IT systems, it’s a completely new way of doing business. The companies that are focused on employee enablement, customer enablement and finding new avenues for commerce via mobility are in a class by themselves.”
 
The study also found a few areas of concern complicating the adoption of mobility by enterprises. Of note, security and cost led the list of IT professionals’ biggest concerns, with 50 per cent citing security as the leading factor preventing them from addressing their mobile priorities. Cost and budget were ranked second (43 per cent), while 26 per cent cited either interoperability with current systems or a lack of understanding about the benefits of mobility. In addition, none of the most widely used smartphone operating systems received overwhelming security endorsements from app developers, but more than half (53 per cent) said Apple’s iOS operating system had the best security, while Google’s Android operating system ranked second at 24 per cent.
 
The results highlight the challenges created by the fragmentation of the market, including the large number of different mobile platforms and devices. App developers rated this fragmentation among device platforms as particularly difficult to manage and monetise. For IT professionals, fragmentation complicates a company’s ability to accommodate one of the strongest trends in mobility – employees bringing their own devices to work and wanting to run office applications on them.
 
“Deciding whether and how to focus on employee applications or consumer applications is complex, but the overwhelming number of mobile devices complicates the choices even more,” said Lauderback. “CIOs must tackle these questions head-on as they justify the required mobile-related expenditures.”
 
Accenture’s study concludes that IT professionals must craft a comprehensive strategy for enterprise mobility. In order to do so, Accenture recommends a multi-pronged approach that includes three key elements: technology, business requirements, and management.
 
“Companies need to develop a comprehensive list of the mobility projects they have underway and clarify associated goals; accelerate projects by standardising them; and innovate to create competitive ad¬≠vantages,” added Kamp.  “The rising penetration of smartphones and tablets is compressing IT innovation cycles for the enterprise to 12-18 months. Companies should review their mobile strategy every six to 12 months to ensure that they’re placing their bets on the right trends.”

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