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Seeing through the Fog: Business Mobility and Cloud Computing Provide Clear Advantages

- February 20, 2016 5:44 pm

By Sanjay Khanna, Senior Analyst, Canadian Mobile Business Applications and Services, IDC Canada

“It’s not possible to go fast enough…because the more you develop applications, the greater your need will be.” High Technology CIO

Today’s business environment is paradoxical, ambiguous and therefore risky. For organizations that don’t “sense” the risk environment, the status quo is easy to defend. For organizations that sense risk in order to seize opportunity, however, setting sail into the fog is no easy task. Especially when it’s necessary to capture opportunity faster than ever.

Case in point. Hundreds (or even thousands) of smart mobile devices in a given organization do not provide the “smarts” to rapidly navigate and thrive in a high-risk world. Although the latest smartphones and tablets have powerful computing capabilities, in 2016 and beyond, the real story is about mobile apps.

That’s why opportunistic, risk-savvy organizations should ask three questions:

  1. How useful and/or game-changing are our organization’s mobile apps from strategic, operational and risk management perspectives?
  2. What kinds of applications need to be mobilized?
  3. Which business processes can be optimized via mobile apps?

In my first post in this business mobility blog series, I noted that in comparison to the United States, Canadian organizations lag in the adoption of mobile apps and enterprise mobile management solutions. After email it turns out just 41% of Canadian large organizations have mobilized office suites — a necessary yet insufficient condition for capturing mobile value.

IDC believes that realizing mobile apps’ potential requires Canadian organizations to provide executives, managers, employees, customers, partners and other key stakeholders with mobile apps that mitigate risk and improve organizational performance. According to a 2015 IDC IT Advisory Panel Survey, Canadian organizations stated that the top 3 applications mobilized after email and office suites are:

  • Conferencing apps (39%)
  • Enterprise social networks (28%)
  • Team collaborative apps (25%)

Another 2015 IDC survey of Line of Business and IT decision makers reported that the top 3 business processes mobilized are related to:

  • Operational effectiveness (46%)
  • Customer service delivery (46%)
  • Customer relationship management (46%)

To mobilize such applications and business processes rapidly, Canadian organizations need to adopt “mobile-first” and “cloud-first” tactics. Doing so accelerates mobile app design, development and distribution, which is why it’s important to take advantage of the growing utility of cloud services.

For example, a recent IDC survey of Canadian small, medium and large businesses reveals that the top initiatives for 2016 include cloud services (26%), mobile technologies (24%) and business intelligence (BI) and analytics (24%). Combining mobile-first and cloud-first approaches allows new mobile apps to access cloud-based backend business intelligence and analytics.

The sustainable approach to reaping rewards from business mobility is to first understand the kinds of mobile applications that would serve your organization’s needs and then to prioritize mobile app design, development and deployment. This process should dovetail with understanding the public, private or hybrid cloud services assets that support mobile application requirements, and that could deliver appropriate BI and analytics to the line of business, IT, mobile workers and, where beneficial, to customers and partners.

During a recent in-depth interview, a business-services CIO said, “Cloud plus mobility is a huge enabler.” A solid foundation in mobile technologies and cloud services provides the basis for building breakthrough mobile apps and business processes that incorporate business intelligence and analytics, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent wide area networks. More on these galvanizing areas in the last of my three posts.

Sanjay Khanna is Senior Analyst, Canadian Mobile Business Applications and Services at IDC Canada. He follows trends, new products and vendor strategies, and forecasts the market size for mobile applications and services in Canada. He also works with IDC colleagues to deliver research perspectives on how business mobility intersects with industry verticals such as financial services and healthcare, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive computing, robotics, and other innovation accelerators. Follow Sanjay on Twitter: @Sanjay1

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