CIO Specialist Advisory LLP                                                Leveraging excellence and value through collaboration
 
Picture
DD Mishra, Partner, CIO Specialist Advisory, discusses various aspects of enterprise mobility and creates insights in general terms on how it is connected to everyday life and how IT strategy can be impacted with different changes in the ecosystem triggered by enterprise mobility. As per Mr Mishra, behaviour patterns of Gen Y are important input for our mobility strategy as consumer behaviour and usage pattern of devices are closely linked to our business.

Many of us grew up in the era of personal computers, which did not have hard disks to store data and used floppy disks to boot PCs. Some of us have even seen the time prior to that when we used to have card readers. As PCs evolved from XTs to ATs and then Pentium, human to machine interaction remained consistent, though computing capabilities evolved quite a lot. This was until smartphones started impacting social behavior.

We do not call it Information Technology (IT) anymore. We call it Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The human to human and human to machine communication has undergone drastic changes. The first wave was brought about by SMS and then by a combination of smartphones, social and professional networking, chat, video and the culture of texting. Text and data have become a part and parcel of Generation Y. Generation X is not far behind in communication behavior patterns, thanks to mobility. 

As ICT people, we have to align our strategies to the behavior and usage patterns of consumers and the probable changes in the future. Unfortunately, we often fail to foresee and miss the opportunity to assimilate the changes in our strategies in time. 

Corporate executives are more mobile these days. According to some studies, 40 percent of the time, executives are out of office or travelling. This could delay decision-making. Though Blackberry has filled this gap to some extent for emails, there is a good opportunity to integrate corporate applications into it and access it from anywhere.

For our discussion, we will divide enterprise mobility into following categories: 

a) Business to Employee Solutions 
b) Business to Consumer 
c) Consumer to Consumer 
d) Machine to Machine, and 
e) Business to Business

Business to Employee (B2E) 

With the advent of tablets, it will be easier for employees to commute and carry out transactions on the move. Imagine the productivity benefits it will bring to the organizations where employees can always be reached. The newer wireless broadband capabilities are fueling this change even further. 

We have seen 3G, LTE and EVDO evolving in many parts of the world which are catalyst to this change. The content providers are playing a larger role in the entire value chain. From the change management perspective, we see the senior management as early adopters and hence the business case will not be an issue for employees who are mostly on the move.

As the line between communication and computation technologies is blurring, organizations are working on policies to allow the use of personal devices and leveraging capabilities of cloud and tablets to make it happen. In turn, they are saving capex and making life easier for their employees, who can use a single device to meet all their needs.  

While we see the brighter side, we should also understand this from compliance and control perspective. It is a nightmare for the CIO to learn of a device in the network which can communicate externally and internally, without his knowledge and control. This is not just an ICT security challenge. For any organization, HR policies, IT policies, asset management policies, financial policies and corporate governance ought to align to accommodate this change. 

Infrastructure and processes should be geared up and rehearsed, prior to extending it to employees. The service delivery and end-user support mechanisms will also go through drastic changes where we will have to retrain them on new technologies. 

Machine to Machine (M2M)

Machine to Machine, popularly known as M2M, allows key information to be exchanged between devices/machines without human interventions. We see a tremendous opportunity of using this in advanced health monitoring, logistics tracking and supply chain, utility metering, industrial communications, security services etc. 

The cellular based M2M will be the preferred choice using 3G and 4G/LTE. The cocktail of cloud and tablets with M2M capabilities based on cellular network is going to empower and retain end-users and employees, making the concept of 'any device anywhere' possible. We will be able to interact with a variety of devices and create a wider impact for our business and consumers at large. 

Consider a device which evaluates heart condition and immediately alerts the doctor on detecting abnormality. Weather forecasts being subscribed on mobile phones in rural areas will change the way we look at mobility. Machine to machine is the fastest growing area in the enterprise mobility landscape. This will impact not only urban and rural population but create a whole new consumer behavior.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

Business to consumer interaction will be the biggest game changer. More than half-a-million applications across the web and various portals, which can be accessed over mobile and tablet, will consume data and bandwidth and will create a new social structure. 

Social networks, Google, voice, Internet, gaming and chat are now the way of life. They are changing social behavior of Generation X and Y. Relationship between consumers and telecom providers will shift in favor of consumers, application and content providers over a period of time, and will convert telecom  into a commodity. 

The value chain is shifting and threatening telecom providers to restrict themselves to dumb pipes or smart pipes. Telecom providers will have to change their strategies to move up the value chain, as integration with end consumers will be less sticky. Tablets, cloud, and content are changing this demography faster than the telcos are able to convert threat into opportunity. 

Business to Business (B2B)

We have seen the revolution in email brought about by Blackberry, which transformed the way companies do businesses. This sector has been so much in demand that mobile providers tapped this opportunity, and created separate enterprise services by adding a host of solutions. Content providers and device manufacturers are doing whatever it takes to move up the value chain. 

Mobile commerce, mobile payments, mobile marketing and mobile banking are few of those B2B solutions that have transformed economies. We see tighter integration of Telecom and IT companies to leverage this opportunity. A whole new consumer behavior is emerging. Telcos and other providers will have to put in place tighter controls to deal with frauds and its impact on consumers, 

Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

Though consumer to consumer transactions and interactions have been there in the form of SMS, MMS and chat but can be extended to auctions, payment systems (paypal etc), money transfers and reverse auctions. These are important points of the value chain but yet not so popular on mobile phones. A large part of it is still unexplored. There is a good opportunity for Location Based Services (LBS) but the same has a lot of constraints because of which it is not very popular at the moment. 

Conclusion

As communication and computing come under one umbrella, mobile technologies will soon converge. As content, bandwidth, cloud and devices will change the landscape dotted by telecos and Web 2.0 companies, we see an opportunity for alliance and partnerships between them. 

Who will be the beneficiary of the evolution of enterprise mobility will depend on the strategy to leverage the opportunity. Consumer behavior and customer experience will have a positive shift and a new order will emerge out of collaboration and alliances, which means more power in the hands of consumers. 

Government regulations will have to change in order to provide opportunities for mCommerce transactions. Consumer protection will have to be relooked.  The IT Act should adequately cover mobile and internet transactions.  Provisions relating to digital signature and cyber law will have to be revisited in the light of mobility. 

This will require a paradigm shift in business, ICT, corporate governance and legal and regulatory framework, law enforcement etc and a change in mindset. The sooner we accept the changes and work towards it, the better it will be.

This post was first published in dynamiccio portal www.dynamiccio.com by the same author.
 


Comments




Leave a Reply