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Former Member

If 71 percent of senior IT leaders consider mobile a strategic driver in their enterprise, why do only 18 percent have a comprehensive strategic plan for their mobile program? Let’s face it: The fast pace of change in mobile technology is an eternal challenge for both IT and business leaders. They are constantly asking themselves, when’s the best time to implement innovation? Should we go the cyclical route? This requires a learning-by-doing approach, lots of patience, stamina and yes, a high financial investment. Or should we wait until it’s been perfected?

The cost of waiting could be much higher than going the cyclical route. Companies that pioneered mobile technology a few years ago are well ahead of the game today. A mobile application architect at one of the world’s largest Consumer Products companies recounts the rocky road to success at his enterprise:

“In the beginning, BlackBerry was the defacto standard around the world for business e-mail. But the platform was limited and there were no mobile applications, so the Blackberries were managed by the e-mail team. It all changed when people wanted to use the iPhone for work, but it was not enterprise ready, so executives were carrying two phones, one for business and one for fun. Things really got going with the Lotus app revolution when iOS became a viable option for corporations. We let executives pick their device, and everyone picked iPhones. This led to confusing times because there was no owner of the mobile strategy and vision, so we created a dedicated mobile center of excellence to figure out vision, strategy and tactics for an end-to-end solution. Now we’ve standardized on SAP’s mobile platform and are running 55 custom built mobile apps globally, completely revolutionizing how we work today.”

Many enterprises don’t have a strategic mobile plan because they are trying to get the basics right before they start investing in innovation. This makes a lot of sense, but it also hampers evolution that could take place in parallel.

The nexus of forces shaping society today -- big data, social, mobile and cloud -- is not waiting for companies to approve budget and upskill teams to deal with new technology. These disruptive forces are quickly reshaping the world, and companies that are not agile in their response may soon find themselves lagging behind.

At a recent visit to one of Europe’s largest airlines I was impressed at how quickly they were able to build and implement mobile apps that deliver real value to the business. Thanks to their strategic thinking they are now using mobile apps to increase productivity throughout maintenance cycles, decrease operational costs, and improve customer service in the cabin. While this company is among the pioneers most others are still waiting for the right moment and losing precious time. 

Mobile is shaping the future of business in every industry. Think about the millions of people around the world such as young millennials or rural populations who never visit banks, but do all their financial transactions on their mobile devices. Or think about the widespread use of mobile technology for online shopping. What do these trends mean for the future of banking, retail and telcos, to name just a few of the industries being disrupted?

Going mobile is not just about IT decisions; it’s about having a strategic approach that will shape the journey your business will take over the next decade. If you are not already among the pioneers, one way to get started is by creating a mobile center of excellence (CoE) like the CP company that was trying to deal with a range of confusing options.  A mobile CoE can provide a structured approach for the crawl, walk, run process everyone has to face as they adapt their business to the new world of mobile, cloud and big data.

Companies that take this approach will be in good shape when mobile investments evolve to full multichannel user experiences. They will be able to map their mobile commerce opportunities to the physical and digital way we will be consuming, buying and selling in the future.

So what’s the cost of waiting for the perfect moment to go mobile? It’s the loss of business to visionary companies that are taking steps today to win tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter: @AReynolds5796