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Why Mobile Strategies Are Stalling at Many Enterprises

By Tom Kaneshige
June 10, 2014 02:01 PM ET

CIO - If your business hasn't heard about the mobile revolution by now, well, you might want to crawl out of your cave and enjoy the sunlight with everyone else. Mobility is what the business consultants call "transformative" technology that affects nearly every company in every industry.

To be fair, the problem isn't that enterprises aren't aware of the impact of mobile technology. The problem is that many companies aren't doing mobility right. Only two out of five companies have made good progress in their mobility efforts, according to a recent Accenture survey of nearly 1,500 C-level executives. The rest, not so much.

"It's taking companies more time to get to that level," says Terri Rinella, managing director at Accenture Mobility.

On the bright side, companies know the value of having a mobile strategy. In fact, 87 percent of respondents said they have a formal mobility strategy, which is up from 58 percent last year. CEOs are jumping into the mobile fray, too. At 35 percent of the companies, the CEO plays a role in mobility strategy development.

Unfortunately, a mobile strategy may be full of holes that stymie mobility benefits. A whopping 86 percent of respondents have not yet seen their mobility initiatives pay for themselves, according to the Accenture report. Shortcomings related to the actual rollout of mobile capabilities are likely preventing two-thirds of companies from making greater progress.

Mobile at a Standstill

A mobile strategy faces many challenges. For instance, a mobile strategy might not be fully adopted across an organization resulting in a lack of standards in, say, mobile app development. Business executives and CIOs might bicker over who owns the mobile strategy. Top leadership might not throw their full support behind the mobile strategy. A mobile strategy can suffer from overlap in mobile funding or in app usage -- that is, employees might be using different apps that perform the same function.

"A mobile strategy also might not be the right strategy or not comprehensive enough," Rinella says. Conversely, she adds, "Organizations might have a strategy but not the skills to execute it."

Despite loaded guns leveled at mobile strategies, only a few companies pull it off. About one in 10 respondents reported having generated more than 100 percent return on their mobility investment in the last two years.

"You have organizations who are the leaders, and then you have this group in the middle," Rinella says. "Right now, we're at the group in the middle to the bottom who are struggling to really get things right."

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple, BYOD and Consumerization of IT for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. Email Tom at tkaneshige@cio.com

Read more about mobile/wireless in CIO's Mobile/Wireless Drilldown.

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