Accenture: CIOs see mobility as 'primary channel' for engaging customers

Summary:Turns out that CIOs are very open to mobility -- especially when it comes to courting customers and trying to generate new revenue streams.

Increasing mobility among employees has presented plenty of headaches for CIOs, but it's also enabling some enticing opportunities on the customer side as well.

A new survey from Accenture has revealed that most CIOs are actually such huge fans of mobility that they see it as both a key revenue generator and the primary channel for customer engagement.

According to the Accenture 2013 CIO Mobility Survey, nearly half of CIOs (42 percent) have ranked mobility as one of their top five priorities.

Customer service is one channel that CIOs want to improve upon through mobility, and nearly one third of the CIOs affirmed that they plan to develop and deploy connected devices to support B2B applications.

However, this is obviously easier said than done as only slightly more than half of the companies surveyed (58 percent) have a loosely-defined "moderately developed formal mobile strategy." Accenture researchers admitted this might mean that businesses are being backed into forming a loose mobile strategy rather than taking the time to produce a better one.

Researchers added that this is really the beginning for defining mobile strategies as there's a lot of work to be done for satisfying both customers and employees.

Jin Lee, senior managing director of Accenture Mobility, recommended in the report that CIOs need to research where they should be focusing their investments when it comes to mobile deployments.

In particular they should look at areas that will grow, such as connected devices, and conduct a ‘gap analysis’ to determine how to catch up, or even better, get ahead of the curve. Other critical considerations include investments, budget allocation, re-training staff, hiring mobile expertise, and leveraging external experts to help develop or implement mobility strategies.

Within the workplace, Lee asserted that CIOs "must find ways to support the myriad of mobile devices entering the work environment," emphasizing focusing on the employees and their levels of expertise when tackling BYOD.

It looks like many CIOs are at least trying to get onboard with this as nearly half of them (46 percent) promised they would make changes to better incorporate mobility into business workflows within the next year.

For reference, Accenture's report is based an online survey between December and January of 413 IT professionals (including CIOs, CTOs, and chief mobility officers) across 14 industries within the following 14 countries Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Topics: CXO, E-Commerce, IT Policies, IT Priorities, Mobility

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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