Leader: IT chiefs need mobile help

And mobile operators are now offering their assistance
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

And mobile operators are now offering their assistance

O2 announced today it's changing its image. Out with last season's 'we're a mobile operator' look and in with some 'we're all IT now' garb. Smart move.

Given that mobility is becoming a top concern for IT departments, O2's promise to snuggle up to outsourcers, jaw with IT resellers and generally whisper the kind of pillow talk CIOs will love to hear seems like a good idea - and likely the start of a trend that other mobile companies will follow.

Mobile operators are waking up to the potential bounties they could collect from corporate IT departments, which would provide a reliable sales stream (unlike fickle consumers) and have a growing fondness for data services which bring in a high level of revenue per user (again, unlike consumers from whom mobile operators make very little on a per-user basis).

Another good reason for operators to remodel themselves and another reason why CIOs will want them too - mobile devices are fast catching up with PCs in terms of functionality and require the same amount of TLC as their desktop counterparts. So it makes sense for an IT chief to have a mobile partner on hand to help out.

The growing similarity between mobile devices and PCs hasn't slipped under the radar of Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs either. Jacobs said recently the mobile phone poses more risk of disrupting the PC industry than the other way around, given the mobile may be the only computer many people in developing nations will have. Proof, if proof were needed, that mobile can no longer remain computing's poor cousin in perception or power.

We're with Jacobs on this one. Mobiles can only get more and more functional (and difficult to manage) as road warriors and remote workers demand the ability to tap into key apps from wherever they are. While uptake for the likes of mobile sales force automation or field force automation is lukewarm at the moment, once mobile email gets going properly, other apps will find themselves treading the hockey-stick adoption curve it has left behind a breeze.

And that can only mean IT departments will need all the help they can get from a mobile specialist.

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