Successful companies will use mobile to drive change: IBM

Having a mobile app doesn't mean a company is truly taking advantage of the mobility boom, and those that continue to do so will be left behind, according to IBM.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Forward-looking enterprises are already dealing with the challenges of opening their business up on mobile, but the smart companies already have a number of key characteristics that see them at the head of the pack, according to IBM.

At the IBM InterConnect 2013 event in Singapore this week, IBM MobileFirst vice-president Kristen Lauria highlighted how companies no longer had the concept of control over their mobile devices and infrastructure. She pointed to the example of Apple's iOS 7 and how, after just 24 hours of its release, 24 percent of registered users had upgraded.

"The days of being able to predict and plan for when you want to upgrade your technology and your infrastructure are over," she said.

That did not mean all was lost, however. The company has been studying how other businesses use mobile channels to add value to their organisation, and it has found some key similarities.

Lauria said that leading companies aren't just creating applications under their brands, they are actually tying them into their business processes — a common initial process that many companies go through simply to say they have an app.

"They were focusing on building mobile applications that were unlocking core business function and knowledge and integrating with those backend systems. They weren't just building an app," she said.

These businesses also examined how mobile platforms were affecting the performance and operation of their organisation, then using these lessons to make suitable enhancements. Such an example is the typical case of dealing with the security implications of allowing employees to bring their own devices to work.

"98 percent were addressing security concerns head on, and they were two times more likely to embrace a BYOD strategy for their employees to get the most out of their interactions."

Earlier at InterConnect 2013, MobileFirst director Ed Brill told journalists and analysts that mobile would be important in the adoption of omni-channel.

"It's really important ... in that if I start a process in a tablet and then move to my smartphone and then maybe move to a physical retailer, that I can pick up that experience in real time," he said.

"I shouldn't have to say, 'Let's restart at square one'."

Lauria also warned that companies that didn't get this right were at risk of being left far behind.

"A big percentage of users — 68 to 71 percent — when they interact with a company from a mobile perspective, whatever that may be, if it's not the optimal experience, they immediately go to [a competitor]."

Michael Lee travelled to IBM InterConnect 2013 in Singapore as a guest of IBM.

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