Corporate Alignment With Mobile Customers
There remains a gap between those using mobile technology and those charged with deploying it.
I have recently heard from various companies of differing sizes that their organizations are behind (some woefully) in mobile and now are looking to do more.
These companies are from a wide range of industries, and the only pattern is their awareness that they are behind in mobile. Some of them initially concluded that mobile would not impact their businesses, so they ignored mobile Web sites, mobile marketing and mobile technology expenditures.
Notwithstanding the investment and resources, technology professionals already were strongly challenged by many aspects of the move to a mobile world.
As more employees bring their own personal smartphones and tablets to work, IT (information technology) departments are charged with maintaining the security of the data within the corporate networks. Coming down from the encrypted and highly secure BlackBerry era, those in IT can find this trying, to say the least.
For example, more than half of secure IT networks in the United Kingdom were breached last year because of employees using their own mobile devices at work, based on a study of chief information officers by Virgin Media Business.
As business challenges go, the BYOD phenomenon is to IT departments what showrooming is to retailers. Not necessarily pleasant, but also not avoidable.
Many employees and managers have been carrying two phones -- the company-issued one and the one they bought because it was the one they wanted. These employees also are consumers and shoppers; they are not different people.
And as consumers and shoppers, they are becoming better mobile-equipped both because of advancing hardware and more usable apps. They also are spending to upgrade their devices -- some as replacements for old phones and others for desired capabilities.
To keep this in context, worldwide IT spending this year is projected to be almost $4 trillion, of which almost $700 billion will be spent on devices including tablets, mobile phones and PCs, according to Gartner research.
While the expenditures for devices are positive internally -- almost 60 percent of knowledge workers said that use of smartphones and tablets increases their productivity, according to Eccentex -- there is a potentially larger but less visible benefit.
Employees inside companies are migrating to use the same mobile technologies their customers already are using, with huge implications at retail.
As companies like Lowe’s, The Home Depot and American Airlines deploy smartphones and tablets to employees, they are helping close the mobile knowledge gap between the sellers and buyers. Not the companies, but the people.
The somewhat staggering report a few days ago that eBay’s mobile commerce volume will hit $20 billion this year and that its PayPal unit also is expected to process $20 billion in mobile transactions has to be an eye-opener for some.
The influence of mobile on all commerce is being felt in parts of many organizations. The key now is for mobilizing businesses to remain in sync with their mobile consumers.