Mobility Can Drive Revenue but Careful Planning Is Essential

by Granville Triumph

As organizations begin planning their technology investments for 2017, a number of industries are prioritizing mobility products and solutions. In its most recent Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide, released on Oct. 6, research firm IDC has forecast that mobility revenues will increase $40 billion annually to exceed $1.7 trillion by 2020.

The banking industry is leading the way, with mobility investments forecast to surpass $100 billion by 2020. Manufacturing, professional services and retail are the next largest industries in terms of mobility investments.

There’s been a good deal of discussion about how mobility can improve productivity and end-user satisfaction and enable organizations to reduce or avoid costs. But can mobility actually benefit the top line?

If continued investments are any indication, organizations believe that mobility will generate significant sources of new revenue and improve customer interactions. However, too many organizations remain in a reactive mode as the rising tide of smartphones and tablets flood into their organizations. Without a clear strategy, organizations cannot maximize the benefits of mobility and achieve a return on investment.

Many organizations will need to make operational changes to better incorporate mobility into their workflows. Field and customer service personnel need applications that enable instant data access, customer engagement and transaction processing via mobile devices.

Getting there isn’t easy, as there are many factors to consider:

  • What devices will you support? Does your strategy only incorporate smartphones, or do you need to consider tablets, ultraportables and some of the newer device form factors?
  • Will you provide staff with company-issued devices or implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program? Despite all the hype about BYOD, many organizations provide only limited support for employee-owned devices.
  • What about security and regulatory compliance? Security remains a significant barrier to mobile adoption for many organizations, and their concerns are not unfounded. Mobile device threats are on the rise, and they often bring lost data, lost revenue and loss of customer trust.
  • How are employees going to access company data? Few legacy systems were built to integrate with mobile devices, and they must be transformed to support mobile adoption.
  • Who is going to implement, manage and support your mobile strategy? Many organizations will have to retrain existing staff or hire personnel with mobile expertise. Given the high demand for mobility talent, skills gaps are likely to arise.

Do all of these issues need to be addressed before an organization can begin to tap mobility to drive revenue? Not necessarily — many early adopters have been able to see top-line benefits from mobile device adoption. However, many of those organizations also experienced mobile incidents such as lost devices and data breaches, leading to consequences such as regulatory fines and lost revenue.

According to IDC, the U.S. mobile workforce will grow at a steady rate over the next five years, increasing to 105.4 million mobile workers in 2020 from 96.2 million in 2015. Mobility can help boost the top line if organizations take a proactive approach and carefully plan an effective mobile implementation strategy.

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