Enterprise mobility: The invitations are out but the dance floor is empty

The UPS guy has asked for your signature on parcel delivery for more than a decade. The water utility technician has received call outs on his Toughbook to fix pipe breakages in front of your house for a similar period. But we were told that these industrial users would be eclipsed in the corporation as a thousand apps arrived to mobilise every aspect of the enterprise.

Gartner even has a smart presentation showing the maths needed to reach one thousand enterprise apps per company. Their point being that such volume requires a new approach by the CIO.

However, a recent Gartner survey found that enterprises today have on average less than ten apps deployed. Similarly their recent hype cycle for mobile software and services report had mainstream topics such as BYOD strategy, mobile cloud and enterprise app stores all under 20 percent market penetration, while new, trendy topics in mobility, such as iBeacons, augmented reality and collaboration, were all under five percent.

CIOs are being fashionably late to the enterprise mobility party

Other research groups have similar data. MGI Research in their 2014 State of Mobile Apps survey asked CIOs how much of their IT budget was committed to enterprise mobility. The answer was less than 10 percent of enterprises surveyed had a mobile budget of $100k or more.

The balloons are up and the band is playing at the mobile enterprise party but there are so few party goers that most are standing against the wall or around the punch. Is everyone just late, or is no one coming?

When no one turns up to your party the possible reasons for why this happened are:

  • You’re not popular
  • Someone else is having a party and everyone is already committed to attending
  • Everyone is coming but trying to be cool by being fashionably late
  • We know mobile in the enterprise is popular, with surveys showing for the past two years or more that it’s a top three corporate IT initiative. Regarding being at someone else’s party, there is little doubt that many CIOs like to keep themselves busy with back office upgrades of SAP, Oracle and the like, but in truth that is always the case and when CIOs are motivated they do reprioritise; by example the flood of CRM implementations in the market last year as enterprises moved to have a customer centric capability. Similarly, the plethora of mobile consumer apps in the last two years shows an embracement of mobility, but of course these apps are outside of the enterprise systems space.

    This leaves us with only one conclusion: CIOs are being fashionably late.

    The key reason why is there’s no brand winner in the market and CIOs are waiting for one to arrive. A market leader ensures a product’s longevity and depersonalises the selection from the CIO to the market. Consequently if the project fails, the selection is not the focus of scrutiny. It also gives the CIO a short list – the top three market brands – without the legwork of in-depth market research.

    Selecting a no-name vendor is a lot of work. You need to:

  • Review their financial credentials
  • Talk to their user base to ensure they have a corporate level of support
  • Ask if their solution can scale to your volumes and meet internal security standards
  • Review and judge the disparate architectural approaches
  • However, if you look at new enterprise markets that have arrived over the past 20 years – such as sales force automation, business intelligence, cloud based storage – none of them have been won by established brands.

    Lesser known innovative vendors are hoping that CIOs will look past the industry cheerleaders and see who else is there

    Today, Salesforce.com, Tableau and Box are all strong trademarks but they weren’t when people first selected them. So the future for new emerging markets would appear to be with innovative, no name companies with fresh go-to-market models that can capture the market’s imagination and drive attendance to their party.

    What will attract CIOs to the enterprise mobility party? Well, as appetisers, they need short, low cost implementations for applications that are specific to their company’s needs. CIOs are demanding mobile device independence, as the mobile OS wars should not be bet on, and expect the holy IT trinity of scale, security and integration to have been addressed. Add to this the business need for robust applications that can work offline for hours with no impediments, offer infield recovery in minutes and be highly responsive as to not slow them down.

    With this wish list no wonder CIOs are finding it hard to find the dance floor.

    However, some no name innovative vendors have their party dresses on and are looking pretty good. They are just hoping that CIOs will look past the industry cheerleaders and see who else is at the party – they might find we are pretty good dancers.


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    15 Mar 2015, 12:10 a.m.

    Agree, and think that Enterprise mobility has been stalled for a couple of years. I wrote a similar article on this topic just after leaving the party altogether http://digitalproductinnovation.com/2013/03/22/summary-and-wrap-up-on-html5-is-good-enough-for-enterprise/


    16 Mar 2015, 1:23 a.m.

    Good...I can assure , this is valid point, we are reaping lot of benefits out mobility applications inluding Workflows with Back office systems and field forces having hand held devices.


    27 Mar 2015, 2:09 p.m.

    As you pointed out, most CIOs are waiting to see how the mobile market develops - vendors, providers, platforms, and technologies. But, with the powerful consumer mobile trends, CIOs' hands are being forced. Business units are demanding mobile solutions, and CIOs are trying to figure out a holistic strategy.

    This white paper discusses the many factors in developing an enterprise mobility strategy: http://bit.ly/1GwCXjz

    Jeff Rutherford commenting on behalf of IDG and KPMG