The CIO view of enterprise mobile: More mature, but more challenges with it

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MWC Despite the clear potential of enterprise mobility, there are still a variety of pain points to be negotiated for each organisation.

That was the key theme from an interesting CIO roundtable session at Mobile World Congress in which senior C-level executives from CaixaBank, Shell, TVH Group and the TUI Group discussed the issues and opportunities surrounding their mobile deployments.

One element which was abundantly clear was that each rollout, for such large companies, needed a clear business case. Aside from the usual discussion of efficiency and cost, Isabelle Droll, CIO of TUI OneAviation spoke of an interesting reason. “In terms of business cases, everything where you can save weight is interesting, so saving fuel – very environmental,” she said.

Evidently this will also save money, but for Marc DeCorte, VP connected digital technologies at Shell, mobile is always business driven first. An example of this is expense claims, something that Shell has not developed yet because the business case is more difficult to prove. Yet Droll added: “We’ve succeeded in flying completely paperless – now it’s a bit more difficult for [the] next innovation steps because most of the savings have been done. You need management that are brave enough to try things, and not always searching for business cases.”

When the question was posed regarding challenges facing organisations, there was again a large variety of answers. DeCorte spoke of the difficulty of ‘using the digital agenda to reshape the business’. “It requires business leaders to think about how [to] use digitalisation to run around the business,” he said. “Usually, that discussion is more difficult than realising the technology after.” Pere Nebot, CIO of CaixaBank, argued the problems of security and changing employee mindset, while Droll said the biggest challenge was making IT and business work together.

Kalman Tiboldi is chief business innovation officer at TVH Group. He outlined how the industrial goods supplier has brought IT and business together under a new umbrella of ‘business innovation to IT’, with two CIOs at the head of it. “We realised that just bringing technology into your company is not enough to deal with the digital transformation,” he said. “We have decided to bring the IT and business together in a completely new organisation, opening the door for business people, for all those guys who really need to do the transformation.”

For CaixaBank, the changes in the organisation through mobility have been in some ways staggering. Only 8% of transactions are now performed in a physical branch, while digital contracts now represent 70% of all contracts signed, up from approximately 40% at the start of the year, and potentially expanding to more than 80% by the end of February. Another initiative introduced is being able to pay for bills through wearable devices, yet Nebot argues there is still plenty to be done for wearables and IoT. “I think it has huge potential, but we have to take advantage of it still,” he said.

Vendors also have to do better, the panel argued – but organisations have to prepare to use more than one supplier. Nick McQuire, VP enterprise at CCS Insight and moderator of the session, notes there are close to 400 companies pushing some form of mobility software in the ecosystem. With a variety of options, from MDM, to MAM, to MADP and so forth – a situation which McQuire had previously told this publication was “a mess” – it can certainly be headache-inducing for CIOs.

“We are dealing today with different components, integration in the business process…[and] now confronted with IoT – all different players, all different vendors,” said Tiboldi. “The time is over when we look at one supplier and we push that one supplier for the whole solution – I think that’s daydreaming today,” added Decorte. “I think the biggest difficulty we all have is the speed of change,” said Droll, referring to the industry in general. “Before we decide to work with a vendor it takes six months – most of them are moving faster than that.”

 

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