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The march to mobility

Emerging markets have the advantage

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More and more companies are being gripped by the possibilities of mobility, the idea that employees can work together seamlessly across different geographies or whilst on the move, across different devices, all the while having access to the relevant information required for them to do their jobs.

CIOs in particular are seeing mobility as a way to unlock large amounts of revenue and productivity whilst simultaneously opening up a new, primary channel through which businesses can interact with the consumer. Just how focused CIOs are on unlocking these dual benefits of mobility was underscored by the findings of Accenture’s CIO Mobility Survey, released in February 2013.

Globally, more than one third of CIOs see mobility as a top priority (top one or two) for the near future, and 42 percent see it as a top five priority. In India and China 50 percent or more of the CIOs surveyed said that mobility was a top-two priority, a figure that is significantly higher than the Western average. In the UK for example, the majority of CIOs (67 percent) rank mobility within their top five priorities.

However CIOs are not just talking about the importance of mobility. They are also pouring investment into exploring its benefits. For example, 57 percent of CIOs said they would spend more than 30 percent of their discretionary budget on mobility projects in FY13.

At the same time, businesses are making structural changes to accommodate mobility. Globally, 46 percent of CIOs said they plan to make changes in processes, roles and workflow to better incorporate mobility into their business.

Yet despite the enthusiasm for mobility, many companies still have significant strides to make in this area. Accenture found that 58 percent of organisations surveyed have a moderately developed formal mobile strategy, and about one-quarter (23 percent) have a strategy they would describe as extensively-developed. This suggests that in some quarters the move to mobility is being made in a hurry, with companies feeling that they simply can’t afford to wait around.

IT executives in India consistently voice confidence in mobility’s potential to drive a number of different benefits. 63 percent of those surveyed believe mobility can drive revenue through customer engagement and transactions on mobile devices, the joint highest of any country surveyed, along with the UK. The research shows that CIOs in India are also inclined to use mobility to improve field service/customer service delivery with instant data access, capture and processing.

Meanwhile in China, IT executives score highly on their budget commitments and execution plans. Of all the countries surveyed, Chinese organisations reported the most highly developed mobile strategies, with 50 percent of respondents claiming to have an extensively developed strategy. Chinese companies are also more likely to have employees in their IT departments dedicated exclusively to mobility.

Overall, the emerging markets have a key advantage in their march to mobility. They have a clean slate. They are not burdened by the constraints of desktop and laptop legacy infrastructure and the accompanying synchronicity issues that impact the developed world. These markets are also deploying computing devices that are cheap and easy to use, and their consumers are experiencing increased economic power through better communications capabilities and access to communication. All things considered, conditions are ripe for the explosion of mobility in these markets.

Regional differences aside, companies have clearly started to embrace mobility. Perhaps most tellingly of all, 73 percent of CIOs surveyed globally believe mobility will impact their business as much or more than the web revolution of the late 90s, an astonishing figure considering the sea change brought about by the internet. The future really is 360 degree mobility, anywhere, anytime, any device.

Posted by Craig McNeil, Managing director, Accenture Mobility

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