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Tactical vs. Strategic Enterprise Mobility

Tsunamis of Change
In the recent survey I conducted titled "State of Enterprise Mobility 2013" I asked the question, "Does your company view mobile solutions as tactical (LOB or process specific) or strategic (critical to the success of the company)?"  Over 220 participants answered the question with 71.3% answering strategic, and 28.2% answering tactical.  However, when I filtered for just the answers from end-users (removing analysts, consultants, software and mobility vendors), then 48% answered tactical, and 52% answered strategic.  There are still a lot of enterprises that view enterprise mobility as merely a tactical solution.

What is the difference between strategic and tactical enterprise mobility?  I think it relates to the scale and transformational nature of your implementations.  For example, if your CPG (consumer packaged goods) company had 27 food processing inspectors that needed mobile apps to conduct in-house inspections, then I would consider that a tactical implementation of a mobile solution.  However, if your company implemented an enterprise-wide mobile app to facilitate better enterprise collaboration, then that might be strategic. Strategic mobile applications fundamentally change the way a company operates.

I see a lot of strategic mobility especially used in B2C (business-to-consumer) apps.  Many of these apps can completely change the way customers feel about your company, research products and services, buy things and recommend them to friends.

Social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) and other IT mega-trends are causing massive changes today.  Here is what Gartner said this week at their symposium, "IT is no longer just about the IT function. Instead, IT has become the catalyst for the next phase of innovation in personal and competitive business ecosystems."  Did you catch that?  IT is becoming even more important, and is key to making their businesses competitive!

I get concerned when I meet with IT strategy teams in 2013 that tell me, "We are conducting POCs with a couple of simple mobile apps."  WHAT?  What are they trying to prove with a POC?  That is like saying, "I know a Tsunami is coming, but I am going to practice my breast stroke and back stroke to see which I like better."  You have got to be strategic enough to MATTER!

Here is another comment from the Gartner Symposium this week, "The savvy CIO will get his or her CEO to recognize the change being brought about by disruptive shifts, and that they are coming at an accelerated pace and that they will have a global level of impact."  These changes and economic shifts are seismic!

It is time we recognized these massive changes for what they are and get serious about implementing a strategy shift that enables us to respond to changes as a much faster pace than ever before.

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Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
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Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict serves as the Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, at Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, focused on bringing the best strategies, digital technologies, processes and people together to deliver improved customer experiences, journeys and success through the combination of intelligent solutions, analytics, automation and services. He is a popular writer, speaker and futurist, and in the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries. He has over 32 years of experience working with strategic enterprise IT solutions and business processes, and he is also a veteran executive working with both solution and services companies. He has written dozens of technology and strategy reports, over a thousand articles, interviewed hundreds of technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries.

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