The spike of mobile devices connectivity and spending at the enterprise level will shape new levels of engagement as well as the need for new strategies and a “chief mobility officer,” according to Forrester Research.

A new report from the firm, “Mobility is the New Face of Engagement,” authored by analysts Ted Schadler and John C. McCarthy, outlines a four-year look at the mobility market in terms of proliferation, spending and challenges. By 2016, the report predicts there will be 350 million smartphones in business use, with more than half of those as “bring your own devices.” In response to that, spending on enterprise mobility is anticipated to reach $1.3 trillion globally by 2015, consuming 35 percent of the tech economy and including $56 billion spent by first-time device owners. In addition, Forrester sees spending on mobile IT projects to double between this year and 2015.

Behind all of those figures are new capabilities and challenges for enterprise users. Over the next four years, Schadler and McCarthy expect mobile engagement to raise problems with multichannel coordination and access, business processes designed for transactions and not engagement, servers and infrastructure unprepared for mobile access and data volumes, and governance initiatives “misaligned” with mobile requirements.

Part of this can be handled with a clear mobile directive and engagement guide. But to follow through successfully on mobile adoption and ongoing projects, Forrester recommends first establishing the office of the “chief mobility officer,” a position that acts as a bridge between governance and business expectations.

“There’s no talent gap [for chief mobility officers], though the skills are more likely to be found in business development or operations than in deep IT execution,” Schadler says. “The key challenge is coordinating all the tribes inside the company that care about mobile. That is more a business challenge than an IT challenge. 

Done correctly, the Forrester report finds the vast increase in mobile adoption as a great means to expand engagement across the enterprise and as a way to address other emerging information management trends such as big data and social analytics. Retail iPhone apps – predicted on which is expected to grow five-fold by 2016 to $31 billion – will expand real-time customer interaction. Also, daily workflow apps and tablet capabilities will expand the reach of workers out of the office and extend data access to business users, and more offline products will get APIs and mobile app extensions, according to Forrester.

This article was used with permission from Information Management

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