August 5, 2015

Changing Everything: Mobile Technology and Apps for Enterprise Customers

CIO Strategy Exchange, New York, 2011

Foreword (and Backwards)

The iPhone and iPad have shaken every aspect of the PC sector’s business model. This year, all the PC companies are under siege as Apple elegantly integrates hardware design, operating system, retailing and even applications distribution in its amazingly popular iPhone and iPad. As Chapter IV explains, Microsoft will vertically integrate Windows 8 with special-purpose hardware to create their next generation of smartphones, tablets and (possibly) PCs. Google is on the same track with its acquisition of Motorola Mobile. And under iPad’s competitive pressure, HP has abandoned its tablet and will soon drop its PC business.

This year both echoes the past and is a harbinger of things to come. In 1991, one could discern the trends that would oust the CEOs of IBM, HP, and DEC a year later. To start, the unit volumes of PCs sold that year shot over 19 million vs 3 million minicomputers sold over an entire 20-year lifespan. Costs were cut by half. The minicomputer sector simply couldn’t keep up and its vaunted assets in proprietary hardware, software, and field sales turned to sludge. Today, such rattling change is occurring again as Apple shipped more iPads in their first year than were shipped annually by the entire PC sector at its peak.

The iPhone, iPad and Droids also change how IT is perceived and exploited in CIOSE companies. For our crowd, mobile technology presents a fundamental expansion well beyond back-office cost reduction and employee productivity (via ERP and CRM) to consumer-facing apps that build brand loyalty and increase revenues.

But before proceeding to describe those apps in Chapter II, our deepest thanks to all our members and friends who participated with their time, experiences, and thoughtful insights. We couldn’t have written this CIOSE Report without your help.

Experiences and Lessons

  • Curtain Up: We interviewed sixteen CIOSE members across a wide spectrum of industries including: automotive, banking, construction, consumer products, food services discrete manufacturing, insurance, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, and retail. We start with this chapter’s snapshots of the smartphone and tablet applications (henceforth, “apps”) built by more than a handful of our clever CIOSE members. The specific names for many apps are included for those of you who are curious to see more. They are organized by purpose and impact: increasing sales, providing greater customer convenience, improving employee productivity, influencing point of sale, enhancing brand awareness and strengthening loyalty.
  • Chapter II turns to key learnings gleaned from these member snapshots. In the end, the lessons are relevant to almost any enterprise.
  • Chapter III reports on the in-house governance rules and oversight techniques the CIOSE crowd is applying to manage the mobile gadgets used by their employees.
  • Chapter IV paints the dogfight in the mobility sector with visits to Apple, Google, Microsoft and RIM. As suggested in the Foreword, get ready for plenty of action!

Two themes recur throughout: First, mobile apps are now the primary focus of IT innovation (and resources) at many CIOSE companies. Second, these apps are built almost universally for iPhones and iPads, with Droids coming in a close second. Blackberry is often ignored and Windows is barely on the horizon but coming on strong.

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