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Enterprise Mobility is but One Component of Digital Transformation

Companies don't want enterprise mobility.  They want increased sales, lower expenses, better products, improved customer service and more profits.  They want to be a survivor during this period of massive digital transformations.  What do I mean by digital transformation?  I mean the fact that entire industries are being changed before our eyes because of the power of big data, mobile applications and broadband connectivity to the internet through mobile devices that introduce completely new business models, processes, products and markets.   In order to be a survivor in this competitive climate, companies need to have a clear understanding and vision of what digital transformation is, and how it is impacting their industry, market, products and company.

I met with a large national paper manufacturer today.  They have yet to start any mobile application projects internally.  I wonder if they have ever read about the impact of digital transformation on Kodak film sales?  I don't revel in writing about this, I cringe.  The challenge is not IT, it is in the business that chooses not to commit budget to preparing for digital transformation.  That sounds to me like waving the white flag in the face of change.

When I talk to companies about mobile strategies, I am not really talking about mobile strategies.  I am talking about digital transformation and how mobile applications support this transformation.  If you buy into the fact that entire industries and marketplaces are being digitally transformed (think film, newspapers, media, retail, banking, travel, education, healthcare etc.), then you recognize that mobile applications are about real-time prospect, customer and employee engagement, commerce, interaction and collaboration on any device, any place and at any time!  The mobile app is the interface between the outside world and the company.  The mobile app will provide very little value if the internal IT systems are not capable of supporting the demands of evolving marketplaces.

Let me emphasize the concept of "real-time."  Mobile devices and mobile applications feed our desire for instant results accompanied by instant satisfaction.  This desire generates intense pressures for companies to upgrade and transform themselves, their business processes and IT systems to be able to respond in real-time.

In addition to our desire for real-time information capabilities, we must be able to creatively innovate our way into the new landscape where the competition is around "information logistics" systems.  Where our success is dependent upon our ability to collect data (from mobile devices, websites, social media, apps, sensors and other database) faster than our competition, and then integrate, analyze, report and put it to use in new business processes and services faster than our competitors.  It is the ability to look at all of these capabilities and to envision new business models, products and services never before possible without real-time capabilities that will determine the market winners.

It is our "information logistics" systems that enable us to digitally transform and be competitive.  It enables us to market to customers with precision.  It enables us to provide better SLAs (service level agreements) because of better visibility into remote operations and delivery capabilities.  It enables us to manage our cash better because we can manufacturer in a "just-in-time" paradigm based upon real-time visibility into demand and orders.

Yes enterprise mobility is a crucial element in all of this.  It supports the "information logistics" system required to remain competitive in a world undergoing digital transformation, but let's not become mesmerized by enterprise mobility.  It is not the end goal, it is simply an enabler on the journey through digital transformation.

**Have you read the new Mobile Solution Directory here - http://mobilesolutiondirectory.blogspot.com/ ?

Read more on the Future of Work here - www.unevenlydistributed.com.

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Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
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***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 is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.