The Mobile Gap Between Business And Consumer

This presentation was delivered on the Service Manager Day 2013.

Mobile is much more than the stereotype road warrior with tablet and smartphone. Mobile is also the couch potato with the apps and the second screen, the learning thermostat that can be controlled from anywhere, the smart watch you wear on your wrist, the Google Glass you wear on your head, the parking meter that gives you a code to pay for your stay, the huge datacenter that Apple is building to serve the iCloud, the 4G base stations that are being installed all over our country as we speak. And so forth. By definition, mobile is everywhere.

The Netherlands is a unique play ground for mobile. We have a telecom referee that is net neutral. We are (nearly) 17 million people on a small piece of flat land, 400 people per square kilometer, with a state-of-the-art Internet infrastructure. Seven out of ten Dutch citizens are actively engaged in social media activities. The Netherlands ranks number four in the most recent World Economic Forum Global IT report. More than 10 million mobile connections are mobile broadband. Making a mobile Skype call while driving on the motorway does not have to be a nightmare. The Amsterdam Internet Exchange is one of the largest exchanges in the world.

But there is a large gap between consumer and employee usage of new (mobile) technology and IT department and business readiness to deploy the same. Dutch businesses lag in cloud computing deployment, are not ready to embrace the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon, and are slow in implementing mobile apps for employees (see Figure below).

The Gap Between Business And Consumer

This spells opportunity for those that want to embrace mobility and stay close to their employees and customers. But while doing so, they need to take into account the four most important new aspects that the mobile cloud opportunity carries with it: the increasing importance of customer experience, the shift to bring your own IT (BYOIT), changing business models, and the new emerging ecosystems.

The increasing importance of customer experience. An example of this can be found in the changing communication behaviour of connected consumers. Unlike legacy communications where fixed telephony provided good voice quality and the ability to communicate privately, the new consumer communications experience is about the convenience of using multiple communications modes to share experiences with others. Developers of Enterprise IT services should not forget to design for customer experience.

The shift to bring your own IT (BYOIT). Consumer buying behaviour is shifting, and the customer buying experience is becoming increasingly important. There is a whole new consumer and enterprise ecosystem out there. CIO’s no longer control what comes in and what goes out and are increasingly pushed by employees’ BYOD and BYOapp into the enterprise. CIOs should be prepared to leverage and control rather than curb the BYOIT phenomenon.

Changing business models. Traditional value chains are rapidly being unbundled. In the telecom world, telephony (e.g. Skype), mobile (e.g. MVNO), TV (e.g. YouTube) and Internet access (e.g. unbundled local loop or unlicensed Wi-Fi) are all available as standalone products or services and are becoming features of other apps or functions in the browser. In the Enterprise IT world, devices, apps and services are being unbundled from the Enterprise infrastructure. CIOs should not forget to provide connectors into the Enterprise infrastructure to make sure unbundled services can still tap into Enterprise data.

New emerging ecosystems. Today’s mobile ecosystem leaders include Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, also known as the “Gang of Four”. They have built their ecosystem leadership roles in retail, devices, search, and social networking. They all go for a superior and stickier user experience by creating an engagement model that combines content, device and personalization in order to create a larger and long term share of the consumer wallet. They all want to become the primary engagement vehicle for the connected consumer. CIOs should not forget that new business bundlers are emerging that want to act as the engagement vehicle for the employee (see Figure below).

The New Business Bundlers

Telcos are combining cloud, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), and FMC aspects into single converged services. SaaS players are combining core services plus development and database platforms (Salesforce, SAP HANA) to bundle Office, ERP and CRM capabilities. IaaS players are bundling web hosting, compute, store and communications offerings. And device manufacturers, like Apple, play the same role in bundling enterprise services as they do in the consumer market. In addition, new partners and channels are emerging such as aggregators, app stores, brokers, orchestrators and affiliates. CIOs that want to remain the business bundler for the Enterprise can either take an advisory role and create a shortlist of approved XaaS vendors or create their own bundling platform through platforms like Grip from KPN.

Tour guides and product managers

In order to capitalize on the above shifts, CIOs need to think more like a tour guide and less like a tour operator. IT service managers need to think more like web product managers. Just like telecom operators need to deal with over-the-top alternatives, IT departments need to deal with the BYOIT phenomenon. And just like savvy telecom operators embrace the OTT opportunity, IT departments need to liberate, promote, and increase the value of Enterprise services to the employee.

Are you bridging the mobile gap? Let us know!

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