While CIOs have a lot on their plates for 2016, surely enterprise mobility initiatives are near the top of the pecking order. According to a recent Harris Poll commissioned by Appian, enterprise mobility tops IT investments by IT decision-makers for 2016.

Of course, enterprises are at various stages of maturity with their mobility initiatives. According to Apperian’s 2015 Enterprise Mobile App Trend Report, which analyzed its customer base of nearly 2 million mobile app installations, the mean number of apps that companies have deployed is 35 while the median number is 13.

Despite the installation figures, the study found that the total number of apps deployed isn’t a leading indicator of an organization’s success with a mobility program. “In many cases, just one or two apps are delivering palpable business impact.” In other situations, the apps that have been deployed are providing some companies with competitive advantage and have even changed the way some companies are doing business.

Looking ahead to 2016, CIOs and their teams should be examining the effectiveness of the apps that have been deployed (adoption rates, productivity gains, operational and/or business benefits) as well as the best opportunities available for deploying new apps for business impact.

There are a few obvious ways to go about this. For starters, CIOs can work closely with line of business leaders to identify existing legacy apps that can be mobilized and create new workflow and productivity benefits to team members. What are the biggest pain points for the marketing department, sales, HR, or other departments that could be alleviated through the development of mobile apps?

Meanwhile, as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to become more pervasive, CIOs can also identify opportunities for creating mobile apps that can deliver new value to customers and to the business. With every human expected to own some 20 or more connected devices, according to Altimeter Group, there are vast opportunities for creating mobile apps that can differentiate the customer experience. These include apps that can provide both reactive and proactive customer support, retail apps that can make it easier for consumers to evaluate products and pricing and to streamline purchases.

A key component of IoT-related initiatives include the need to protect sensitive customer and company data as it moves from one point to another. The CIO should work closely with the CFO and other business leaders to determine the organization’s risk tolerance with IoT projects along with the most effective approaches for securing data that’s transmitted between networks, sensors and other types of mobile devices.

Ubiquitous connectivity is allowing enterprises to achieve seamless communication and transparency with business partners and end customers. Doing this successfully requires the CIO to gain a thorough understanding of the business and customer needs that can be addressed.

“Mobility means much more than smartphones and tablets,” says Linda Ban, former Global CIO Study Program Director at IBM, in an HMG Strategy Transformational CIO blog post. “Mobility is about converting processes and extending their capabilities onto different types of devices. Frankly, that’s a huge change for many folks. It means breaking away from a lot of preconceived notions.”

Key Takeaways

  • Looking ahead to 2016, CIOs and their teams should be examining the effectiveness of the mobile apps that have been deployed (adoption rates, productivity gains, operational and/or business benefits) as well as the best opportunities available for deploying new apps for business impact.
  • CIOs can work with LOB leaders to identify the biggest pain points for various departments (sales, marketing, HR) that could be alleviated through the development of mobile apps.
  • The outgrowth of the Internet of Things is creating vast opportunities for creating mobile apps that can differentiate the customer experience.