Over the past few years, companies have been focused on mobilizing enterprise apps and making it easier for employees to get work done regardless of their location. And for good reason: enterprise mobile apps are great for boosting productivity. A global study conducted by Citrix found that employees that are allowed to use their personal devices for business purposes were able to increase their productivity by 36%.

Looking ahead to 2016, companies across a range of industries from manufacturing to technology to retail and hospitality will look for additional ways to strengthen their mobility strategies. High on the to-do list are opportunities to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) which is positioned to help companies transform how they track operating conditions and provide new functionality and capabilities.

For example, IoT offers opportunities for companies across multiple industries to improve overall supply chain performance and even redefining how value is created and captured. A consumer products company can use telematics to track the location and conditions of its fleet. We’ve already seen examples of automotive insurers that are using telematics to determine how driver behaviors such as hard braking or unsafe cornering can be used to calculate insurance premiums.

The Internet of Things is also creating an eruption of new business opportunities that allows the CIO to create new value for the company by enabling new services for business partners and consumers. For instance, a provider of medical data services can collect patient data using wireless sensors, analyze the data, and share it with the patient’s medical team that can use the insights to take action when needed.

In many respects, most companies have only scraped the surface when it comes to developing or purchasing and deploying enterprise mobile apps. Mobile email, project management, sales force automation, and other productivity/collaboration apps have garnered the most interest and highest rates of adoption.

But there are incredible opportunities for CIOs to identify fresh use cases for enterprise mobile apps that can go beyond the functionality offered by legacy apps. For instance, retailers can incorporate mobile payment capabilities into mobile apps used by sales associates who assist customers with product recommendations and other information. Customers benefit since they can complete transactions with a sales associate on the floor without having to wait on a line to make a payment.

CIOs offer additional value that can strengthen the mobile enterprise. Thanks to their unique view of how various business units and corporate functions interoperate, CIOs can also spearhead opportunities for changing up workflows with innovative approaches to application design. One of the best things about enterprise mobility is that it offers companies a clean slate for addressing business problems or organizational processes. This includes incorporating mobile workflows that are tailored to the steps a customer actually takes in their path to purchase or the workflows used by an HR representative to onboard a new employee.

Of course, security across the mobile enterprise is tantamount for protecting applications as well as proprietary and customer data. The CIO needs to regularly communicate the ramifications of security breaches to senior management and the board as well as the potential risks and current gaps faced in order to obtain funding for prioritized security initiatives.

“CIOs need to focus on the data that’s moving between all of those systems and applications,” says Sheila Jordan, CIO at Symantec in an HMG Strategy Transformational CIO blog. “CIOs should focus on securing and protecting data as it moves – not just around the enterprise, but beyond the four walls of the enterprise.”

Key Takeaways

  • Looking ahead to 2016, companies across a range of industries will seek new opportunities to reap the benefits of enterprise mobility, from leveraging the Internet of Things for fresh applications and insights to designing mobile apps that extend the functionality of legacy apps.
  • The CIO can create additional value for the company by enabling new services for business partners and consumers via the Internet of Things.
  • Thanks to their unique horizontal view across the enterprise, CIOs are well-positioned to identify fresh approaches for designing mobile apps that can dramatically improve customer and end user workflows.