Driving business transformation through agility and mobility
Global sales for smartphones during the first quarter of 2012 up by 42.5% (1)
With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets in the market, consumers are turning to their mobile devices to access search and social capabilities on-the-go. Over the past year, mobile commerce is an emerging trend that is driving significant revenue for several enterprises. Consumers want to purchase goods, products, and services and transact online with brands through their mobiles.
In 2011, the number of users that subscribed to mobile payment services was almost 2 billion (4). Moreover, according to a study, at least 50 per cent of consumers conduct monthly purchases on their smartphones (2).
In this scenario, the role of technology in enabling mobile commerce has become the key differentiator. Companies today need technology solutions that can them mobile, agile and responsive to consumer needs while maximizing return on investment (RoI).
This article explores how Cloud presents the perfect bridge between enterprise goals, mobility, business, and technology. In other words, how Cloud can drive business transformation by enabling enterprise mobility.
Making an Enterprise Mobile
The viral trend of ‘Mobile’ spells tremendous business potential for enterprises that are quick to on-board strategic mobile platforms. Research reports predict that by 2016 $31 million of revenue will be generated through mobile commerce (5). Moreover, the significance of mobile is not confined to digital consumers; employees are also eager to embrace on-the-go capabilities and are using their tablets and smartphones for work.
To enable business transformation, enterprises need to change from within. Social business is about implementing strategies and mechanisms for organizational change that expand from within the fabric of an enterprise towards external stakeholders i.e., from employees to consumers.
Thus, to foster true enterprise mobility, companies should start with empowering the mobile workforce and then enabling mobile commerce for consumers. This becomes even more significant in light of research that shows that 30% of employees prioritize mobility and device flexibility over salary when deciding which job to select (6).
The key questions that chief information officers (CIO) and chief procurement officers (CPO) need to address are:
Can we enable on-the-go access to work such that the physical office becomes optional?
How can we abstract the experience of an enterprise employee or customer through a mobile application?
What strategies should we adopt to ensure high job productivity in a mobile workforce?
Leveraging Mobility on Cloud
A 2011 report indicated a rising trend of enterprises adopting mobile-cloud implementations to enable enterprise mobility (7). While several companies are already adopting hosted applications to bring their enterprise to the cloud, they are also seeking the business benefits of going mobile with cloud.
New cloud-based technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and application virtualization are paving the way for mobility. These technologies are generating significant attention as businesses seek to create key use-cases for cloud adoption. Mobile-Cloud use-cases are important when we consider that over 240 million businesses will use cloud services through mobile devices by 2015 (8).
For an enterprise to become truly mobile, they need to abstract all their applications, mould them into services and deliver them through virtual desktops or as applications on mobile devices. This requires recruiting new talent and using architecture that can develop mobile applications for Android, iOS, Blackberry, etc.
Such a process can be complex owing to the need for seamless integration of business with IT to ensure end-business productivity.
Cloud can simplify this process by provisioning infrastructure to support your enterprise and mobile applications and make them available through the popular ‘App Store’ concept. Cloud also helps technology departments to mould business platforms into services that can be deployed as platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or mobile-as-a-service models. Application enhancements and continuous delivery through such models become seamless with high quality assurance capabilities.
Thus, cloud is the new frontier for organizations to drive business value and enhance RoI through business transformation. It provides a comprehensive value proposition for employees, partners and consumers to drive revenue and engagement. Enterprises should gear-up to empower a cohesive and mobile workforce that can engage with all stakeholders on-the-go, drive mobile commerce and build tomorrow’s enterprise.
The author is senior technology architect of Cloud at Infosys Limited.
1. IDC Press Release, May 2012
2. Our Mobile Planet, Global Smartphone Users, Google, February 2012
3. Nielson report, July 2012
4. Mobile Payment Market, Users Worldwide & Countries, March 2012
5. Mobile Commerce Forecast: 2011 to 2016, Forrester Research, June 2011
6. Infographic: Is Flexible Mobility the New Workplace Currency? November 2011
7. Mobile Cloud Demand Skyrocketing, November 2011
8. Mobile Cloud Computing a $5B opportunity, Jan 2010