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Aggressive mobility plans bring risks, but the rewards are high

Thor Olavsrud | March 11, 2013
Mobility is a top-of-mind concern for a majority of CIOs today. Companies that are proactively embracing mobility to transform their businesses are incurring much greater costs associated with mobility incidents, but they are also reaping significant rewards, according to a new study by Symantec.

Mobility is a top-of-mind concern for a majority of CIOs today. Companies that are proactively embracing mobility to transform their businesses are incurring much greater costs associated with mobility incidents, but they are also reaping significant rewards, according to a new study by Symantec.

"Few issues command the attention of IT today like mobility," says Francis deSouza, president of Products and Services at Symantec. "The difference in attitudes and results between the organizations that actively embrace mobility and those that are reluctant is significant. Organizations taking a proactive approach benefit much more than those that put it off until they eventually find themselves trying to catch up to the competition."

Symantec surveyed senior staff from 3,236 businesses in 29 countries for its 2013 State of Mobility Survey. Based on a series of questions on how the companies react to change and new technology, Symantec's researchers divided companies into innovators (businesses that are moving ahead full-steam when it comes to changes that have the potential to improve their operations) and traditionals (companies that are cautious, giving more weight to the risks associated with new technology).

"The tack we took this time was to attempt to understand how behavior is affecting results and adoption," says Brian Duckering, senior manager with the Enterprise Mobility Group at Symantec. "Traditionals are characterized by tending to view change as risk. They take a bit longer to move forward on things and adopt newer tech slowly. Innovators create their own change. The innovators tend to pursue mobility, while the traditionals really don't want to move toward mobility."

"This isn't a good or bad judgment," Duckering notes. "It's really about attitudes to risk aversion. I think traditionals tend to be from more regulated industries or older industries."

Innovators Cite Business Drivers as the Reason to Go Mobile

Overwhelmingly, innovators are pushing ahead with the adoption of mobility. Symantec found that 84 percent of innovators cite business drivers as the most important reason for pursuing mobility. Fifty percent more employees at these companies are using smartphones for business than among traditional organizations. Additionally, innovators are more likely to use mobile devices to run business apps, and 83 percent of these organizations are discussing deploying private app stores for their employees.

"The innovators are really looking for ways to take advantage of mobile technology," Duckering says. "They're asking: 'How do we be more responsive to customers? How do we do a better job for our employees? How do we attract new employees?'"

Traditional Organizations Adopt Mobility to Meet End-User Demand

Traditionals, on the other hand, are adopting mobility but in a more reactive fashion. Fifty-one percent of traditionals say end user demand is the most important reason for adopting mobility. They are adopting mobility, but at a slower pace. For instance, only 55 percent of traditional organizations are discussing deploying private app stores for employees.

 

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