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Mobility brings changing roles for CIOs, workers and businesses

Tom Kaneshige | Sept. 12, 2013
Mobility in the enterprise is on the move. What's the future look like? BYODers might have to fork out more cash, businesses must turn into mobile tech experts, and CIOs will take on a new role.

Mobility is on the verge of breaking out in the enterprise, a mega-shift wrought with great opportunities and big challenges that will forever change the face of companies, IT departments, employees and customer relationships.

At least this is the feeling among many attendees and speakers at AirWatch Connect's customer event in Atlanta this week. Traditional businesses will become mobile app developers. CIOs will take on the roles of mobile architects and integrators. And customers will communicate with companies in a new and mobile way.

BYOD: Employees on the Hook
For employees who bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, there's no question mobility in the enterprise will soon hit their wallets hard. In other words, the bill for the convenience of being able to use your own smartphone for personal and work-related purposes will come due.

By 2015, most companies will adopt mandatory BYOD programs for many workers, says Bryan Taylor, research director at Gartner, speaking to some 1,000 attendees at AirWatch Connect. This means employees will have to fork out hundreds of dollars for a smartphone and maybe a tablet or PC merely as a condition of employment.

Today, many BYODers receive $40 monthly as reimbursement for their smartphones, but this amount will be reduced by 30 percent by 2016. Even worse, most employees won't receive any reimbursement, Taylor says.

If this sounds outrageous and unprecedented, it's not. Companies used to reimburse employees for their home Internet connection, but now it's a rarity for a company to do so. BYOD reimbursement may go down the same path.

"The mobile trend is unstoppable. An organization can't afford for the CIO's role to be sidelined."" —Aberdeen Group's Andrew Borg >

However, companies won't stand to gain huge cost savings from these mandates and reimbursement savings. Gartner predicts that the typical organization will spend more than $300 per employee annually for mobile applications, security, management and support.

Changing Role of the CIO
CIOs have been outcasts in the enterprise mobility movement. Here's a jaw-dropping stat from Aberdeen Group: When it comes to mobile software initiatives, IT's budget control decreased by 51 percent year over year, whereas the CEO's budget influence increased by 64 percent and line-of-business manager's by 69 percent.

This has led to an explosion of shadow mobile IT throughout an organization. There's no question IT is losing control of its own infrastructure.

For CIOs, though, the good news is that companies are starting to realize that their mobility strategy is too important to be left to a grassroots movement with tech-neophyte decision makers often swayed by a slick PowerPoint presentation from a tech vendor.

Companies need the CIO more than ever, says Aberdeen Group's Andrew Borg. The CIO's job is to look ahead and protect the tech investment over the long haul. This means the CIO will need to architect a mobile strategy and tactically pull together and integrate the many shadow mobile tech within the company, in order to wring out mobile workforce efficiencies and cost savings.


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