Dan Bieler, Henry Dewing, Henning Dransfeld, Katyayan Gupta, Brownlee Thomas, and Michele Pelino
Vodafone hosted its annual global analyst event in London recently, and it was a good event. Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao kicked it off with a passionate endorsement of Vodafone’s enterprise ambitions. But will Vodafone’s market position as a leading mobile telco give it a tangible advantage in the broader enterprise global telecoms marketplace? We believe there is a good chance it will because:
Vodafone’s integrated pitch is credible. Vodafone comes up in nearly every conversation with Forrester enterprise clients that want to consolidate vendors for multicountry or “global” mobility services. Increasingly, our clients also are asking about Vodafone’s wired services. And those based in the UK and Germany are the most interested in learning about what’s available and what’s coming with respect to fixed-mobile bundling. Vodafone made a big play on fixed-mobile integration, most notably with the acquisitions of Cable & Wireless and Kabel Deutschland. Its network now covers 140 countries, 28 of which support MPLS networks for mobile backhaul. Vodafone also has big plans for refreshing and expanding its international IP backbone network to more than 60 countries.
As European IT departments increasingly grapple with rolling out mobile workplace services beyond classic device protection, the debate is turning to technology ROI calculations to justify investments. But the purpose of developing such a business case is highly questionable if it is not put into wider strategic context. Take bring-your-own-device (BYOD) as an example. Can you really measure hardware savings through self-provisioning against extra efforts in setting up and communicating a policy, monitoring behavior, implementing additional security measures, and the lack of business continuity support for devices not administered by IT? Even if you could stack up these positions, is it meaningful for your organization going forward?
On the other hand, the prospect of soft business gains is not enough to warrant investment in mobile technology. As highlighted in our recent report, The Expectation Gap Increases Between Business And IT Leaders, business leaders buy into value generated via mobile deployments and integration with social media. But they have less comprehension of the supporting infrastructure upgrades needed in terms of technology innovation or higher bandwidth requirements.
A mobile strategy must be top on the agenda for both IT and business leaders
What is really missing is a comprehensive and conscious deployment strategy linking the technology business case to strategic business objectives. European IT leaders are painfully aware of this and have such a mobile enterprise strategy firmly on their agenda:
Figure 1: How Important Are The Following Organizational Initiatives During The Next 12 Months?