I recently attended the Amdocs annual analyst relations event in Tel Aviv. Amdocs intends to live up to its paradigm “embrace challenge, experience success” by anticipating challenges and offering solutions to its client base. Some of these initiatives include:
Amdocs achieved progress on its mission to enable communication service providers moving up the chain. Amdocs is probably the most outspoken vendor in its loyalty to carriers. This is a strong pitch to retain the trusted advisor status in the domains of customer care and billing services — i.e., domains which operators regard as their core competence. Such trust is vital for the ambition to go deeper into joined go-to-market and transaction-based revenue share models. But the journey towards using business-outcome-based SLAs to reflect the rising influence of business leaders has just begun.
Amdocs is committing to improve customer experience. The vendor invests in its operations and solution capabilities to keep the portfolio aligned with the evolving needs of the carriers. Upgrades include the regional state of the art operations center for European carriers in Galilee and progress on packaging its tools as full B2B2C solutions. Additional enhancements come with the $120 million acquisition of Actix, allowing service providers to use geo location-based services.
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?
Last week I met with Fernando Alvarez, SVP for Mobile Solutions at Cap Gemini in Paris. We discussed the second wave for enterprise mobility (see my blog on “the mobile workplace – is your company ready to replace the PC?”) which has been held back by long sales cycles for mobile device management. Fernando stated that as an industry, “we have spent too much time wrestling with features and functionality of mobile device management. But this is just an enabling service for the productivity wave, no longer a value proposition in itself. Since we realized that prices would rapidly decline, we went ahead and commoditized this market. We want to move on to more crucial issues on the value chain.” He actually launched a very aggressively priced mobile device management service based on SAP Afaria and Amazon AWS for € 1 per month in May 2013.
The view that it is time to move beyond mobile device management and into innovative productivity scenarios is shared by Sven Lange, Vice President Partner Ecosystem & Expansion with SAP with whom I met a day earlier.
He mirrored the opinion of Fernando Alvarez. “Finally, we get over this mobile device management deployment hurdle. More customers are now actively exploiting real business grade alternatives to popular consumer services including SAP Mobile Documents instead of drop box. We have been waiting for this productive stage and it is here now. This is where we can help IT leaders to educate their business peers on the value of the sourcing decisions they make.”
Notes from the IQPC Enterprise Mobility Exchange 21-23rd May, 2013 in Rotterdam:
Last week I chaired, presented and discussed the future of mobility with suppliers and IT leaders at this year’s Enterprise Mobility Exchange. During the event professionals representing many leading European MNCs emphasized themes including best-in-breed customer experience and workforce productivity. IT leaders giving account of their current mobility deployments included BAT, Procter & Gamble, Enel, the National Grid and Lafarge.
Summary: IT departments of European MNCs clearly see the writing on the wall
European decision makers focus on the second wave beyond device management and communication services. They look to balance the response to fundamental trends together with the need to support necessary business requests. The winner won’t necessarily be the one who supports the most devices and the most applications. Successful mobile deployment happens when the IT side understands and caters for the specific needs of the business.
BYOD is no single answer to taking mobile enterprise into the second wave
The discussion on BYOD remains complex. Many participants voiced reservations due to European data protection laws, compliance issues and acceptance of purchasing plans. Interestingly, security issues came second to a more fundamental requirement in the energy sector: safety. Electricians are expected to be on call when power is down, construction workers are on roads, and operations dealing with gas, electricity and water must remain fool proof and protected against unauthorized access to avoid life threatening situations.
Mobile devices have cut the mustard as the first tool of choice against the PC. Despite their deficits, they are now poised to become the universal device many people will chose to work with. This trend, driven by end users, was predicted some time ago. But the displacement is happening faster than many anticipated and is now catching the PC manufacturers. One quarter of the world population already has a smartphone and Forrester expects this number to rise to over 40% in 2017*. And they have an impact on the business world. One third of business leaders expect that more than 75% of their employees use a smartphone regularly for work today, only 18% of them believe that the same is true for laptops**.
The latest quarterly figures of manufacturers also speak a clear language. Classic PC and laptop producers like HP, Fujitsu and Dell face restructuring, even Microsoft numbers are down. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics is generating € 6bn through consumer electronics, a large part of this is due to smartphones, in a single quarter. The numbers also suggest that Samsung is now challenging Apple in a two horse race. Between the two manufacturers, all three established mobile application platforms Android, Microsoft and i-Tunes are covered. But such developments could turn fast with new entrants. Remember, it’s not even a decade ago that Nokia was carefully observed by regulators for holding over 40% market share with mobile handsets. The likely scenario that smartphones and tablets take over is is posing challenges to many organisations. They need to embrace mobile devices as more than an extension for the classic desktop. Users will expect increasing capability to access corporate systems, UC, text and tabular programmes.