The natural path of the bring-your-own-device craze seems to be widespread acceptance, followed by regulation, and finally integration into a profitability strategy. The question is, at what level should a company govern the usage of personal, mobile devices? For many, the answer will seem obvious: delegate the responsibility to IT, placing the management of mobile devices under the umbrella of the CIO. However, given the unique problems and individual attention that these devices require, some businesses have considered taking it a step further, resulting in a new C-level title: the CMO, or “Chief Mobility Officer.”
Of course, the role of the CMO goes beyond simply regulating the use of personal devices. The CMO must also manage all aspects of connectivity, which is a growing concern for an increasingly mobile world. Randall De Lorenzo, Chief Mobility Officer for telecom expense management provider Xigo, believes that the biggest concern for CMO’s is staying connected within the organization and externally to clients or prospects. “It is a mistake for organizations to think of mobility as a silo apart from the remainder of the enterprise network. A Chief Mobility Officer is most effective in his/her role when they think of mobility as one facet of an entire network. Chief Mobility Officers should support applications, with mobility devices and services as the ‘last mile’ between the end-user and the enterprise.”
Chief Mobility Officers aren’t just for innovative industries like software and tech; traditional industries have found a need for the position, as well. Spanish bank BBVA hired a CMO in an effort to focus on mobility and connectivity as their key values. They hope to offer access for both employees and clients anywhere in the world. BBVA’s CMO Luis Uguina was quoted recently as saying, “One of the main of parts of my job is to ensure that there is global connectivity. And we’re a big bank.” In a world that is getting smaller by the day, such strategies can offer a leg up on the competition in industries that generally adhere to more traditional techniques.
The need for a CMO is not universally recognized, however. John Pavley, CTO for Huffpost Live, argues that companies do not need a CMO. Rather, mobile strategies should fall under the jurisdiction of a company’s head of technology. He feels that structuring in this way allows for synchronization of mobile devices with desktop experiences.
Regardless of opinion on the necessity of the CMO, the fact that the position exists indicates that more and more companies are taking mobile strategies very seriously. In a world where people often carry their social and business lives in their pocket, it would be foolish not to.