Three examples of Mobile Business 2.0

See also: In pictures, 7 tablets for business

The 2012 CIO Agenda survey from analysts Gartner shows that mobile technology has moved rapidly up the CIO agenda and is now second only to analytics/business intelligence as a priority.

The latest statistics, plus common sense, explain why.

Smartphones and tablets continue to be the sales phenomenon of our age, eclipsing the relatively stagnant markets for PCs and laptops.

Worldwide, some 472 million smartphones were sold last year, with estimates that 46 per cent of the UK population now has a smartphone.

And as a result, people increasingly expect the IT they use at work to be as quick, easy, intuitive and mobile as it is at home.

Today's corporate IT rarely fulfills those expectations, sparking attitudes of resigned acceptance from older workers but increasingly vocal puzzlement and frustration from many younger ones.

In an article entitled Mobility ushers in a brave new world, my colleague Fernando Alvarez, who heads our mobile solutions global unit, expanded on this issue.

He wrote: "Organisations are increasingly recognising that with mobile users in the hundreds of millions, and mobile apps downloads in the tens of billions, today’s reality is that customers and employees expect to interact with them immediately, wherever they may be.

"As a result, the market for mobility services is one of the fastest growing in IT services. Smartphones, tablets and apps have embedded mobile technology firmly into our lives and this revolution is transforming the way we work and interact. Organisations everywhere must respond or risk being left behind."

Mobility is about supplying critical, real-time information to the right people and, of course, it presents a considerable challenge to the CIO.

It goes far beyond allowing employees to access corporate email from outside the office or offering a few business apps.

The first requirement must surely be an effective and credible mobile strategy, giving all involved a clear vision of aims, timescales and resources, and spanning all three technology layers:

- Device
- Application
- Infrastructure

The resulting plan must determine and prioritise what mobile applications are needed, how they will be deployed, hosted and supported, and how tools and services will be selected to enable mobile solutions for multiple platforms.

All of which might sound like a revolution. But it is an inescapable one, and one that is already happening rather than about to happen. Let's take a few examples.

1 Bristol City Council
We are currently working with the housing department at Bristol City Council to deploy an automated workforce management solution on mobile devices, so that field workers can receive and report information without delay.

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