Meet the ‘mobile strategist’ – 75% of businesses now have one, but are CIOs on the same page?

As mobile becomes ubiquitous in today’s enterprise – via apps, BYOD and the Internet of Things – 75% of companies have created roles to unify, manage and deploy mobile strategy across the organisation.

These new mobile-focused professionals are busy creating the overall mobile strategy, defining the mobile app dev and deployment platform, and measuring mobile’s impact and results.

A recent independent study, commissioned by Kinvey, reveals findings about the nature of this new role and how it fits into the enterprise.

While every organisation varies slightly when it comes to the specific role and tasks of the ‘mobile strategist’, the research demonstrates that the majority of businesses focus on strategy, measurement, and development. 

Almost half (47%) of organisations report the role is to create the overall mobile strategy, 40% to focus on measuring mobile’s impact and results, and 39% to create a development platform.

In the modern enterprise, mobile often plays many different roles and supports a variety of functions across the organisation. When it comes to the mobile strategist role, however, the goals for mobile are simple: drive business impact.

Specifically, 76% cite their goal for mobile is to engage customers wherever they are, 75% are looking to create new revenue paths, and 72% aim to reduce overall operating costs.

The research reveals a significant disconnect between the mobile strategist and the CIO. This is not surprising given that 53% of the new mobile professionals report to the CTO’s office instead of the CIO’s office.

These findings support the new trend towards ‘bimodal IT’, combining the agility required by lines of business to deliver apps with new capabilities quickly with IT’s need to deliver rock-solid, secure, consistent and reliable enterprise services.

While the mobile strategist and CIO have their own roles and responsibilities, they are both important in driving the organisation’s mobile agenda forward. But, today’s mobile strategists don’t always feel they are on the same page with the CIO.

Nearly 20% say the CIO doesn’t understand what it takes to develop an effective mobile strategy. While 81% believe the work closes the mobile strategist, less than half (47%) mobile strategists fell the same way.

When it comes to the reasons for not having a formal mobile strategy, 37% of mobile strategists cite it’s because decision-makers cannot agree, while 45% of CIOs claim this to be a problem; and 30% of mobile strategists claim to run their mobile campaigns and projects separately, while 61% of CIOs cite this as an issue.

When taking stock across the industry of how others are leveraging mobile, only 22% of mobile strategists feel their organisation is ahead of the curve. While the findings suggest there is still room for improvement within many enterprises, 58% feel they are at least on par as compared to others, suggesting mobile progress is being made when this new role is in place.

“When it comes to developing and deploying a mobile strategy, it’s critical for all key players to be on the same page,” said Sravish Sridhar, founder and CEO of Kinvey. “The result of having an overarching plan for enterprise mobility is reduced costs, less redundancy and improved efficiency. It will be important as mobile becomes even more ubiquitous that CIOs, mobile strategists and other executives are all working towards the same goals.

“While there will always be improvements and tweaks to be made, ultimately it is a great sign for the future of mobility that enterprises are creating positions focused specifically on driving mobile forward. The research shows companies are finally recognising the value mobile can deliver. One thing we can expect to see in 2015 and beyond is continued attention on specific ways enterprises can improve mobile processes, such as through more effective and efficient app development and deployment.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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