Mobility is becoming core to every industry

Written by Naresh Nagarajan | Updated: Sep 3 2012, 08:51am hrs
Numbers speak phenomenally impressive about the Indian IT and IT-enabled services sector$101 billion in revenues, close to 5,000 companies, 2.8 million employees, and 7.5% contribution to the countrys gross domestic product (GDP). Three key waves have taken the IT industry from strength to strength in the paststarting with fixing the code (Y2K), to developing the code (software revolution) to now decoding the business impact of IT (total IT outsourcing).

Fast forward to 2012 and most of these generational services are increasingly getting commoditised as Run the Business. The traditional IT services model of building and maintaining applications and IT infrastructure by hiring army of coders has long become obsolete. In the new normal of constant global uncertainity where budgets follow macro environment, the need to move into higher-margin projects that help clients' businesses grow is the new ask from the top management, investors and CIOs alike. This is forcing the IT service players to deliver services that are transformational in nature and have a direct impact on clients revenue. Four mega trendssocial, mobility, analytics and cloud, are changing the landscape in unprecedented ways.

Mobility is the first touch point in this disruptive ecosystem that is completely transforming the front office. The term mobile technology means technology that allows people to move beyond the constraints of fixed computers and wired networks in order to access company applications and data on demand, on-the-go and know of significant business events as they occur. In the industry parlance, mobility is defining the Change the Business services set that directly impacts customer life cycle right from acquisition to retention, customer behaviour and experience. Game-changing mobility technology promises to revolutionise business in the future. It is no wonder then that mobility is ranked as the second most-important CIO technology priority for 2012, as per a recent Gartner study.

The technology is ushering some worthy business advantages in circles across business-to-business (B2B), business-to-employee (B2E) and business-to-consumer (B2C).

B2B: Tectonic shifts in business landscape and regulatory needs have exerted a pressure on some leading industry sectors to harness mobility-led advantages. We are seeing front office transformations across sectors like pharmaceuticals, automotive, chemicals, energy & utilities, insurance. For instance, in the utilities vertical, business realities like need for lower cost of energy, predictive mining of consumer and usage data in utilities for smart grid management are making a loud call to the players to exploit the mobile technology. Similarly in the insurance industry, complex regulatory requirements and increased income ratios are forcing insurance companies to virtualise their traditional last mile sales channel using multi-channel technologies served by back-end predictive analytics. Here end-to-end services with analytics and running virtualised KPO for sales campaign are emergent themes.

B2E: The consumerisation of IT has not only led to the proliferation of mobile device usage at work for round-the-clock connectivity, it has also uncovered its potential as a significant enterprise productivity enhancement tool. Many corporates have launched productivity apps for their employees. With the widespread adoption of mobile devices, combined with a growing number of employees who prefer using them, companies are moving to trends likeBring Your Own Device (BYOD). Businesses could save huge moneys by adopting this trend, but they must then find secure, efficient ways to let employees and guests gain access to the corporate network, while guarding data and applications.

B2C: Technology is unarguably rewriting the rules of competition in the B2C circle by creating disruptive business models and bringing a paradigm change in the customer experience. Companies are working toward creating a uniform customer delight across all customer touch-points. BFSI industry has been an early adaptor of the mobile technology and is gaining immensely from it. It is undergoing a drastic transition to new ways of attracting, acquiring, and engaging customers. The boundaries between personal banking, retail banking, and business banking have diminished and the industry is moving toward a future in which most touch points of the customer experience will most likely be channelled through a mobile device. Similarly, retail and consumer packaged goods are witnessing disruptions due to rapid adoption of mobile devices.

The importance of social listening and analytics combined with structured know your customer parameters is helping companies in these domains to relook at their business models and redefine their business lines. Amazon, for instance, ensures that the customer behaviour analysis gathered by mobility-led-platform enables it to convert a first-time customer to an engaged one by linking his click intelligence to new product launches and pages.

Most often mobility initiatives stop at providing a nice app but this is a fraction of the actual set of initiatives that is needed to create a connected customer experience. With the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices amongst consumers, mobile technology is pegged to be the game-changer for companies to thrive in times to come. Therefore, service providers must capitalise on this trend to deliver truly transformational work to their customers and be partners-of-choice. We will see emerging technologies, such as mobility enable companies to create differential advantage to maximise customer delight. Let me conclude by sharing Gartners perspective on these new betsMobile computing is disruptive on its own. Taken in combination with social, cloud, and information, a revolution is afoot.

The writer is SVP & headEcosystem Business Incubation, HCL Technologies