Around the world, mobile and Internet connected technologies have become even more integral to the way we live and do business than before the pandemic. For enterprises, this has presented both a challenge and an opportunity.
The challenge is to meet these changing customer expectations and adapt to an increasingly volatile socio-economic climate with the right technologies and the right customer experiences, at the same time as preparing for the future. Change and disruption also brings opportunity for those who can see mobility as an enabler, rather than an obstacle. In a recent SOTI Global Survey of enterprise leaders, more than two-thirds (67%) said the mobile technology their organisation had invested in had provided a positive return on investment (ROI).
But many organisations are finding themselves having to quickly adapt to the rise in mobile technology, and poor integration is destroying any benefits they might see. While more than half (57%) of enterprises have invested in mobile technology or mobile security in the last year, the ‘A Defining Year: State of Mobility 2021 Report’ found that 56% of enterprise leaders admit their technology is either only partially integrated or not at all which is holding their businesses back.
2021 has been a year of rapid change. A mobility revolution has driven business growth and become a necessity to business continuity in the face of lockdowns and social distancing. The GSMA predicts that mobile operators will invest $900 billion USD between 2020 and 2025 worldwide in upgrading their services to meet ballooning demand for mobile connections and technology.
SOTI’s global research sought to understand the impact of mobile technology over the last year as well as how organisations can position themselves at the forefront of the post-pandemic mobile revolution. 1,400 business leaders were interviewed from enterprises in eight countries across three continents, including the UK.
Thriving or Surviving?
The research discovered that more than three quarters (79%) of enterprise leaders agree their organisation’s C-Suite realises the importance of mobile tech much more now than before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating that it’s climbed up the boardroom agenda. This is an important initial step, as it’s impossible to initiate change without buy-in from the top.
Yet it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. More than half (56%) said that their organisation’s portfolio of mobile devices has grown but managing the increased number of devices is proving difficult, indicating these businesses might not have the right device management technology in place – or they have nothing at all.
In fact, many existing tools don’t adequately help organisations troubleshoot device issues or help to manage the devices. This leads to increased downtime, a loss in productivity and likely a loss in revenue as well.
Meanwhile, 45% say that their organisation is not using mobile technology to help it adjust well to the challenges of the post-pandemic marketplace. The challenge for these companies is to fully integrate mobile technology into their core workflows to capitalise on the technology’s potential to provide flexibility and intelligence across the whole enterprise.
The scope of this challenge is revealed in the answers given about aspirations and goals for the near future. More than two-thirds (68%) agree that their company needs better business intelligence to navigate future unforeseen issues. Two-thirds (67%) also think they need better tools to diagnose issues before they become a problem. Almost half (43%) would like to improve their ability to monitor data analytics.
Life Beyond the Pandemic
The pandemic, lockdown and subsequent changes in consumer behaviour have accelerated the digital transformation of business by up to six years. Businesses are now faced with the prospect of a post-pandemic marketplace that is more fluid, more digital, more dynamic and marked by a rise in consumer demands. Supply chain issues and staff shortages are causing the UK’s economic growth to slow, and there are no immediate signs that these problems are coming to an end. Now more than ever, we need the efficiency provided by properly integrated mobile technology.
The mobility revolution has scaled rapidly across all areas of businesses as they train for, adapt to, roll out and manage enterprise mobility. To prevent growing pains and ensure maximum uptime and productivity, as well as the best user experience, enterprises need to integrate and manage multiple form factors, operating systems and legacy systems.
This is echoed in the findings, with enterprise leaders saying their companies need the following, post-pandemic:
- Better data analytics, troubleshooting and issue resolution — 69%
- Better business intelligence to help navigate future unforeseen issues — 68%
- Better tools to diagnose issues before they become a problem — 67%
- Improved security and user authentication across all mobile devices — 67%
- Ways to better manage their expanded portfolio of mobile devices — 56%
Looking to the Future
In the immediate future, it looks like the recent pace of change for mobile technology will continue. Over the next 12 months, more than two-thirds (71%) of organisations are considering increasing their expenditure in mobile devices, systems and/or security, while more than half (56%) of organisations are considering increasing their expenditure on technology for better device and system integration and/or replacing legacy systems.
However, there are still significant efficiency and cost gains to be made by better integrating these technologies into workflows, employee practices and the customer experience. It’s vital that every organisation and every technology leader takes an urgent look at their mobile and internet connected technologies, to ensure they are not burning through any of the gains they could be making through poor integration.
In the transport and logistics industry, for example, recent SOTI research found that 46% of T&L companies with a mobile-first strategy say it has enabled them to gain visibility into critical aspects of their supply chain. However, those that have failed to invest in technology have struggled and 37% of T&L companies with outdated tech said they were prevented from sufficiently upscaling during the pandemic.
It’s important that any investment is considered and properly prepared for, rather than being a knee-jerk reaction. When decision-makers are in a rush to bring in new technology, they often fail to integrate the old and the new effectively. Every organisation will have legacy systems in place and the instinct should not be to simply discard or disown them in favour of something shiny and new.
At a time when enterprises are threatened with delays and disruptions, investment into resilience and innovation is vital, but having the care and consideration to integrate old and new mobility technology will become the key to business success.