Companies may need "chief mobility officer" to cope with enterprise app explosion

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A recent survey by Kelton Research (commissioned by Sybase) supports the view that mobile enterprise apps are poised to take off in 2011. The research highlighted that 90% of IT managers are planning to implement new mobile applications this year and nearly one in two believe that successfully managing mobile applications will top their list of priorities.

However, the already impressive growth of the mobile app market is only the beginning of a process that will blur the distinction between consumer and enterprise applications and increase pressure on companies to appoint someone responsible for managing applications across call centers, customer service, marketing, e-commerce and IT functions, according to analyst Forrester.

In its report Mobile App Internet Recasts The Software And Services Landscape, the research firm suggests that over the next five years the scale and scope of the app market will expand through ‘a new wave of innovation’ and that businesses will have to think about appointing a chief mobility officer to cope.

Forrester said the growing and changing app market would take advantage of cloud-based services, smart computing and newly app-enabled and internet-enabled devices. While it estimates that the revenue from paid apps on smart phones and tablets was $1.7 billion worldwide in 2010, the proliferation of ‘intelligence anywhere’ apps will result in a compound annual growth rate of 82% through to 2015.

The author of the report describes the market for helping enterprises build mobile apps for employees and customers and providing third-party services to manage the devices and apps as a $17 billion services opportunity.

Andy Zimmerman, global managing director, mobility services for Accenture agrees. He says that based on past experience, the first step in coming to grips with the implications of mobility will involve assigning someone to figure it all out.

“What companies will most likely require to meet the challenges of consumer-driven mobility is a chief mobility officer, someone who can serve as both advocate and advisor for all things mobile. This person would have end-to-end responsibility for the delivery of mobility solutions, which would entail working with the CIO in incorporating mobility into business processes and with the IT department to assure that mobility services meet enterprise standards for security, performance and accountability.”

Zimmerman envisages the chief mobility officer assuming the role of advocate for mobility within the organization, encouraging bottom-up initiatives driven by the needs of employees and customers.

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.