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2 Mar, 2012

Impact of Mobility On Business Could Exceed That of The Internet, Accenture Survey Finds


NEW YORK; Feb. 27, 2012– Facing one of the most significant business challenges since the advent of the Internet, CIOs in emerging markets seeking to mobile-enable their enterprises are making mobility a higher priority and spending more money on achieving that goal than are their mature-market counterparts, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The global study, The Accenture 2012 CIO Mobility Survey, found that two-thirds (67 percent) of CIOs and other IT professionals believe mobility will impact their businesses as much as or more than the Internet did in the 1990s. The research also found that over two-thirds (69 percent) of IT professionals surveyed would allocate more than 20 percent of their discretionary budgets that are delivering mobility capability for their business this year – with a striking contrast between IT leaders in emerging markets (94 percent) and in mature markets (35 percent). Similarly, the survey found that 48 percent of respondents in emerging markets have an extensively developed mobile strategy, while only 12 percent of respondents in mature markets claimed to have extensively developed strategies.

Accenture conducted the global survey of CIOs and other C-Suite IT professionals, and a companion online survey of mobile application developers, to understand the current state of enterprise mobility by identifying the top priorities of IT professionals, the obstacles to achieving them and the challenges faced by application developers.

“A majority of CIOs now recognize mobility’s potential to transform their business, and we see that reflected in the increasing share of spend for mobility in their IT budgets,” said Dan Lauderback, global managing director – Accenture Mobility Services. “But we also see CIOs struggling with a proliferation of employee devices and employee-developed apps and many appear still in the discovery phase regarding the opportunities mobility presents. Mobility is not simply an extension of today’s legacy IT systems, it’s a completely new way of doing business. The companies that are focused on employee enablement, customer enablement and finding new avenues for commerce via mobility are in a class by themselves.”

The study also found a few areas of concern complicating the adoption of mobility by enterprises. Of note, security and cost led the list of IT professionals’ biggest concerns. Fifty percent cited security as the leading factor preventing them from addressing their mobile priorities; cost and budget ranked second (43 percent), while 26 percent cited either interoperability with current systems or a lack of understanding about the benefits of mobility. In addition, none of the most widely used smartphone operating systems received overwhelming security endorsements from app developers, but more than half (53 percent) said Apple’s iOS operating system had the best security, while Google’s Android operating system ranked second at 24 percent.

The results highlight the challenges created by the fragmentation of the market, including the large number of different mobile platforms and devices.  App developers rated this fragmentation among device platforms as particularly difficult to manage and monetize. For IT professionals, fragmentation complicates a company’s ability to accommodate one of the strongest trends in mobility – employees bringing their own devices to work and wanting to run office applications on them.

“Deciding whether and how to focus on employee applications or consumer applications is complex, but the overwhelming number of mobile devices complicates the choices even more,” said Lauderback. “CIOs must tackle these questions head-on as they justify the required mobile-related expenditures.”

In this frenetic market, IT professionals and application developers have various plans to generate revenue. In the enterprise arena, 42 percent of IT professionals indicated they want to improve field service or customer service delivery with instant access to corporate databases, relevant business data, and on-the-spot transaction processing. Application developers cited downloads (41 percent), in-app purchases (29 percent), traditional advertising (24 percent) and subscriptions (20 percent) as ways to monetize consumer applications.

The study also revealed some intriguing anomalies based on geography.  Far more IT professionals in emerging markets focus on mobility compared to those in mature markets. Ninety-three percent of Latin American and 81 percent of Asian IT professionals indicated mobility will provide significant new revenue. But only 66 percent of European and 56 percent of North American respondents agreed. Similarly, half of Mexican and Chinese respond­ents, as well as 40 percent and 32 percent of Indian and Brazilian respondents, respectively, strongly agreed that mobility will impact their business as much as or more than the 1990s Internet wave. But only one in five (20 percent) of both U.K. and U.S. respondents strongly concurred.

“We’ve seen this leapfrog effect in emerging markets before,” said Lars Kamp, strategy and corporate development lead at Accenture Mobility Services..  “Very often companies in these markets can start with a clean sheet of paper and simply deploy new technology.”

Accenture’s study concludes that IT professionals must craft a comprehensive strategy for enterprise mobility. In order to do so, Accenture recommends a multi-pronged approach that includes three key elements: technology, business requirements, and management.

“Companies need to develop a comprehensive list of the mobility projects they have underway and clarify associated goals; accelerate projects by standardizing them; and innovate to create competitive ad­vantages,” added Kamp.  “The rising penetration of smartphones and tablets is compressing IT innovation cycles for the enterprise to 12-18 months. Companies should review their mobile strategy every six to 12 months to ensure that they’re placing their bets on the right trends.”


In January 2012, Accenture conducted an online survey with 240 IT professionals (CIOs, CTOs, Directors of Technology or IT, and Chief Mobility Officers) across 23 industries in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. Half of those surveyed work for companies that generate between US$500 million and US$1 billion in annual revenues; the other half for companies between US$1 billion and US$5 billion. The January research also included an online survey of nearly 4,000 mobility application developers based in Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, and North America who create applications, products and services for employ­ees and enterprises, as well as consumers.