Mobility, Executives, and the Blue Shiny Object

At a recent ASUG chapter meeting, I provided a briefing on executive stakeholder enablement for mobility solutions.  My talk was unique in that I didn’t go through the technology stack or whether MDM versus MAM was the best mobility design approach.  Rather my focus was shifted to executives and what is going on in their world and – more importantly – how it effects planned systems transformation efforts for next year.

Not surprisingly there is a lot of “big shitake mushroom stuff”  going on in the C-suite as we head into earnings season and planning for 20-12.  Several trends we are seeing include a reluctance for executives to get “their fingers dirty” in systems work or records in corporate performance.  What? How can this be? There are several years of Sarbanes-Oxley behind us so corporate transparency is top of mind, right?  Well of course, and executives are smart enough to know that when push comes to shove they may indeed be privy and responsible for governance.  But some sure as hell aren’t going to commit it in writing.  That’s what their directors are hired to do.

Combine this and compelling business uncertainties – regulatory, public policy, economic, supply chain crisis management (remember that tsunami earlier in the year?) – and you have a real reluctance  on the part of many executives to engage in real leadership that drives real performance improvements and innovation in the organization.  Enter the blue shiny object, the advent of mobility.  Halleluia.

While I am being quite glib, mobility is proving to be the on-ramp for many corporate transformation programs.  In our unscientific review of several large systems transformation efforts on the drawing table for 20-12, Newport Consulting estimates that efforts which include a mobility extension as a component of the transformation roadmap will receive a 50% higher approval consideration from management.  The general consensus at the recent ASUG meeting suggested that this could occur at a minimum 1-2% marginal project cost in terms of time and budget.*  Of course you can always go “deeper and broader” but that’s the threshold given the rapid nature of mobile app development in this mobility 2.0 world.

Executives are very receptive to this idea.  Mobility extensions allow a quasi-hands off role, approving basic workflow requests and committing comment rather than specific information into systems of record using tablets and smart phones.  It’s cool, it’s convenient, it’s transparent, while at the same time being arm’s-length distant from one’s fingertips.  The perfect approach for the perfect time particularly in light of reports earlier this year that the confidence level of most IT related initiatives was eroding dramatically inside organizations.

This is compelling information not only for IT folks but for business process owners.  The productivity gains, cool factor, transparency and control for executive use and buy-in means that any good program manager needs to embrace the blue shiny object if they want their programs to be funded moving into the coming year.  And as we discussed at the ASUG meeting, if you don’t get the positioning of your transformation program right, the technology and benefits really don’t matter.

*Based on an established mobile application environment already in place, incremental project costs only for a simple workflow app set on an average transformation effort of $1-2m. Rough order magnitude estimate. For more information on how to structure your introduction of mobility into your organization contact our firm at 


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Filed under Change Management and Leadership, Information Technology, Innovation, Mobile Society, Operations, Strategy, Technology

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