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Mobile Business moving Enterprises towards Digital Transformation

Author: Bernd Schopp, COO, Namics AG

As mobile is changing the world and our everyday life, enterprises still show a lack of transformation will. Accompanying our clients in their digital transformation we observed that the digital transformation maturity was growing in waves pushed by different digital enablers. On the other hand we have seen how mobile enterprise solutions are catalyzing these enablers.

In my presentation you will find a bunch of examples how mobile catalyzes the digital transformation maturity of enterprises. In this post I want to share the underlying observations.

Transformative Power of Mobile

When I used my first mobile phone back in 1996, one was not able to foresee the transformative power of something like a smartphone. Only a decade later the real smartphone was born: The iPhone with its addictive user interaction pattern. Always personal, always touchy, always on.

The Economist published a recent study that today about half the adult population owns a smartphone; by 2020 it will be 80%. And 80% of smartphone-owners check messages, news or services within 15 minutes after waking up in the morning. Sounds familiar? What about this: 10% of smartphone-owners admit having used their mobile device during sex.

The transformative power of smartphones comes from their size and connectivity (Economist).  But today the smartphones have become just one puzzle piece in a connected world. Of course a crucial one, but just one of many other connected devices that allow us to create a lot of new products, services and business models.

So looking on enterprises, we see a transformative impact pushed by end-consumer technology and user behavior that forces enterprises to continuously advance. B2B customers expect a B2C customer experience and employees expect a customer-like user experience of enterprise tools, and so on.

4 Levels of Digital Transformation Maturity

Digital Transformation Maturity of course increases with the technology capabilities of an enterprise. We observed over the last couple of years that the digital transformation maturity increased in waves with different focus and enablers:

  1. Initially the focus was on optimizing content processes and communication capabilities (Communication Driven).
  2. A second wave was the digitization of individual business functions (Feature Driven).
  3. In a third wave we have seen the digitization of entire business processes across all business functions (Integration Driven)
  4. The highest maturity level is the innovation of business models based on fundamental transformative technology (Contextualization Driven).

Each of these levels can be catalyzed by the means of mobile devices. Mobile devices are “by nature” communication, feature, integration and contextualization driven.

1st Level: Content Quality and Communication Cost

The enabler of the 1st Level is the penetration of affordable touch screen mobile devices and broadband Internet connectivity. We see nowadays a penetration of 50% of mobile devices worldwide, which is even higher than the penetration of Internet usage.

The ability to distribute, store and enrich the content with interactive functionality, allows the reduction of distribution costs, faster preparation time and personalized presentation of various contents for sales or service staff. It can also be claimed as content efficiency. Content and communication processes, social media and CDNs, etc. are the means of this level. (See ABB example in the presentation)

2nd Level: Mobilized Business Functions

The enabler of this level is the usage of particular functionalities and calculation power of mobile devices in order to support business functions is especially attractive in mobile customer contact. E.g. service staff, financial consultants, sales persons, etc. are able to create a state-of-the-art customer communication experience.

What we have seen the most is, that mobile functionality allows us to create a proximity to the communication counterpart by changing from a one-dimensional frontal communication to a co-operative dialogue. (See UBS example in the presentation)

Basically this was achieved because a mobile tablet is a collaborative “on the table” tool. But looking e.g. at the FIAT Live Store in Brazil there are many other mobile tools, that allow to create proximity to the customer and support the sales and services processes.

3rd Level: Mobile Integration pushes Transaction Efficiency

The third level of Digital Transformation is clearly fueled by the integration capabilities on top of digital platforms. In order to support entire transactions on digital devices integration into backend systems as CRM, ERP or PIM is necessary.  (See Viessmann example in the presentation)

On the other hand, the digital transaction must be performed in direct contact with the customer. Here is it where Mobile Apps came in.  Mobile Devices drive the transaction efficiency by becoming a transaction platform for sales and service staff. Getting the CRM, Product and ERP Data on the mobile devices and being able to transact together with the customer, boosts especially B2B sales and service processes.

4th Level: Connected Apps enable Business Model Innovation

The 4th Level is all about connected things. With connected things, many intermediary functions will be eliminated and therefore new products, services and entire business models can be created.

The core driver of changing business models is the change in value creation for a certain customer need based on digitization/automation of intermediary functions. Mobile devices foster this change by connecting time, location and other contextual information.

In other words: Connected Apps and the Internet of things are bridging product to customers. (See Viessmann example in the presentation)

The more the communication of contextual information takes place between “things”, the more intermediary functions and processes will be eliminated. Reaching the highest level of digital transformation maturity requires managing the architecture of connected apps and the Internet of Things.

Managing the Connectivity Spider.

Concluding we can say that on the path to Digital Transformation Maturity you have to overcome maturity steps, which can be facilitated by mobile enterprise solutions and by considering a few crucial basic rules:

  1. Without the end customer journey in mind you will not overcome level 2 – the functional level.
  2. With efficiency measure you will reach (just) level 3 – the transaction efficiency level.
  3. For reaching level 4 – the connectivity level – you need to rethink your customer journey from scratch in order to understand the transformative power of connected mobile apps in your enterprise.
  4. And last but not least for level 4 you need to be able to manage IT innovation processes. Connected Apps and the Internet of Things require an agile adaption process. 

Special thanks to Farnoush Pourebrahim, Jens Reufsteck, Markus Groiss, Matthias Fehske and Stephanie Ruf for challenging the observations and bringing a minimum level of order into it.


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