Four business realities that CIOs must face head-on if they are to create a competitive advantage from digital technology.
Modern CIOs are charged with finding innovative technology to help the business grow. Finding a partner to deliver such benefits can seem like an intractable challenge – and, even if you find a partner, hardware and software implementation will not be a straightforward process.
Apple is an innovative technology provider whose user-centric products and iOS can provide a platform for consumer-led business transformation. CIOs looking to introduce consumer technology are likely to encounter a number of realities. Here, we outline the means to overcoming hurdles as the CIO uses digital IT to create business benefits.
1. The reality: Devices define your digital success
The challenge Long gone are the days when a company was simply judged on its ability to produce widgets and sell products. Every business in the digital age must pay attention to its brand. Organisations are being deluged by data and the ability of employees to respond in a timely manner will define success.
The benefits The inexorable rise of digital communications means responsiveness is now core to organisational operations. Media and technology firms, for example, must make digital decisions quickly or risk being overtaken by nimbler competitors. CIOs in slower moving sectors might feel time is on their side, but they would be mistaken.
A manufacturing CIO that fails to embrace digital technology is just as likely to see his or her firm’s position undermined by fleet of foot competitors. The barriers to entry are lower in all sectors, as high quality technology becomes available on-demand and entrepreneurial individuals can establish a strong foothold in new markets.
Perception in the digital age is absolutely crucial. If you want to respond quickly to changing market conditions, give your workers devices to act with speed. If you want to react flexibly to changing customer demands, provide easy access to timely information. If you want to attract the best entrepreneurial talent to your business, give workers access to great devices and apps.
You cannot expect the digital generation to respond flexibly to customer demands via a traditional, locked down PC environment. Estimates suggests as many as nine in every ten employees now believe they have better access to technology at home than in the workplace. Your employees of tomorrow will demand flexible technology and are already using Apple handheld and portable devices. Follow their lead and embrace consumer IT.
2. The reality: Integration is now a business standard
The challenge The ability to purchase computing resources on demand means internal users are becoming increasingly keen to make their own IT buying decisions. CIOs that do not offer a platform for flexibility will be seen as a blocker to innovation, or even circumnavigated.
The benefits IT resources have grown alongside the rise of personal computing and online collaboration. But many businesses have simply spent too long buying too much kit. CIOs looking to help their organisation create a competitive edge in the digital era must strive for simplification and standardisation.
IT leaders can regain control by looking to make integration a business standard. Rather than simply adding more layers of technology, enterprise architecture in the digital age needs to be different. CIOs must pay attention to integration across every element of the stack, from the hardware and device down to the operating system and its apps.
The result of your approach should be an optimised user experience. Regardless of infrastructure, device or application, individuals should be able to manipulate information and make intelligent decisions on the go. The Apple iOS can help you drive integration as a business standard.
Apple are now known for their beautifully designed and well integrated products, and the weight of the Apple user base is testament to this. Apple iOS can work with what you already have and create a stronger, and more flexible, user experience.
3. The reality: BYOD means procurement is changing
The challenge Encouraging workers to use their own devices appears to some like a short cut to trouble. Letting employees use their preferred technology might be a way to embrace the digital agenda, but the potential costs – both in terms of system integration and potential data losses – are too much for some executives.
The benefits It doesn’t have to be that way. CIOs looking to create a strategy for BYOD have a number of possible avenues, including giving employees an open choice over which devices they use to hook into the network. CIOs requiring more structure could look towards implementing a digital allowance initiative.
Like in a company car scheme, workers with a digital allowance are given the opportunity to procure a device from an approved list of suppliers for an agreed amount of money. Another option for a BYOD strategy is shared ownership, where the company agrees to pay a specific amount towards a device and the employee pays the difference.
Such initiatives cover two bases: organisations can maintain some form of governance over device introduction; and workers are happy because they are supported in their attempts to purchase their preferred devices. Many individuals in such schemes choose Apple technology because the hardware is already familiar.
CIOs looking for help as they implement BYOD can turn to the specialist advice of Jigsaw24, who have already provided consultancy services to major firms such as Guardian News and Media. With a carefully honed approach to mobile data management (see feature in this issue), information can be kept secure and data loss fears kept in check.
4. The reality: Enterprise app stores are changing the role of IT
The challenge Gartner believes many organisations will be delivering mobile software to workers through private application stores by 2014. The analyst believes such enterprise app stores present a challenge to the CIO, shifting the role of the IT organisation from a centralised planner to a market manager that governs services for users.
The benefits The role of the CIO is changing. But smart IT leaders recognise the shift away from managing day-to-day operations provides an opportunity for CIOs to focus on innovation and to develop a digital strategy for the business. The enterprise app store is one such area. Get it right, and the result is a flexible platform that offers a high quality user experience for employees.
Great technology needs great software and CIOs can use Apple’s consumer technology to help increase productivity. Take built-in elements of iOS, such as iBooks, which allows organisations to circulate documents without huge printing costs. Or take iTunes, which supports training podcasts and allows firms to bring workers up-to-speed quickly and efficiently.
These standard iOS apps can be added to a broader enterprise app store that allows your workers to pick software on-demand to match business requirements. From customer relationship management to business intelligence, employees can tap into an application base from some of the major enterprise providers, including Salesforce, SAP, Citrix and Microsoft.
Applications, of course, do not just come from external providers. Jigsaw24 can work with your team as you create apps internally and help ensure software meets business needs. Such apps can then be listed in your own secure corporate app store.
To find out more about the consumer revolution and how we can help you meet the demands of changing IT, get in touch with us on 03332 409 219 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com.