By now most organisations have heard the message that a workable strategy for mobile technologies and data analytics - along with some combination of the two - holds great promise for improving their business. What's been lacking, however, is a more concrete playbook for unlocking the potential of these enterprise technologies.
IT service providers that have little trouble explaining the technical underpinnings of these complex offerings have nonetheless struggled to deliver a real business case that demonstrates how an analytics-driven mobile strategy can help their clients make better decisions, collaborate more efficiently, and innovate more effectively.
The shortcoming remains, though partners may be one step closer to delivering some real guidance on these emerging enterprise technologies, thanks to a new report from IBM which addresses mobility and analytics with real business-outcomes language to show how such strategies can help redefine organisations and change how work gets done.
The report, "The Individual Enterprise - How Mobility Redefines Business", developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value, kicks off with a premise that should encourage channel partners: IT decision makers are well aware of the promise mobile and analytics hold, but few have the foundation in place to capitalise on it.
The same group of decision-makers is also missing the soft target of data-driven analytics, IBM spokepeople said.
While 84 per cent of CIOs they spoke to say externally facing mobile solutions are critical for getting closer to customers and 94 per cent of chief marketing officers say mobile apps are crucial to their digital marketing plans, the real opportunity abounds internally.
This is where mobility and analytics can be combined to affect the way people work, collaborate and innovate.
"Most enterprise mobile use has been restricted to email, calendaring and instant messaging," said Saul Berman, vice president and chief strategist at IBM Global Business Services.
"Consider how combining mobile devices and cognitive analytics can completely transform how we work, industries operate and companies perform.
"Getting started with this new imperative requires leaders who can define what this journey will look like and champion a call to action."
At the heart of the report are several recommendations from Big Blue for building a solid mobile and analytics foundation with core components including:
Security that uses centralised device management to overcome fragmented device platforms that often crop up in the wake of BYOD initiatives.
Persistent connectivity that can support always-on mobile networks coupled with flexible architectures that can handle changing components.
System resiliency that takes into account failure and downtime and incorporates BCDR plans and polices that align to the new business strategy.
Orchestration which allows for rapid adaption and combination of applications and data streams in order to deliver flexible customised offerings on the fly.
Business intelligence for predictive and prescriptive fine-tuning of the entire mobile ecosystem based on data culled from the associated analytics assets.
With the mobility and data analytics foundation in place, IBM recommends five steps to advance the strategy including the development of road maps for employee and user interaction.
IBM bills these as "live experiments that can be improved and expanded upon based on employee experiences".
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