Growing mobile

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Philip Grosch
National Leader, Technology Consulting
"The mobile platform makes it easy to get input and insight from your customers."

The 2012 “Our Mobile Planet” research shows that the mobile movement is a global one. In fact, it’s increasingly the central way people connect, stay informed, keep entertained, shop and navigate.

PwC’s recent webinar, “Embracing the Cloud”, revealed that Canada’s private company leaders are starting to understand the power of mobile. When asked if they had considered digital mobility as part of their technology strategy, 61% said yes. Of those respondents, 30% were using mobile to achieve internal efficiencies, 13% were using it to meet external customer demands and 57% were using mobile to achieve both outcomes.

There are two pieces to an effective digital strategy. The first is cloud computing, which essentially allows you to get access to infrastructure, applications and a development platform as a service, when you need it and at a price you can afford. The second piece is mobile and taking that capability afforded by the cloud to the next level.

“Mobile allows you to enable and empower your workers, as well as drive a better experience for your customers,” says Philip Grosch, partner, national technology consulting leader, PwC. “Today, information and capability is available to you on a much more powerful device that is with you all the time. So when you get a question or opportunity, you can respond instantaneously, which drives a greater employee and customer experience. There is an efficiency element to it. But there is also an opportunity to drive revenue because by being more responsive you differentiate yourself from the competition.”

At the same time, innovation is possible in this new landscape because the technology is so accessible and private companies have the ability to test what-if scenarios. “The mobile platform makes it easy to get input and insight from your customers and build new businesses or channels within an existing business,” says Grosch. The evolution of technology is taking place at such a rapid rate that the sooner you initiate a digital mobile strategy, the better. You begin to learn and understand how to apply the strategy to your business, manage the process and drive value. “A year from now, the capabilities will be significantly greater. You don’t want to be left behind,” says Grosch.

Getting started:

  • Begin in an area where there is a viable business case. The outcome of your first step into mobile should be something you can measure. Whether it’s improved efficiency, revenue or customer satisfaction you need to be able to assess the impact mobile has.
  • Start small. Use the innovation and experiment to your advantage and recognize that a move into mobile is a rapid, iterative process. Perform multiple experiments to help you decide whether or not it will help you drive value.
  • Be technology agnostic. “Because of the nature of mobile devices and platforms, they are almost disposable,” says Michael Kolm, director, Canada IT Outsourcing leader, Consulting & Deals. “Consumers make very quick decisions about what they are going to use, so you have to formulate your strategy in such a way that you are not investing too heavily in one platform or another.” You want to be able to leverage better innovations that come along—and they will.
  • Understand the risks. Data security is a key component of any technology strategy. Educate yourself around what the real risks are, the capabilities that are available and then go through what data is going to reside where. Security comes down to where the data is. “If you have data that is supremely confidential and private, make sure you put appropriate security controls in place,” says Grosch. “In some situations, that data doesn’t have to reside on the mobile device at all. Instead, it can be accessed from the cloud. You have the ability to go through the firewall and access the data via a mobile browser. If the device gets lost, the data is still safe in the cloud. However, if sensitive information is on the device, smartphone makers are continuously evolving to ensure the proper security measures are put in place. For example, Blackberry specifically built its business on security and has the ability to manage its devices so that if a customer loses one of its smartphones, the data can be wiped remotely.”
  • Tap the knowledge of your younger employees. Technology is second nature to younger employees, says Grosch. They grew up with it and they are a great resource both in terms of what’s available and how you can use it. “There are so many new innovations coming out it’s hard to keep track. Younger employees have a broad knowledge of what’s available as well as the pros and cons of a given technology.”

The key is to start now and test the capabilities already available or risk being left behind. “Mobile technology is an enabler. It means that even smaller players with limited resources can access power and capability that even five years ago was only available to much larger, wealthier organizations,” says Grosch. “It means you can think as innovatively as you want knowing that the technology is available to support these ideas. Going forward, we will see greater and greater processing power, which will result in increased analytical capability to turn this data into intelligent insight. This will be the next wave.” Can you afford to miss it?

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Let's Talk is part of our PwC Private Business Exchange program — a dynamic, interactive community of private business owners and executives. To read all articles in the Let's Talk series, please follow the links below:

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Driving growth with your supply chain
Advancing the growth agenda
Making strategic planning real
Connecting With Social Media
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The 21-Year Rule is Taxing on Family Trusts
U.S. Estate Tax Laws: What you need to know
Embracing the Power of the Cloud
Internal Controls
Building Value
Fighting Fraud
Five Steps to a Greener Business
Freezing Your Estate
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Risk Management
Dealing with Your Banker