Executive Summary: Capturing Business Value From Mass-Market Mobile Technologies

Published: 01 August 2011 ID: G00217353

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As mass-market mobile devices and their apps flood the enterprise, CIOs must figure out how to exploit them in innovation and business value creation. This entails a delicate balance: controlling the devices and their data yet freeing employees to use them productively.


The “consumerization” of IT with mobile devices and their ecosystem of applications—what this report calls “mass-market mobility”—has gone into overdrive. CIOs need to focus on how these devices drive innovation and create business value, carefully balancing device and data control with employee freedom.

The research for this report focused only on employee use of mass-market mobility, not on use by the end customer. Similarly, we focused only on new mass-market mobile devices such as media tablets (and their cloud-based ecosystem), not on traditional mobile devices such as laptops and netbooks.

This report addresses the question, How should CIOs position their enterprise to profit from the use of mass-market mobility?

“Capturing Business Value From Mass-Market Mobile Technologies” was written by members of the CIO & executive leadership research group, led by Andrew Rowsell-Jones (vice president), assisted by Nick Jones (vice president and Distinguished Analyst) and Monica Basso (vice president).

We would like to thank the many organizations and individuals that generously contributed their insights and experiences to the research, including:

  • The contributors to our interviews and case studies: Carles Abarca, Banco Sabadell (Spain); Silvia Re, Benetton (Italy); Wayne Marchant, Billabong (Australia); Chris Robinson, KPMG Australia; Warren Darragh, Powerlink (Australia); and Brian Franks, Purolator (Canada).

  • Other Gartner colleagues: Mike Kennedy, Carolina Milanesi, Brian Prentice, Robin Simpson and Yuet-Nan Wong.

  • Other members of the CIO & executive leadership research group: Heather Colella and Richard Hunter.

Executive Summary

The mass-market mobile devices that are flooding most enterprises were not designed with security and manageability in mind. Balancing control and freedom in their use by employees will maximize their value to the enterprise.

iPads, iPhones, Android media tablets, BlackBerry PlayBooks, Windows Mobile 7 devices, Dropbox, Facebook, gmail, Socialcast—the list of mass-market mobile devices and their supporting cloud-based apps appearing in the enterprise, or being demanded by employees, goes on and on.

However, the creative explosion and endless choices in “mass-market mobility”—our shorthand for mass-market mobile devices and their ecosystem of apps—create a problem for the CIO. Whether enterprise-initiated or employee-driven, mass-market mobility represents an opportunity for innovation and business process improvement. Yet if managed incorrectly, enterprise use of mobile devices increases data risks and costs. How then should a CIO position the enterprise to profit from mass-market mobility, rather than suffer from it?

Mass-market mobility is changing the game

Globally, more than 200 tablets and 250 smartphones have been announced for 2011. Many more devices and form factors will emerge to complicate things. To make matters worse for CIOs, mobile apps and services are as challenging as the devices themselves. New ways to communicate and collaborate come with new ways to lose data, trade secrets and private information. In short, enthusiasm for mobile deployments has far outpaced mobile security.

As the case studies in this report and the body of Gartner research show, CIOs need not be buried by mass-market mobility. Indeed, they can profit from it. This happens when CIOs know the answer to three critical questions for their enterprise: How is mass-market mobility creating enterprise value? What is the best balance of freedom and control? What package of policies and technologies delivers the mass-market mobility sweet spot? To help CIOs get the most benefit from mass-market mobility, we explore each question in depth (see figure below).

“The question is not whether media tablets are useful. They are. The question is whether your business processes can be adapted to using these new devices.”
Carles Abarca, CIO, Banco Sabadell

Figure 1. CIOs face three critical questions
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner.

How is mass-market mobility creating enterprise value?

The quest for profits from mass-market mobility starts with understanding where it creates the most value. Two active “buyer” groups are bringing mass-market mobility into the workplace. The enterprise welcomes the prospect of a better image, lower costs and less of the user resistance that accompanied older generations of technology, such as laptops. Employees seek to fulfill critical professional values as well as a host of personal values.

With these two independent drivers in play, a CIO needs a complementary enterprise/employee technology adoption process to harness the value of mass-market mobility. Coupling a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of actual mobile device usage with the Gartner STREET framework (scope, track, rank, evaluate, evangelize and transfer) will cover the bases.

What is the best balance of freedom and control?

The best outcome for the enterprise occurs with a highly collaborative decision process connecting enterprise value and mass-market mobile technologies, whereby IT accepts the greater ambiguity of employee-introduced solutions, and employees accept their role in risk management. This means that CIOs must relax control, allowing more enterprise data and transactions to connect with a device (albeit safely) while interfering minimally with employees’ freedom to use their own devices as they like.

To achieve this outcome, begin by grouping employees into three to six segments based on how much mobility and secure access to enterprise data they need. The Gartner managed-diversity model takes this approach (see “Use Managed Diversity to Support Endpoint Devices” in Further Reading).

“Balancing usability versus security is a difficult one. You really have to weigh that up.”
Chris Robinson, CIO, KPMG Australia

What package of policies and technologies delivers the mass-market mobility sweet spot?

Control mass-market mobile technologies via three mechanisms: management policies that govern how employees use the devices; operational policies that govern machine-level access and underpinning technologies; and management of a device’s life cycle (purchase, use, retirement and disposal). Finally, keep mass-market mobility in the sweet spot by reviewing and improving its management every six to 12 months, as technology and user needs evolve.

© 2011 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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