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Saul Berman, Vice President and Chief Strategist, IBM Global Business Services

Saul Berman, Vice President and Chief Strategist, IBM Global Business Services

By Saul Berman

About 90 percent of mobile gadget owners have their devices within arm’s reach, morning, noon, and night, underscoring the profound impact mobile technology is having on our world.

So far, consumers are propelling this mobile revolution. Companies, just as they did early on with the Internet, have largely underestimated how fundamentally mobile technology and the data it generates will transform business.

A new study by the IBM Institute for Business Value outlines how enterprises, though quick to adopt analytics as a competitive differentiator and eager to embrace mobile, have struggled with their full implimentations.

Around 84 percent of CIOs surveyed in IBM’s most recent C-Suite study rated mobile as a critical investment for getting closer to customers, while 94 percent of CMOs ranked mobile apps as crucial to their digital marketing plans. Yet most of the mobile applications they’re considering are for customers.

Stuck dishing up consumer apps and rolling out marketing campaigns, companies in most cases haven’t moved past the first wave of the mobile revolution.

But now it’s business’ turn to be transformed. Mobile and analytics are going to remake what it means to be a company and change how organizations connect not just with consumers, but with employees and partners. Helping organizations undertake these transformations is exactly why IBM recently teamed up with Apple.

Virginia Rometty, Chairman, President, CEO, IBM, and Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Virginia Rometty, Chairman, President, CEO, IBM, and Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Our study outlines how, by combining the power of analytics with the ubiquity of mobile, companies have the opportunity to serve up the right data, at the right place, based on the right context — all using an individual’s preferences and behavior. Businesses understand how powerful this capability is when it comes to reaching consumers. But it will also change the fabric of their organizations.

This combination of mobility and analytics will help employees and companies build new skills, work more closely and better together, and make smarter, data-driven decisions more quickly. Mobile and analytics will put the power of the collective intelligence of a corporation in the hands of every employee. Each employee will increasingly be empowered to make real time decisions.

A truly mobile enterprise is built upon mobile devices that are powered by analytics and that empower employees. Companies that organize their business and information systems to take advantage of what makes mobile unique — its ability to pull insight out of data, provide always-on connectivity,  and react on a dime — will transform their operations. They will unleash the full potential of their employees, create new business models, and ensure that customers get the products or services they need, when and where they need them.

For airlines, for instance, mobility will deepen relationships with passengers. Equipped with devices, flight attendants will offer real-time information and calibration of customer travel schedules, including re-booking flights mid-air. They’ll be able to tap into scheduling and other employee tools real time, improving their efficiency.

In this vision of the future, business processes will be reinvented with apps that are organized around specific tasks and that constantly combine the latest information from different sources. Employees won’t be limited any longer by knowledge, skills, or location. Instead, platforms and apps configured dynamically will let employees tap information or the expertise of other co-workers to help them make faster, better decisions.

For example, sales people in stores will have the insight they need to stay up with price-comparison shoppers. Up-to-date comparison pricing information coupled with inventory location and the data needed to make real-time offers will help in-store staff provide unique advice and competitive pricing and the ability to customize relevant individual offers.  At the same time it will analytics will enable them to improve where they focus their attention and their sales productivity.

Mobile and analytics. Together, these two powerful trends will change the way business gets done. They will create a foundation that companies will use to build truly disruptive enterprises. Collaborating together, IBM and Apple will provide the roadmap to help companies do just that.

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