Decades ago, companies began naming chief executive officers to take on the primary leadership role. In the last several years, a slate of additional “chiefs” has been added to many organizations, including chief marketing officers, chief technology officers, chief information officers and more.
In the near future, a new chief may be adding his chair to the conference table. With the adoption of new work methodologies and the development of endless specialized apps, corporate America may soon need a chief mobility officer.
Of course, smaller companies may not need to take such a step. At organizations with fewer than a hundred employees, the IT department may be able to easily keep a handle on mobility using its traditional organizational structure.
But for larger enterprises, mobility issues can absolutely overwhelm existing IT personnel. What’s more, the current IT department may not fully understand – much less embrace – the trends toward increased mobility in everything from in-house applications to cloud computing.
Employees are streaming in the door every day with their own consumer wireless devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets. They are asking for more powerful mobile apps from their companies to increase productivity. Plus, the workplace is asking employees to travel, work from home, and be available to customers and co-workers around-the-clock. At the same time, customers are demanding faster access to information and jonesing for apps to help them manage their own purchases and accounts.
All of these trends point to the need for a mobility officer, manager or task force. By assigning responsibility for mobility to a person or group in the organization, a formal strategy and methodology can be put in place and managed over time.
But, like IT, the mobility officer cannot “own” mobility. Rather, this person should serve departments throughout the company, helping to facilitate the availability of apps, data and equipment needed by a mobile workforce.
Citing the recent explosion in mobile apps, research form Forrester Research, Inc., recently began leading the charge for a chief mobility officer to be introduced into the corporate hierarchy. In a report dubbed “Mobile App Internet Recasts the Software and Services Landscape,” Forrester said the growing and changing app market will take advantage of cloud-based services, smart computing, and newly app- and Internet-enabled devices, like cars, appliances and entertainment systems. Under the Forrester model, the chief mobility officer would manage apps that span the call center, customer service, marketing, e-commerce, and IT.
In 2010, apps on smartphones and tablets generated $1.7 billion worldwide, Forrester said. The company forecasted that this number will grow 82 percent each year through 2015.