Truly disruptive technologies are rare. We’ve experienced desktop computing, the Internet, and now, of course, mobile computing. 

But if mobile’s power is so obvious, why are so many companies behind the ball? A recent survey by IBM and IDC of 360 IT, "Putting Mobile First: Best Practices of Mobile Technology Leaders," execs found that only 20% of their companies are taking an enterprise-wide approach to mobile. 

Spitting out a few shiny apps or encouraging employees to bring their own smart gadgets to work? Those are just tactics. A technology that’s redefining what business is demands a strategy. 

And not just one for IT, but for the entire organization, top to bottom. One that lays the foundation necessary to help your company adapt over time to the way mobile is transforming how your employees work, your customers interact with you, and your business gets done. 


For the cutting-edge adopters we spoke with, dubbed "Mobile Technology Leaders," making mobile is a top priority. They’re weaving it throughout the infrastructure of their operations. Nearly one-third of these companies’ employees already do at least part of their work over their mobile devices -- and almost half will be doing big portions in six months. These organizations have made the jump to using mobile to interact with customers, rather than just for productivity. 

The result? Mobile Technology Leaders say they’re outperforming their peers twice as often. They report much higher performance in key areas of service delivery, efficiency and business performance. 

What makes these companies different from the rest of the pack is that they’re taking a strategic approach to their planning, execution, and management of the mobile opportunity. They make sure to do the following: 

Plan: Pioneers map out their mobile development. They establish strategies and priorities. For instance, they’re crafting security policies at double the rate of other organizations, taking into account data backup and device monitoring. And they’re developing employee and customer apps five times faster than other companies, going well beyond the basics of mobile email and putting helpful services, such as mobile cash registers, at employees’ and customers’ fingertips.

For instance, in the airline industry, customers are gaining control over everyday tasks, checking in for flights using mobile passes and tickets. In healthcare, mobile apps now let patients share their medical records with doctors and other medical professionals. And chances are, many of those apps reside in a cloud. 

Integrate: Leaders meld mobile with their operations, rather than treating it as a one-off project. Well over a third of the Mobile Technology Leaders are integrating mobile apps with other systems, such as commerce, employee and customer collaboration offerings, and billing and payment services.

So the folks who work and do business with you can connect with each other and the organization when, where, and on whatever device they choose, making each and every interaction more convenient and efficient. 

Tailor: Cutting-edge companies tailor their networks and systems so that they provide safe, fast mobile connections. More than 40% are adding mobile security, compared with 17% of the other companies we surveyed. They’re improving their networks to support the higher, faster, more varied demands of mobile traffic, ensuring that customers and employees have instant, always available access to apps and data. 

Manage: Mobile-savvy organizations are actively involved in managing and monitoring their offerings and operations for security and efficiency. For instance, nearly a third manage the mobile devices their employees are bringing into work (the Bring Your Own Device trend or BYOD) compared with only 7% of other companies. They also work with external firms more than the other companies we spoke with: 86% believe outside partners help them better reach their mobile goals. 

Our mobile gadgets seem so everyday now that it’s easy to forget to think about how they’re remaking our economies and societies. But getting the most of disruptive technologies such as mobile means being deliberate and dogged about rethinking operations, redesigning the flow of work, and re-imagining how you connect with your customers.