Mobile engagement is driving enterprise IT transformations
Ramunas Svarcas, Kelsey Mason
MAY 20, 2014 01:02 AM
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IEEE: Rock Stars of Mobile Cloud

Boston, May 6, 2014

Ramunas Svarcas, (, Professional Services Principal Analyst

Kelsey Mason, Research Analyst

Event Overview

As the IT market becomes increasingly cloud- and mobile-led, enterprises grapple with how to evolve their IT infrastructure while balancing the costs and challenges of transforming their IT strategies to conform to industry regulations.

The Rock Stars of Mobile Cloud conference, hosted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society, brought together a wide range of attendees including IT professionals, developers, customers and industry experts to discuss the overarching trends impacting the IT market with the growing demand for cloud and mobile. Industry veterans ("rockstars") representing a range of software and cloud companies took the stage to share their views on both the current and future states of the IT market as affected by cloud and mobile. One big challenge in the transformation of IT to the cloud delivery model was voiced by presenter Krishnan Subramanian, director of OpenShift strategy at Red Hat, who said that consumer technology is evolving at a faster pace than enterprise technology, and thus customers are no longer accepting of enterprises that are behind the curve of technology adoption.

Throughout the presentations, a few key challenges stood out for enterprises transforming their IT:

1)      How do enterprises address changing IT purchasing patterns in which outcomes are now more important to customers than point products?

2)      How do enterprises maintain security and privacy in a cloud and mobile world?

3)      How do enterprises use cloud and mobile to connect to customers?

Place Customer Goals and Use Cases at the Forefront of IT Innovation

Peter Coffee, VP of strategic research at, addressed the first challenge best: "The product today is not the technology; the product today is the outcome you achieve."

This statement reiterates a fundamental shift in the IT market as customers increasingly look to purchase outcomes over point products. Platform-neutral solutions that meet customer needs are quickly becoming a must-have as opposed to a luxury for IT purchasers. As Coffee pointed out, customers are loyal to services rather than devices and think of themselves as users of services (e.g., Twitter users or LinkedIn users) rather than platforms such as Mac or PC.

Kit Colbert, CTO of end-user computing at VMware, reiterated this shift in customer loyalty in his assertion that customers want a unified software experience across all devices. The key to satisfying consumers of mobile applications is one experience executed on any device. However, the challenge for IT departments lies in how to securely manage the increasing number of devices — both company-provided and customer-owned.

Approach Cloud and Mobile Security Breaches as Inevitable

According to TBR's cloud customer reports, security is the top concern for customers considering adopting cloud. During a panel discussion, George Reese, executive director and senior distinguished engineer at Dell Software; Carlo Cadet, VP of customer solutions at Perfecto Mobile; and Frank Ingari, CEO of NaviNet, debated the issue of security and privacy in cloud and mobile environments and how to most effectively manage these concerns. The general consensus was somewhat bleak: Security and privacy breaches are inevitable. Ingari noted that security breaches often occur in-house, while Cadet cautioned that, due to the abundance of social media, privacy is a concept of the past. When users post information into a social media network, they effectively give up their privacy. All panelists agreed that the best way to deal with the privacy and security concerns that surface as a result of cloud and mobile IT is to proactively manage the concern and minimize the risks associate with breaches. The alternative is to build larger firewalls, which still are inevitably penetrated, necessitating reactive fixes.

Engage with Customers the Same Way Customers Engage with Enterprises

Customers are becoming increasingly self-serving as they rely on social media and online comparisons to guide them to purchasing decisions. Customers rely less on salespeople to help them make these decisions and, as a result, companies struggle with how to remain connected to customers that aren't actively seeking their help.

Coffee described cloud as a medium of connection, with APIs as the shared language to connect machines, processes and people through cloud and mobile devices. In a world where mobile devices are the preferred means of contact for customers, keeping these customers' use cases and goals in mind when building APIs will help companies create conversations from new channels and spur proactive engagement. These new levels of engagement will help companies differentiate and create new revenue streams through IT.

Nick Brown, SVP of mobile strategy at SAP, echoed Coffee's sentiment toward customers. Brown pointed out that developers can get caught up in writing software for devices, rather than for customer use cases, which creates challenges as technology evolves. Customer engagement is critical pre- and post-purchase as, according to Brown, customers go through the majority of the buying process before coming in contact with sales, and many feel that companies are not trying to maintain their customers after the sale. TBR views the ability for companies to maintain engagement with customers post-purchase through mobile channels will be critical as the cloud market evolves and more companies engage customers through mobile devices.

Innovation in the Face of Regulation

Dr. John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) opened the conference with a presentation on the current state of IT at BIDMC. From his presentation, it was clear that BIDMC is on the leading edge of technology adoption and IT innovation. Halamka laid out BIDMC's four-part vision for its IT future:

1)      Replace the IT department with a Cloud Services department.

2)      Treat IT as an enabler, not a service provider.

3)      Adopt BYOD and BYOG (bring-your-own-Google Glass). BIDMC adopted Google Glass as an additional layer of security for viewing patient medical records. Glass was stripped of its Google software and replaced with proprietary software to meet security standards and healthcare regulations.

4)      Eliminate the desktop. BIDMC plans to phase out Windows-based systems, opting to use only iOS mobile devices.

TBR believes BIDMC will serve as a model for other healthcare organizations as they grapple with keeping up with evolving technology while remaining in compliance with industry regulations and privacy concerns.

The Cloud and Mobile IT Road Map

The final two presenters outlined the future of enterprise IT and the most effective way to manage and gain value from IT. As established throughout the conference, mobile interaction between customers and enterprises has grown significantly, and engagement through this medium will only continue to grow. Mobile applications change frequently and, as a result, enterprises need to be able to evolve just as quickly. Bernard Golden, VP of strategy at ActiveState, urged that cloud is now a necessity for enterprises operating in an increasingly mobile world. Golden laid out seven design patterns including resource redundancy and utilization management for enterprises adopting mobile and cloud IT environments.

Subramanian described the "modern enterprise" and how adoption of cloud can help enterprises become more agile and innovative by leveraging the increasing amount of data being generated as a result of mobile interaction, whether person to person, machine to machine or machine to person. As customers' interaction with companies through the mobile medium increases, the application stack will have to be efficiently developed and rapidly modified to accommodate changing customer perceptions and interactions.

TBR Perspective

The IT market is in a state of flux. Customers increasingly look to purchase outcomes over point products, and mobile interaction between enterprises and their customers is now the de facto way of engagement. Enterprises must provide customers with the same experience through a mobile device as they would through a desktop or face to face. When designing mobile applications, enterprises that keep customers' use cases in mind and use mobile applications will add the most value to their customer relationships. Moving forward, TBR believes enterprises should view cloud as a facilitator of better mobile interactions, as opposed to an endpoint in the transformation of their IT environments. Enterprises that constantly evolve and leverage their IT including mobile applications, cloud infrastructure and data to improve their customer service and interaction will differentiate themselves in their respective markets.

For more information about TBR's cloud portfolio, please visit

The IEEE will host Rock Star conferences on cybersecurity in Austin, Texas, in September and big data in San Jose, Calif., in October. For more information about these conferences visit

Technology Business Research, Inc. is a leading independent technology market research and consulting firm specializing in the business and financial analyses of hardware, software, professional services, telecom and enterprise network vendors, and operators.

Serving a global clientele, TBR provides timely and actionable market research and business intelligence in formats that are tailored to clients' needs. Our analysts are available to further address client-specific issues or information needs on an inquiry or proprietary consulting basis.

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©2014 Technology Business Research Inc. This report is based on information made available to the public by the vendor and other public sources. No representation is made that this information is accurate or complete. Technology Business Research will not be held liable or responsible for any decisions that are made based on this information. The information contained in this report and all other TBR products is not and should not be construed to be investment advice. TBR does not make any recommendations or provide any advice regarding the value, purchase, sale or retention of securities. This report is copyright-protected and supplied for the sole use of the recipient. Contact Technology Business Research, Inc. for permission to reproduce.

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