When it rains, it pours.

This week has been a busy one in the IBM MobileFirst arena, with two acquisitions plus a new market study out today. All of these are wind in the sails of activity heading into two key core events next week: IBM InterConnect in Singapore (where I will be), and Gartner IT Symposium.

The first acquisition, announced Tuesday, is The Now Factory of Dublin, Ireland. The Now Factory offers analytics tools for Communications Service Providers (CSPs, or typically, telecom companies), to understand the usage patterns of subscribers on mobile devices. CSPs can enhance the quality of service through these insights, driving actions that reduce network outages or performance issues. The technology may be specific to telecoms, but the concept is universal in the mobile space - how to use big data insights to drive a better experience. Our Tealeaf CX Mobile solution does that, too, in terms of end-user experiences on the device itself.

The second acquisition, announced today, is Xtify, Inc. Xtify's solution is clearly in the sweet spot of the IBM MobileFirst portfolio - a set of mobile messaging capabilities targeted at commerce and customer satisfaction. Xtify's cloud-based campaign management platform notifies mobile consumers when new content and promotions are available, leading to improved customer loyalty. Sephora, Disney Stores, The Tribune Group and 20th Century Fox among other clients are using Xtify’s push notifications delivered via mobile apps or sites to increase sales opportunities while fostering brand loyalty. My colleagues and I have taken to calling this kind of interaction "engaging the customer at the moment of awareness."

Published today, new research that IBM's Institute for Business Value endorses the importance of using mobile enterprise solutions for engaging the customer. After interviewing 630 organizations worldwide, the IBV study - “The 'Upwardly Mobile' Enterprise: Setting the strategic agenda” - found distinctions among mobile adoption leaders:

  • Leaders build apps that unlock core business knowledge for mobile uses: They excel nearly 2:1 at integrating existing systems with mobile, and are more effective with app security than non-leaders (82%  vs 51% of others)
  • Leaders secure and manage the mobile enterprise to optimize performance: They are more than  twice as likely to adopt BYOD programs, as well as establishing data security (90% leaders vs 55% others), and at ensuring network capacity (80% leaders vs 48% others).
  • Leaders use insights to engage their customers wherever they are: They are twice as effective at taking action based on mobile data
  • Leaders are using mobile to fundamentally transform the way they do business:  Leaders are twice as likely to realize ROI from mobile initiatives
What I've found is that many organizations we talk to about enterprise mobility believe they have a mobile strategy, but it is only as skin-deep as BYOD or having mobile-enabled their company website. This new study shows there is much more to the equation.

The IBV study was notable for couple of reasons: 1) the willingness of organizations to self-identify as "leading" or otherwise, and 2) the involvement of the line-of-business executives in defining and executing a mobile strategy. In fact the IBV study shows that the CMO, CEO, and CIO are the three most likely roles to define, sponsor, and implement mobile solutions. That's why when we do IBM Mobile Agenda Workshops, we try to bring together IT and line-of-business for the exercise.

It's been a busy but good week. Now I'm looking forward to being back in Asia for my first time this year, at an exciting event that brings together the best of IBM. I'll be tweeting using the #IBMInterConnect hashtag and you can follow all the conference news @IBMInterConnect. If you will be in Singapore, be sure to see our Mobile Enterprise keynote on Thursday the 10th, or my session on Friday morning the 11th. I'll be there between chili crabs, hopefully :-)

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