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Unwiring the enterprise are you ready to lose control
 

Unwiring the enterprise are you ready to lose control

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Armed with powerful mobile devices, consumers and
employees have become the force behind a wireless wave
of change. Whether they are seeking discounted prices or
looking to coordinate a sales campaign, these mobile
end-users are growing impatient with companies that are
still trying to control behavior and the sharing of
information. Enterprises that fail to learn how to give up
some of that control and innovate to meet the evolving
needs of their constituents could soon find themselves in
the back of the pack. There are five ways to ride this
Wireless Wave, write the authors of this opinion piece,
Todd Hewlin, managing director of TCG Advisors, a
boutique consulting firm in Silicon Valley, and Scott
Snyder, a senior fellow at Wharton, author of The New World of Wireless: How to Compete in the 4G
Revolution and pr

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    Unwiring the enterprise are you ready to lose control Unwiring the enterprise are you ready to lose control Document Transcript

    • Unwiring the Enterprise: Are You Ready to Lose Control?: Knowledge@Wharton(http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2860)Unwiring the Enterprise: Are You Ready to Lose Control?Published : October 14, 2011 in Knowledge@WhartonArmed with powerful mobile devices, consumers andemployees have become the force behind a wireless waveof change. Whether they are seeking discounted prices orlooking to coordinate a sales campaign, these mobileend-users are growing impatient with companies that arestill trying to control behavior and the sharing ofinformation. Enterprises that fail to learn how to give upsome of that control and innovate to meet the evolvingneeds of their constituents could soon find themselves inthe back of the pack. There are five ways to ride thisWireless Wave, write the authors of this opinion piece, This is a single/personal use copy of Knowledge@Wharton. For multiple copies, custom reprints, e-prints, posters or plaques, please contact PARSTodd Hewlin, managing director of TCG Advisors, a International: reprints@parsintl.com P. (212) 221-9595 x407.boutique consulting firm in Silicon Valley, and ScottSnyder, a senior fellow at Wharton, author ofThe New World of Wireless: How to Compete in the 4GRevolution and president and chief strategy officer of Mobiquity, a mobile strategy and applicationsdevelopment firm.When Tawakkol Karman was named a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize last week, it was fitting that TheNew York Times carried a front-page photo showing her talking excitedly into a mobile phone. Karman, aleader of the anti-government protests in Yemen, has become a standard-bearer for the Arab Spring, andthe cell phone was one of the key weapons in the battle. Fueled by the rapid proliferation of the mobileand social web, the Arab Spring demonstrates the collective power of technology-enabled citizens. Theclash between empowered and connected end-users and controlling governments has led to regimechanges throughout the Middle East (though not yet in Yemen), producing one of the most dramatic andunpredictable waves of socio-political upheaval since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.While the events of the Arab Spring are still making headlines, another less-publicizedtechnology-enabled revolution is unfolding that also pits connected masses of people against largeorganizations trying to control them. This revolution is occurring in the business world, and the end-userswho are rising up are consumers and employees. These end-users, equipped with powerful mobiledevices, are enabling a new wave of disruptive innovation that is transforming the companies they buyfrom and work for.If you do not give your customers a way to easily compare and search for discounts on your products,they will use Red Laser or Amazon Price Check. If you do not give your sales team better ways to shareknowledge and coordinate efforts, they will use Facebook or Flipboard. Fail to give patients a better wayto manage their chronic disease, and they will use Welldoc or Patientslikeme. Mobile technology iscreating both an expectation and impatience in users that never existed before. Immediacy is not justdesirable; its fundamental to the mobile experience. If you fail to deliver on that expectation, impatiencewill grow -- and you will risk losing the business of customers and the loyalty of employees.In another context, former Procter & Gamble CEO A. G. Lafley summed up the situation this way: "Wehave to strike the right balance between being in touch and being in control. The irony is the more incontrol we are, the more out of touch we become."The notion of relinquishing control in order to win is counterintuitive for most large companies. Theyhave spent their corporate lives putting controls and processes in place to regulate behavior, maintain acommon identity/brand and drive efficiencies. But the very controls that define them are also the ones thatmay impede their ability to innovate around wireless, given that such innovation is all about allowing the   All materials copyright of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.                    Page 1 of 3 
    • Unwiring the Enterprise: Are You Ready to Lose Control?: Knowledge@Wharton(http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2860)end-user to discover what new and useful things they can do with the technology. As enterprises willcome to realize, control is just an illusion in the digital world.Wireless as the Forcing FunctionThe Wireless Wave is expected to be bigger than the earlier technology waves by anywhere from 10 to100 times, just based on the number of connected devices, from smartphones and tablets to appliances andgame consoles. The size of the opportunity and the pace of disruption have drawn in a new set of playersthat are now dominating the mobile opportunity space -- Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and SAP,with Intel, Cisco and Dell readying their own mobile offerings. All in all, mobile is shaping up as the nextshowdown that will define the winners and losers in the technology sector. And weve only just begun.The Wireless Wave is about reshaping the landscape. People who are wireless-enabled are living andworking differently than they did before. In fact, there are striking parallels between the Internet andwireless waves in terms of how long-term innovation came together seemingly overnight. Understandingthese parallels will help business leaders anticipate where wireless is headed and position theirorganizations for the big changes under way.Innovation is not always a good thing. If you owned a music store, you likely did not celebrate the 1994launch of Napster, a "poster child" for user-driven platforms. Napster popularized the sharing of musicfiles by making it easy and free. Enter Apple, which saw the consumer demand for the instantgratification of downloading music online. Its hugely successful iTunes franchise makes illegaldownloads less necessary, thus capitalizing on the seismic shift consumers were already driving.Three Disruptions to Plan ForThree major disruptions are bringing about the rise of empowered end-users: the New "Last Foot," theRise of Mobile Personas and the Fall of Entry Barriers. Each one poses tough questions to be consideredas you plot a course through the Wireless Wave.The New "Last Foot:" Wireless is becoming the "last foot" for moving information from the cloud towithin arms reach of every person on the planet. It connects the physical and virtual worlds, providingreal-time access to systems and resources while acting as the "eyes and ears" for centralized IT systems.How much could you save if your ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems had real-time visibility forall of your assets, inventory and people? What are the breakthrough wireless-enabled solutions thatredefine your buying criteria? Are you taking into account how quickly decisions get made across yourmanagement team?Rise of Mobile Personas: Mobile devices have blurred the lines between personal and professional use.Phone numbers are now people, not places. Wireless brings individual-level, real-time detail on location,presence, activity level and preferences that no PC ever had. What new opportunities exist to build directrelationships with your end customers and your channel partners? How can mobile social networkingbuild more employee loyalty? Have you thought through security and privacy issues?Fall of Entry Barriers: The barriers to entry for attackers are a step-function lower in the Wireless Wavethan in the preceding ones. This shift is partly based on the free-rider effect that wireless enjoys as itleverages all the cloud-based services from prior waves (virtual desktops, corporate private clouds, onlineservices like Google and others). It is also due to the remarkably small investments required to developand bring to market disruptive offers. With off-the-shelf tools and the distribution of the App Store and itsimitators, a small team can produce a wireless innovation that has a major impact.You have less time than you think to meet these challenges. Your organization needs to immediatelyassess the ramifications of each disruption and develop a top-down plan for playing offense and defensein the Wireless Wave.Preparing for the Wireless WaveThe Wireless Wave is busy shifting power to the "new edge" of an enterprises customers, partners andemployees. However, in a recent survey of more than 100 senior executives in a broad range of sectors,70% said that they believe their current wireless readiness is insufficient to drive wireless innovation in   All materials copyright of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.                    Page 2 of 3 
    • Unwiring the Enterprise: Are You Ready to Lose Control?: Knowledge@Wharton(http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2860)their organizations (see The New World of Wireless: How to Compete in the 4G Revolution). What canyou do to prepare? Across industries, leaders are moving ahead on five key fronts.Scan Broad and Deep. This front involves searching non-traditional sources, such as millennial/nativedigital users and emerging markets for future user needs and innovation examples. These sources are yourbest bet for seeing over the horizon to how wireless will change your industry and company. Engageyoung employees and users in identifying new mobile opportunities, collaborate with players outside yourtraditional market or industry and leverage emerging markets as a window into the innovations fromunwired societies like India.Decide Where to Stand Out. To play good offense, you need an aggressive plan for differentiating ordisrupting in attractive areas. Win where you can -- and be good enough everywhere else to meet theminimum expectations of mobile users. Pick markets that are big enough to matter, early enough to leadand a good fit with your crown jewels -- assets or capabilities that you control and are essential todelivering a step-function improvement in customer value.Focus IT on Systems of Engagement. For the past three decades, your IT group has focused onimplementing systems of record. That is, digital systems that record all transactions making up yourbusiness. The next two decades will be about systems of engagement -- the communication, collaborationand interaction systems that enable your people to work with each other, partners and customers moreproductively regardless of location.Co-innovate With End-Users. The most glaring capability hole in most enterprises is what might be calleduser experience design (UED). The Wireless Wave provides opportunities for mass customization of theuser experience. Think about how different your iPhone is from mine, even if it is the same modelnumber. Beyond just modules/apps that can be combined by the user, simple composite apps or"mash-ups" are making the jump from the consumer world to the enterprise. UED allows customers,partners and employees to tailor their wireless experience based on their unique needs and preferences.Co-innovation with end-users will be critical to future success in the Wireless Wave.Adopt a Pull-Training Model. In a time of disruption, a great premium is placed on flexibility. TheWireless Wave will demand new skills, processes and roles within your workforce. The challenge is tokeep training flexible. The customer, partner or employee should be given information on a need-to-knowbasis.As the Arab Spring dramatically changed the Middle Easts political landscape, the change in wirelesswill reset the playing field for enterprises as well as the underlying business models that define theirindustries. Are you ready to lose control?This is a single/personal use copy of Knowledge@Wharton. For multiple copies, custom reprints, e-prints, posters or plaques, please contactPARS International: reprints@parsintl.com P. (212) 221-9595 x407.   All materials copyright of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.                    Page 3 of 3