Onecom held its second Think Tank event on Wednesday 2nd July at The Dorchester. In attendance were 12 CIOs from a variety of industries, including finance, law, agriculture, recruitment, media and education, along with special guests from Gartner, Vodafone, BlackBerry and Onecom.
The discussions helped to share learnings, challenges and best practices, topped with a healthy sprinkling of networking. Five things we learned from the day were:
1. BlackBerry is back (as an MDM provider)
A year ago, BlackBerry was focused on selling phones to teenagers. They realised this was a losing battle and are now refocusing on the enterprise market, reinventing themselves as a services provider. They are offering a cross-platform MDM solution, which will manage all endpoints – including other manufacturer devices and operating systems. The feeling in the room was that while BlackBerry still face a challenge in terms of its market perception, the tide does seem to be turning in terms of its strategy and viability moving forward. They also have $3billion in cash and have recently returned to profitability, which are encouraging signs…
2. The big networks just can’t spend enough to keep with consumer data demands
The data explosion across UK networks is going to continue, with the Internet of Things, wearable technology and machine to machine (M2M) capabilities becoming mainstream sooner than we think. This will continue to be a major headache for carriers. But Vodafone outlined that they will be investing £400 million more than any of the other UK carriers into their network this year, to help their customers manage the connectivity crunch as effectively as possible.
3. Don’t try build a ROI case for new technology (unless it is value adding)
One CIO attendee outlined a recent multi-million pound investment into an IT infrastructure project. The board asked him what the ROI would be, and he said “zero”. The view amongst guests was that IT infrastructure costs should be viewed no differently from any other commodity, such as electricity or plumbing, which traditionally aren’t expected to prove an ROI. It is at the application level, where innovation and business value can be delivered, where an ROI case can be developed. But the right IT and telecoms infrastructure needs to be in place to make this happen.
4. The definition of a mobile worker has changed, as mobile devices have changed
Mobile workers used to be easily categorised as field-based employees,with appropriate contracts and agreements. But improved networks and smart devices have enabled home working to be a possibility for many desk-based workers. This has improved productivity and engagement, but it also means employees now travel a lot more to meet people (not in the office), which means their expenses also skyrocket! So employers need to think carefully about the mix of their workforce, and to consider all the likely effects of flexible or remote working policies.
5. 45% of small and mid-size UK firms don’t want a big carrier to manage their telecoms directly
Vodafone’s own research uncovered this statistic. Their strategy to support these firms is to partner closely with providers like Onecom, who can manage the customer relationship on their behalf, to ensure customers get the best of both worlds – access to the newest and most commercially attractive products and services, but with agility and a personal level of service that the big carriers find hard to deliver.
These are just a sample of some of the points raised in the discussions from the day. If you’re an IT leader and would like to attend our next Think Tank event, please drop me a note at email@example.com to register your interest.