At the same time, he says, businesses are still in the early stages of thinking about all things mobile in their operations. "Things pop up in three or six months and then we don't know what's going to pop around the next corner.
The reality is that your business strategy needs to be mobile and you need to do it in a standard role. If you are looking 12 to 18 months ahead in your business, mobile needs to be a huge part of that."
Mobile Strategists Can Be a Smart Investment, Say Analysts
By leading the charge on these kinds of issues inside enterprises, mobile strategists can help enterprises jump start mobile development projects that are beyond the reach of IT establishment, several industry analysts told eWEEK.
"What we hear from companies is they get it, but that IT departments don't really have the resources to execute and develop a mobile strategy," says John Jackson, a mobile analyst with IDC. "IT's charter is to keep the systems of record standing up and that's a full-time job, while mobility, for all of its disruptive impact, is something you need to get to. And IT people often can't get to it."
At that point, "because there is material competitive advantage to be gained with a mobile strategy, it makes sense to have a strategist" who is working on these initiatives, says Jackson. "It is just now becoming a mainstream function. You're starting to see people with these titles proliferating right now."
So how can they help?
"Our research shows a consistent 30 percent failure rate for apps that have been deployed by enterprises for employees," says Jackson. "That's an astonishing high rate. Having a mobile strategist could help reduce or prevent that. Having an advocate in an official capacity to drive these strategies forward makes sense."
Maribel Lopez, principal analyst with Lopez Research and a co-founder of the Mobile Research Council, a community of Fortune 1000 companies that work together to provide advice on creating mobile strategies, agrees.
"In marketing and sales, you might want to do something with cameras, beacons, apps and location … to connect them with basic legacy systems like inventory," says Lopez. "Mobile strategists help companies think about what they do that's new and different and also about what is transactional. It's about making sure that they don't have 15 different platforms to do things, where they've wasted a lot of time and money and none of them work together."
To find the right mobile strategist for a company, Lopez recommends a search for mobile advocates. "I would try to find somebody inside the company who has already done something mobile that wasn't sanctioned," she says. "They're probably passionate about it."
Another place to look is within the open source community, where it is often a great place to find online discussions about related trends, tools and ideas, says Lopez. "You can find someone who can build a system for you."
Whatever enterprises do to drive their mobile strategies, says Lopez, they should just get started and release the new tools and features to users to engage them and gain their interest. Most importantly, don't take forever to build mobile apps and strategies, which will hold up the progress of users that want to get started with tools that will help them do their jobs, she adds.
"You need to start small and rapidly iterate on any apps or services that you deliver," she says, "not the 12-month road map with every feature known to man."