Put a group of CIOs in a room, including three from the top 20 of the CIO 100 and ask them to discuss the opportunities as well as challenges of creating a mobile enterprise and you can guarantee all aspects of the subject are fully exploited.
Probably the biggest issue facing CIOs and organisations looking to make their organisations open to mobile working is the cultural change at all business levels this requires. Organisations as diverse as hotels and leisure providers through to the charitable sector are finding changing culture a major stumbling block to moving applications onto mobile platforms, introducing bring your own device policies or changing the device estate.
Lance Fisher, CIO with recruitment firm SThree recently told CIO UK he addressed this issue with a mobile device management application strategy and an adoption of bring your own device which he says has weaned the company off the ailing BlackBerry handsets that it previously bought.
Joining the debate were Microsoft, who were frank that even as a technology vendor, changing their internal culture to accept mobility had been a major challenge.
These cultural challenges included workforces that imposed an attitude of being present in the office onto themselves; management that did not trust employees, and leadership teams that could not see the benefits of the organisation going to clients and having access to data and applications. Although the overwhelming desire amongst the CIOs present was a desire to adopt a mobile IT strategy, there were significant obstacles for the CIOs.
Many of the CIOs discussing this topic were interested in the changing way information was created and consumed within their organisations as a result of mobility. For some CIOs a virtual desktop infrastructure was the way forward, while others are struggling with an inherited infrastructure that has been under invested and now has to support mobility.
In the topic of supporting mobility, recent CIO round tables have seen the fate of BlackBerry discussed widely, but CIO UK author Pat Brans makes the argument that CIOs should stick with BlackBerry as John Chen, the new boss, has a strong record at transforming enterprise vendors.
Despite the challenges all the CIOs who took part in this CIO UK round table dinner were keen to exploit mobile technology for creating entirely new and more efficient business processes and in turn creating new business opportunities. A CIO in the charity sector said mobile processes were an opportunity to "redefine our organisation's future and relationship with our community", while two CIOs from the NHS were looking to make significant savings and healthcare improvements from mobile processes replacing existing desktop or paper based processes.