A New CMO in the Boardroom – Chief Mobility Officer

Mobility and wireless applications have traditionally been deployed to cut costs and improve productivity and decision making for mobile workers. According to a recent IDC report, “Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2009-2013 Forecast,” 72.2% of the U.S. workforce was mobile in 2008. This number is expected to grow to 75.5% by 2013 with 119.7 million mobile workers.

With organizations’ increased focus on mobility and wireless, there’s been a lot of talk in the industry about a new position – CMO – or Chief Mobility Officer (not to be confused with Chief Marketing Officer). Corporate board members of larger organizations are recognizing the need to strategically consider how their enterprises think about mobility.

Analysts including Gerry Purdy of MobileTrax LLC and Emily Green of Yankee Group have been writing about this very topic. Both believe that, with these transitions, mobility is becoming a strategic issue for businesses, and we’ll begin to see the rise of CMOs in large organizations.

CMO responsibilities would include the strategic management and implementation of mobile devices, in addition to consumers’ mobile interaction with businesses. Large companies are beginning to create mobile experiences for their customers. IT departments are now faced with the management of software and services that allow customers to access companies’ resources. These applications give wireless customers the ability to purchase products and services or make financial transactions via a smartphone or other device.

With these added responsibilities, the CMO will sit with the CEO to strategize how to use mobility to benefit the company at all levels of the organization.

However, not all analysts believe in the necessity of a C-level position to address the rise of mobility in organizations. In a Computerworld article, Ken Dulaney of Gartner said, “I don’t think organizations want to add more management layers like a CMO [in these] economic times, but mobility needs to be an adjective on every IT noun today. Every part of the IT infrastructure team has to be aware of mobile, just like they have to be aware of things like green technology.”

Whatever route organizations ultimately take, it is clear mobility will play an increasing role in businesses and that conversations surrounding the impact of mobile devices will begin taking place at a higher level.

Does your organization currently have or plan to institute a Chief Mobility Officer? We’d love to hear your thoughts.