Mobile first is fast becoming the default setting in today's organisations.

In a recent CIO roundtable discussion, ICT executives from across New Zealand discuss how they are leading through the new business outcomes and challenges created by this environment.

The discussion likewise raises the importance of mature planning and execution of programmes around mobile applications and devices.

Here are some highlights from the discussion.

Across generations

David Moss, Vodafone:

We are in a totally connected world -- and we're seeing that trend worldwide. There are trials going on in New Zealand, where if you run a red light you'll be immediately emailed the fine based on the personal details associated with your registration.

I don't know how pervasive that's going to be over the next two years, but in some cities in the states, they already do this.

We've done a lot of work recently with the police, rolling out iPads and iPhones to the frontline. The things they can do now which previously weren't possible has changed the way they work, saving thousands of hours.

For example, they'd see someone on the road looking suspicious and previously would go and talk to them, ask for their ID -- and if it wasn't a photo ID they'd then have to ring up someone and wait for a confirmation call back.

But now, of course, it's all online, so the photo matched with their name comes back in near real-time so that they can see whether it's the same person or not. And quite often, it's not, which means they can do something about it there and then.

So there are some really simple applications for mobility that are helping our industries be really successful.

Internally at Vodafone, we're just about to roll out Windows 8 across our workforce. The big thing for us is actually working out who we should give devices to. Should we move everyone to a laptop? Should we move everyone to a tablet? And should we have tablet technologies which effectively act as PCs so you can have whatever you had on a PC screen on the tablet natively. So there are lots of different scenarios.

For example, in our retail shop now, we could have a native tablet for the sales person so that when the customer comes in they can actually walk them through a sales process.

Or we could have an iPad kind of technology and deliver it through like an online channel through the web. So now we're finding that we need to build things multiple times, because the technology allows you to do things multiple times.

And of course that just increases, from an IT perspective, the cost of actually building. And I haven't got my head around which ones to back because I can't back them all.

Another trend I think is wearable technology -- like the watch, where you can read emails. But that's just one device, there are going to be people wearing Google Glass and all these different things.

And how are we going to cope with all of that support? Users won't know how to use it properly; they'll make mistakes, which will add support costs. It's going to be a very huge challenge for us all, but it's going to be really exciting.

Leading edge thinking

Steve Griffin, Unisys:

It's kind of interesting that the pace of change in the IT business is phenomenal, but actually the rate of change in mobility even outpaces that. What we are seeing in companies that are on top of the mobile maturity curve is what was fundamentally an IT-led initiative is changing to be a business strategy underpinned by IT.

David Moss, Vodafone:

Vodafone India is growing by over a million customers per month. They're doing all sorts of innovative things, but have very small margins on mobility per customer.

At their innovation centre they demonstrated several machine-to-machine applications -- one of them was a connected fridge. But their sales people suggested that actually, that's not really where the market need is.

However, using machine-to-machine could really change people's lives in the slums. So, by putting SIM cards on the water trucks that come daily into the slums, the women -- who normally collect the water -- can get a text message when the truck is five minutes away. Previously, these women would have to wait all day because the trucks are so unreliable, leaving their kids behind.

That, for me, is incredibly empowering, and a classic example of mobility really helping people live better lives -- and in an area where you might not necessarily think people would have phones. That's what mobility is going to do for us.

Becoming a mobile first business

Liz Coulter, University of Auckland:

A while ago, we developed a mobile application strategy looking at mobile first. So as we bring in new systems, we try to ensure that they have an ability to provide mobile functionality to our staff and students.

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We recently implemented a university mobile app which you can download now from the University of Auckland. It includes maps, so you can find your way around the university and links to student information where they can get to their course notes, their email, and different things they need for their learning and for engaging with the university. We're continuing to look at the mobile application and how we can improve it.

The university has a governance framework around the use of the web and the university mobile applications. This has representation from the business as well as from IT. While the IT area provides guidance on the possibilities, the demand for services is usually from the business.

While we would like to have all of our applications with a mobile presence, this is difficult when you have systems which were implemented a while ago and which are difficult to retrofit for mobiles.

More and more, students are coming to the campus with mobile devices. How do we embrace the delivery of teaching learning materials to our students and how can we do that in a mobile fashion? So it's demand from the students, because they've got more and more mobile devices; and demand from the faculties, who want to deliver more and more on mobile devices and use them more.

Wilson Alley, Delegat's Wine:

We've got a very clear and concise message to the business that everything is heading towards a mobile device. Our [demand for] traditional PC began tapering three or four years ago, and I see the laptop going that way. Laptop procurement is starting to plateau, and we will go fully to a mobile device.

But we're fortunate that we had a couple of initiatives under our enterprise system program that linked themselves to the mobility question being asked. So when we went to a global CRM solution, which was one of the first streams of our enterprise suite program, mobility became a part of the discussion and it is a key enabler in that particular implementation to realising the overall benefits of the software.

We had a key business initiative that was going to rely on mobility, which gave us something that we could deliver to endorse the strategic direction.

And at the other end of our supply chain, in Viticulture, our user community said, 'can we try applying that mobility to our processes and applications in the field, to improve our grape harvesting decisions?'

Without the catalyst of embarking on an enterprise system program - which will eventually support 80 per cent of our business processes on a single platform, the journey to mobility would have had far less momentum to date.

Campbell Such, Bidvest:

We've been running, Bidvest Direct, our e-commerce platform for ten years now. In the last three years we've enabled it via mobile to iOS and Android. It's business to business, so we don't deal directly to the consumer.

In terms of maturity, we've had multiple iterations and it's focused very much on our customer experience. Customer orders placed through our mobile app are still a small part of our online business.

Half of our business comes through our online platform, a much smaller part comes through the mobile, but that is growing and we see strong growth in this area going forward. We need to encourage it.

B2B mobility is definitely different to the way that we treat and deal with the mobility of our internal staff and in particular our sales reps. We have tablets for all our sales teams and have developed self-service, real time reporting that gives them information to help with relevant and targeted conversations with customers -- what have they started buying, what have they stopped buying, what groups of their peers are buying that they aren't.

The other challenge is our customers order using their mobile device because it's convenient. With the internal sales teams, we've seen quite a lot of variability in terms of use. Some people really go for it, other people don't. The challenge is how to help them see how it can make their job easier and them more successful.

Shedding light on shadow IT

Geoff Leigh, Kordia:

A large percentage of our staff are engineers. Two years ago, we had this BYOD (bring-your-own-device) strategy, and then it became CYOD (choose-your-own-device). But if they don't like what you're offering, then they going to bring their own devices anyway - and that's when 'shadow IT' comes to the fore.

You have to engage with staff, instead of trying to control them. Find out what they want and how you can support that. Trust is really very important with a mobile strategy.

Critical support from the top

Rick Gibson, Gough Group:

When I started with Gough Group three- and-a-half years ago, the CEO was the first one who said basically we have to be pushing mobility. We are best known as Caterpillar dealers in New Zealand and also across various transport-related groups.

We are right across Australia and New Zealand in terms of coverage, and we have to be able to keep our people working while on the road.

So we've been rolling out, on the Caterpillar side, iPhones and iPad apps for about a year now. All of our equipment has been connected in a machine-to-machine way and that information captured and pushed back to Caterpillar in the United States.

We have been in this space for a while, but we need to actually get more efficient and get our people, our sales staff and our service people, on the road doing their job, without having to come back to the office several times.

Customer driven change

Roger Dean, AIMIA:

We're a global loyalty provider so our mobile strategy is basically keeping up with our customers as they become more and more mobile. So we're having to provide relevance all the way through social networking, game application, the whole gambit basically and provide relevance in allowing our customers to be able to redeem and provide points that are capable of being redeemed at any point through the lifecycle and mobile is doing that.

Linda Smith, Earthquake Commission:

We've used a lot of mobile devices already. In the response to the Christchurch earthquake, we gave iPads to property assessors. We trained them, and there was a little bit of resistance to start off with, but they loved it and they want us to do more with it.

We are looking at the next event and that could happen at any time. We need to ensure we have an alumni workforce that we keep together, and mobile systems that can scale quickly.

Richard Presling, First Assistance:

Enterprise mobility for First Assistance means something different. BYOD and mobilising our staff or clients are not a priority at this stage, although we do provide client portals to our case management systems.

As a provider of roadside breakdown services, we have a network of thousands of service providers who attend breakdowns and lockouts throughout New Zealand and Australia. For over 80 per cent of our roadside jobs, we use mobile solutions to dispatch jobs to our service providers on IOS or Android devices supplying location, vehicle details, driver details and details of the problem.

We receive ETA updates and job resolution data in real time. This solution replaces calls to mobiles when the provider was potentially driving or working on other jobs.

This has improved the customer experience, case management, reporting and billing accuracy significantly. The biggest challenge we face is intermittent coverage in rural areas and reliability of devices when being man-handled.

We see the future of enterprise mobility involving vehicle telematics and including edge devices as defined by 'the internet of things'.

Wilson Alley, Delegat's Wine:

Our mobile journey began in 2011 with the mobile deployment of business process and applications for our global sales force. We have 150 people using the solution, across eight countries, now. We're using an iPad, as device du jour, to access the processes and applications they require.

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The opportunity to add mobile access to processes and applications is being realised across other parts of our business, and we'll continue to do so. Having that mobile availability of process and applications is core and top of mind for us and it's where our device strategy is heading.

Liz Coulter, University of Auckland:

When we put out the mobile app, it was really focused with and the students in mind. One of the things we're looking at is usage and in one instance we had a few people say, 'Get rid of images and videos. No one would be using that.'

Well, we actually found they're using it internationally to recruit for international students and showing people the images, the videos of the university in other countries, and they find the images and videos extremely useful.

So if we got rid of that we were actually getting rid of a tool that was being used now quite a lot overseas. And that was a surprise; we weren't expecting that.

Mobile and analytics

Mike Clarke, SkyCity:

We are all about providing world class experiences. So what we're looking at are mobile solutions that fit into each of those categories. Much of it is about accelerating the process to get one of our team members to a customer request or a customer issue as quickly as we possibly can.

It is really hard to take an old system that has no mobility concept and make it mobile. It's a lot easier to throw it out and bring in a new one but those are big decisions. But I think we're making that journey reasonably well.

The next thing for us here will be, we can check you in wherever you are and on an iPad give you a room key, and we're ready to do that across our Auckland hotels within the next few months.

We see that as a VIP experience. We can pick you up at the airport, check you in before you even sit in the limo, and thank you very much, 'here's your key, we're done.' And that is a nice differentiated service. That's just one of those examples, which is easy to describe, yet has not been easy to get to this point.

Impact on workplace

Liz Coulter, University of Auckland:

The university has around 35,000 users accessing our wireless network a day. Of that, greater than 80 per cent of connections are from the students using their own device.

And so our students are expecting more and more to be delivered on mobile devices, and are expecting that our websites are mobile, that whatever we do can be accessed by the mobile.

We need to look at usage from a number of aspects, such as teaching and learning, and how we can use mobile devices to enhance mobile learning?

I was at a recent presentation where one of our science areas was teaching physics and they'd created a mobile app where, the students could, in a lab, take a photo of an experiment and analyse it.

They actually found that more engaging than sitting with the old equipment and trying to do those experiments.

Mobile devices enable universities to look at different ways to teach and do research work through mobile devices. Mobile devices for research enables staff to be out in the field discover something, catalogue, log it, write comments, collaborate on the spot with someone back in the office, or someone internationally on a collaborative level.

Mobile devices have a lot more than just the phone and voice. You've got your camera and you've got all sorts of devices in that function within a mobile device that can be used for research and for teaching and learning.

Top of mind: Accessibility and security

Roger Dean, AIMIA NZ:

We're providing bank loyalty as well as pushing marketing so they're two opposite spectrums. So we're always worried about security, but at the same time internally the business is working 24 hours a day.

We're a new global group and being able to access information, relevant information and work on a 24 hour a day environment means that the separation [of personal and corporate data] has to be there and the security [features] have to match the devices and understanding that is paramount.

Mike Clarke, SkyCity:

We have always been 24x7, it is part of our DNA, we never close. Our challenges are the same challenges we all talk about here: security and accessibility.

We have a brand reputation that we need to maintain at the highest standard. So we have the absolute juxtaposition between accessibility, mobility and infinite security.

Pointers for becoming a mobility trendsetter

Scott Allen, Unisys:

Unisys has conducted research over the last four years looking at how people are using mobility in the workplace. Three to four years ago, we found New Zealand was a real leader in the mobile environment.

But this year, New Zealand hasn't just dropped being a leader, it's actually fallen off the cliff from a maturity perspective compared to the rest of the world.

We had organisations rank themselves into four groups of mobility maturity with mobile trendsetters the most mature, mobile-enabled and mobile aware in the middle, through to mobile void at the bottom with no mobile strategy, governance of policies in place.

The mobile trendsetters are characterised as having a mobility strategy that is driven by their business strategy and is aligned to business process. They also measure the ROI, from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective, to determine the returns that they're getting on every dollar invested.

Unisys recommends that organisations develop three mobility strategies that start with defined business objectives: an internal strategy about how they're delivering mobility within their organisation for employees; a B2B strategy around how they're delivering mobility within the supply chain and for partners and suppliers, and also B2C strategy interacting with customers.

And then within those strategies, defining the different types of users and their specific requirements to meet to support the business objectives.

The primary reasons behind this approach of using three discrete strategies is to provide the most relevant experience to the different user groups and to reduce complexity of delivery and support for the IT department.

Driving a single 'one size fits all' mobility strategy won't work because you're trying to deliver the same mode of mobility across different end user groups who have a whole range of individual requirements across business objectives, technology needs and preferences, and support requirements.

But at the same time, the IT department can't support every type of mobile environment possible -- it needs to prioritise and set a clear roadmap that meets business needs now, but also have flexibility to address future user needs and technology.

That means IT departments need to take an approach that goes beyond just thinking about the device and apps, to looking at it as delivering a set of services to a user group that supports a workflow or business process and provides them the experience you want them to have.

From there, you make decisions about what services -- what apps, what policies, what support, what access, what level of security, whether it's in a virtualised environment -- you deliver that meets the business and user groups' needs.

The other aspect that is missed if the focus is just on a device -- be it a phone, a tablet, a laptop -- is that it doesn't take into account how the next generation of workers will actually be working.

We need to take a fresh view. For example, we are working with clients who are looking at XBox and PS4s as a platform to deliver next-generation education.

Why? For an educator delivering a course, you need to know the student is actually attending the course, but how do you measure attendance in a mobile world? Facial recognition: I'm at home and I sit in front of my Xbox and say 'Hi Scott, I'm done!'

This is the type of thinking that we need because the world is changing. When we talk about security, compliance, support and so on, you've got to start from the user experience that you're trying to deliver.

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