Seeking Innovation through Information: Exploring the Role of a Chief Business Innovation Officer

The role of mobility has had such a significant impact on businesses globally in last few years, that it has forced organisations and their employees to become increasingly flexible, and adapt to entirely new ways of working.

This is as relevant to the C-suite as it is anywhere else, as many enterprises have found that mobility requires an open minded approach, as well as a strategic vision to ensure technology is leveraged to its full potential, and to avoid mistakes that can be harmful to the overall business strategy.

In some cases, this has even resulted in new roles and additional responsibilities emerging within the C-suite, a development which is particularly interesting to observe for Enterprise Mobility professionals.

KalmanTiboldi_003.jpgRecently, we were fortunate enough to have an in-depth conversation with Kalman Tiboldi, Chief Business Innovation Officer for TVH. Following his presentation at the Enterprise Mobility Exchange, Europe in May, we spoke to Kalman about what exactly it is his role involves, and how it originated within TVH, as well as the ways in which technology has had an impact on the wider organisation, from the very beginning of the mobile journey, to the present day and beyond.

Kalman began by explaining that business innovation, essentially, involves merging the functionality of IT with the concept of business strategy, to transform workflows for the better. In trying to achieve this positive transformation, his role has developed as a unique entity within the organisation, with the goal of driving innovation across both core areas of responsibility.

Part of the key to this process of innovating, is the need for information management: "Information is the new currency in this day and age", according to Kalman. As a result, they have created a group within the business innovation department to manage the flow of information throughout the entire company, utilising highly advanced technologies such as big data and IoT to support this.

The primary aim for the department is to improve the fundamental business processes that the organisation relies on, and to do this, they must innovate and augment the ways in which people are familiar with working. This requires a creative vision for leveraging technology, to drastically enhance the capabilities of employees in completing tasks, regardless of the nature of their role or the department they work in.

An important step in reaching this aim is in the development of solutions - specifically having strong internal software development resources - to allow IT to code and build the mobile apps that the business requires.

"This [step] was crucial for us, as the mobile apps being developed needed to have a positive impact across the business, because they were the main drivers behind ensuring this innovation was not misinterpreted as unnecessary disruption," explained Kalman.

Of course, mobility is regarded as a major component of TVH's ability to innovate within the company, due to a need for employee collaboration across different departments and domains. This involves measuring and accurately addressing issues such as mobile presence, availability, and seamless communication at any time, in any location, across multiple devices per user.

Essentially, what mobility means to TVH in a basic sense is being reachable. The company has been deploying mobile technology on an enterprise-wide scale for 20 years now, to gain advantages in both communication and availability.

Kalman revealed that in short, TVH's mobile journey has developed from mobile devices, followed by the introduction of an MDM solution, to smartphones and tablets, culminating in the recent "TVH Goes Mobile" initiative and its collaboration with MobileIron, taking its mobile strategy to the next level.

Enterprise Mobility was the first step towards devising this strategy, and Kalman advocates like-minded organisations starting with an MDM platform and then making a decision on how to continue, based on their own specific business needs. However, while MDM is an adequate starting point towards becoming a mobile-first enterprise, it is important to note that MAM should also play a prominent role, and the two must be compatible.

Kalman warned, "Putting a strong and comprehensive mobile policy in place is a complex task, as it must account for all the various differences between departments such as legal, human resources, IT and field workers. When striving to become mobile-first, it is important to find the right solution provider that will support this challenge."

TVH has been able to find partners that could instill eight different policy profiles into one platform, to allow administrators to moderate these variations in relation to communication, security, privacy and other crucial sensitive elements.

In addition to this, in the current climate, Kalman believes one of the most powerful components of mobility is the apps, as they provide extensive and dynamic ways to interact with business processes and use cases, regardless of device and form factor.

"In order for employees to be able to utilise mobile apps to their full potential, the systems in place must be able to seamlessly contain and separate enterprise apps from personal apps, otherwise BYOD will not be sustainable," Kalman pointed out.

It is necessary to implement policy-based access control, by carefully managing which employees can use which apps, based on department, job function, authority and even location in some cases. This type of profile identification is critical to enterprise security in a mobile-first organisation.

Another valuable tool to contribute to efficient Enterprise Mobility is an enterprise app store or library. IT administrators can use this method to grant employees controlled access to the necessary apps they wish to use, but can also push relevant apps on to user profiles, and automatically upgrade apps when improvements are made. This in-turn limits malicious and potentially dangerous apps, which are unauthorised within the corporate mobile networks, as highlighted by Kalman.

Assuming this app-first mentality, following the previous initial focus on devices, was a natural step for TVH. There is a far greater risk with a focus on devices, because the information which is located and stored within the device, and also the device's access to corporate networks and applications, is a more severe threat for many reasons.

To ensure that vulnerabilities in the enterprise security are mitigated, organisations should ideally take a layered approach. This will include managing the transmission of the data from the system to the mobile setting, followed by the data storage to protect the data within devices, then data protection in the back-end as well.

It must also be noted that these security issues should be planned for and integrated from the very beginning of any mobile initiative, and should be a core part of the strategy, as it is absolutely a high priority amidst the aim of achieving innovation.

When tasked with the challenge of adoption across such a large-scale, global workforce within TVH, Kalman revealed the two aspects of the technological adjustments which he has found dictate the willingness of employees to adopt.

The first was the social driver, as the consumerisation of IT has stimulated adoption of mobility within the workplace, and made it more convenient for employees to leverage, which in-turn allowed TVH to push its deployments throughout all lines of business. BYOD also helps ease this transition, as employees become more familiar with using mobile devices in the workplace when they are performing professional tasks on their own phones.

Secondly, TVH had to connect the technology to the business processes, which is where the role of innovation is important, by having a clear vision to justify the strategy to business management. "In this sense, for example, managing a fleet becomes far easier to control with mobile solutions, and demonstrating this value is how you attain buy-in from the senior leadership," said Kalman.

However, from these initiatives in innovation, TVH has seen benefits in financial domains, by reducing costs through the support of mobile workers, both in the use of BYOD and the automation of business-critical processes. Kalman identified technical benefits from mobility as well, by simplifying the management responsibilities of IT departments, and enhancing their ability to control mobile operations across a vast landscape of employees.

TVH is now looking to the future, and entering the ecosystem of IoT to further boost the capabilities of its employees, and to enable its equipment to provide valuable new insights through the capture and analysis of big data in real-time.

Using IoT, sensors and connected devices to leverage big data could shift the entire service industry into a position of focusing on corrective maintenance to preventative maintenance, which Kalman sees as the natural next step in this industry.

Watch Kalman's interview from the Enterprise Mobility Exchange, Europe: What are the Top 5 Mobility Trends to Keep an Eye on in the Coming Years?