Mobility's Fastest Interview: Phil Colman, CIO, British American Tobacco

Niamh Madigan
Posted: 07/24/2013

Phil Colman, CIO, British American Tobacco, joins Enterprise Mobility Exchange to discuss the position of Mobility on a CIOã??s Agenda, 140 characters MAX per answer.

Phil Colman.jpg

Enterprise Mobility (EME): Phil, how effective has BAT been in driving mobile projects forward?

Phil Colman (Phil): There's never a big, global initiative. We've been rolling out mobile devices ever since the HP Jornada was around.

EME: How do you make the distinction, between the commercial tools and the corporate devices that you need for your own business?

Phil: We make a distinction between consumer electronics and business purposes. We allow iPhones and iPads to connect, but in a very strict way.

EME: Fair enough. What to you does good BYOD look like?

Phil: For us it means using your own Mac Air Book. It's a bit tricky to secure information between your Mac and what should be a secured corporate virtual machine.

EME: Mobility is placing demands on IT for effective usability, architecture and development approaches. As CIO of BAT what keeps you awake at night, when it comes to ensuring you've got the right solutions in place?

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Phil: How much money these things cost! Youã??ve got to find a way of, unfortunately, finding a balance between enabling your user community and not spending so much more on IT.

EME: How then do you decide how much should go into support or maintain the mobility of your business?

Phil: We've been overly simplistic, weã??ve said, if you buy your own iPhone, Apple device, or Samsung Galaxy; if it's your personal device, if it breaks, take it back to Apple.

EME: What challenges do you encounter when bridging that gap between IT and other lines of business, to build the mobile roadmap for the organisation?

Phil: I put it down to emotion versus rationale, so when you have a consumer device in front of you there's not much rational thinking going on.

EME: How do you choose the right mobile solutions for a multifaceted mobile workforce like BAT?

Phil: We tend to pilot things, rather than go in wholeheartedly, so we've got about four or five pilots active around the world, which have been hugely informative.

EME: What geographies are you focusing on at the moment in getting the mobile situation right?

Phil: The trite answer is growth markets, so it's not really worth naming them. It's not so much a particular geography.

EME: Can I ask an example of a growth market, Phil, just for my understanding?

Phil: We'd want Russia and Brazil to be growth markets, so there are some very big markets around the world, which are hugely important for us.

EME: Going back to your customers, what challenges do you face internally, and then culturally?

Phil: My advice to anybody would be, get the business process sorted, get all the guys online, and ask them exactly what it is they want, then go and pick a device.

EME: What are your key goals for the next five years?

Phil: To get our trade reps enabled. We need some investment in a smarter app that sits on and is designed for a particular device.

EME: What industries do you think are operating a very tight enterprise mobility network?

Phil: Typically the sort of infrastructure services companies, like National Grid and I'd be intrigued, mostly, by what FMCGã??s are doing.

Categories: British American Tobacco, BAT, CIO, Phil Colman, mobile apps, BYOD, consumerisation, security, field force, enterprise-wide

You can read the extended version of this interview here.

Niamh Madigan
Posted: 07/24/2013

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