Mark Bannerman, MicroStrategy South AfricaMark Bannerman, MicroStrategy South Africa

Without an enterprise mobility strategy, businesses are at a competitive disadvantage

Mobility may be the biggest change driver in the way businesses are run. Without a mobility strategy, businesses are now at a competitive disadvantage.

This emerged at the recent MicroStrategy Mobile BI executive forum, presented in partnership with ITWeb, in Rosebank.

Jim McNicol, director for Worldwide Mobile Practice at MicroStrategy, described mobility as a “tidal wave of change, hitting every business, at every level”.

Jim McNicol, MicroStrategyJim McNicol, MicroStrategy

“It’s not about ‘will you get involved with mobile?’ It’s about ‘when will you get involved with mobile?’” McNicol said. Social media is transforming the way people interact and the way businesses are run. “If mobile opened the door, social media is the sledge-hammer that busted it wide open. Now everyone is connected,” he said.

MicroStrategy South Africa country manager described mobility as the first new technology with the ability to be truly transformational. “Smartphones and tablets are changing the way business is being done and how people interact,” he noted.

Carlos Celestino, <a href=Carlos Celestino, <a href=

Nedbank Business Banking" src="" />“Until just recently, an enterprise maximising mobility had a competitive advantage. Now, enterprises without a mobility strategy are already at a competitive disadvantage,” he said.

Bannerman said South Africa – and Africa as a whole – is fast maturing when it comes to enterprise mobility. As recently as last year, companies showed interest in mobility, but did not have a clear focus on what aspects they planned to use. “It was a case of – ‘tell us what mobility can do for us,’” said Bannerman.

Now, local businesses are taking this trend seriously, he added. “Now, 80% to 90% of our client engagements relate to mobility,” Bannerman said.

<a href=<a href=

Ralf Keul, MicroStrategy" src="" />McNicol noted that mobility means a dramatic shift in how the IT department functions. “Mobility is allowing for much shorter release times – it allows for short, iterative releases and continuous delivery.”

Carlos Celestino, head of BI and technology at Business Banking, highlighted the bank’s own BI and mobility journey. Among the challenges, he said, were sourcing the right skills and the richness and volumes of data the bank had available. “You must decide on the relevance of the data to be used. It is pointless having massive amounts of data – the data must enable context-specific insight that is actionable,” he said.

Celestino said now has one BI platform for its Business Banking division, which has allowed for faster roll-outs and a standard approach to tools.

MicroStrategy’s director of sales and engineering EMEA, Ralf Keul, highlighted MicroStrategy’s mobility tools at the briefing. With its single platform, mobile app development is simpler, faster and more cost-effective, he noted.