Symantec European Study Shows Rift Between IT and Business on Mobile Innovation
January 09, 2013
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Symantec Corp. announced the results of the study - Fonts of Innovation – Mobile Development in the Business - exploring the topic of mobile innovation within an organization in EMEA, and revealing a rift between the IT function and the rest of the business when it comes to mobile development.

Fewer than 10 percent of non-IT respondents to the survey believe their IT colleagues are "highly innovative" in this realm.

According to the study, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Symantec, more than one-half of the survey respondents believe IT departments are actually resistant to any new mobile ideas other parts of the business might have. These tensions appear to run highest in financial services firms. 62 percent of the respondents from this sector say IT departments push back against ideas that come from other parts of the organization. Nearly half (46%) of IT employees from across all sectors admit this to be the case.

"Consumerisation and the take-up of bringing your own – devices or apps have led to smart devices and mobile technology truly permeating businesses, and this will continue to have a considerable impact on organizations" says Greg Day, Security CTO for Symantec in EMEA. "Mobile innovation will help to drive business success in an organization and will require collaboration between IT and the business regarding the broad topic of technology and smart devices in particular."

Key findings from the research include the following:

- A rift exists between IT and non-IT professionals when it comes to mobile innovation. Less than 10% of non-IT respondents believe IT is "highly innovative" in this area. Over one-half think the IT function is resistant to new mobile ideas emanating from elsewhere. This tension runs especially deep among financial services firms.

- Sources of innovative ideas differ depending on the types of services involved. The IT department appears to be the main initiator within the organization of ideas to improve employees' mobile working. When it comes to using mobile technology to improve interaction with customers, however, sales and marketing emerge as the main sources of ideas.

- Sign of hope: IT no longer isolated. A hopeful sign is that IT departments appear much less isolated within organizations than previously. Around one-third of survey respondents say that the IT function is "extremely collaborative" in developing mobile services, while only 13% thought this was the case two years ago.

- The answer lies in collaboration. Amid all the evidence of tension between IT and the business, there is a clear recognition from all quarters that delivering genuine mobile innovation requires the active collaboration of both IT and non-IT staff. As one of our interviewees argues, the onus is on IT to make such co-operation happen.

"Competition often helps to encourage better innovation but could be counterproductive if it means IT and the business are closed to each other's ideas for mobile development" says Denis McCauley, Director, Global Technology Research at the Economist Intelligence Unit and editor of the report. "Genuine collaboration in mobile innovation is imperative," he says, adding that the onus is probably on IT for making innovation work.

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