Mobility in Finance
How can (and should) the finance function think about integrating mobile technology into its business practice? According to the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, there were almost 6 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions by the end of 2011—that's a global penetration of 86 percent.* However, nearly 70 percent of organizations acknowledge the increasing importance of mobile technologies, yet only 24 percent have any mobile-enabled processes and 30 percent are still completely reliant on paper.**
A recent online poll conducted by APQC during its July 2012 FM Community Call revealed that 57 percent of participants said that mobility—more than social networking/media (7 percent) and global transfer of best practices (36 percent)—will have the biggest impact on finance in the next two years.
So how can finance leverage this reach and openness to new technology? What are the issues senior executives should address before implementing any kind of mobile technology strategy? In short, what is the appropriate use of mobile devices for the exchange of financial information?
The popularity of mobile computing stems from the ability to instantly alert users—anywhere, anytime—that information exists. Finance leaders need to decide what kind of information is the most useful and appropriate on a mobile device and how to display it on a smaller screen.
Also, guidelines for how finance professionals should use mobile devices on the job need to be established. Who should have access to specific information, the type and amount of information that can be accessed and stored on a mobile device, along with questions about information security are just some of the issues finance leaders need to consider when devising a mobile computing strategy.
Real-time communications and content delivery also requires bandwidth, whether that’s over a wireless, 3G, or 4G network; and bandwidth costs money. Finance needs to open communication with its IT department to work out what kind of mobile device strategy makes the most sense.
For more information on how to incorporate mobile computing into a larger knowledge management strategy, check out Using Mobile Devices to Deliver Knowledge at the Teachable Moment.
* “Statistical Highlights.” ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database, June 2012: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/material/pdf/2011%20Statistical%20highlights_June_2012.pdf.
** "Process Revolution - moving your business from paper to PCs to tablets." Association for Information and Image Management, April 2012: http://www.aiim.org/Research-and-Publications/Research/Industry-Watch/Process-Revolution-2012.