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CIO Review >> Magazine >> April - 2013 issue

Mobility: Our Way Forward

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Verizon Wireless operates U.S largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. Basking Ridge based Verizon Wireless with more than 73,000 employees nationwide., is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD) serving 98.2 million retail customer.

Patterns of Emerging Technologies

Mobility is shaping the industry today where people are on the go constantly where they need reliable service and functionality to power and leverage their mobile devices. While enterprise adoption is growing rapidly, Smartphones and tablets are replacing the PCs in people's work and personal lives. Tablets have been made a convenient and functional choice, increasing their ability to perform work on the go. Tablets have emerged as an amazing way to stay connected. Various applications that are used on tablets and smartphones improve professional and personal productivity. As consumers use multiple touch points to obtain information, share reviews and purchase products and services, there is a need to better integrate systems and leverage social technologies in order to optimize the quality of customer interactions. The investments now, being driven toward applications and platforms to manage the growth in volume, velocity and variety of data – widely referred to as "Big Data".

Big Data helps companies leapfrog their competition. Companies are working on integrating their customers' social profiles with enterprise customer relationship management profiles. This is basically to better understand customers and offer tailored customer service. Retail business and the trends have been gaining excellent role in delivering an integrated customer experience. An emerging trend called the "omnichannel retailing" unites physical stores, e-commerce, mobile and social selling into a seamless experience for the customer. It is the convergence of the digital and physical.
One area that has some opportunity for improvement is Unified Communications (UC), particularly when having to protect the enterprise’s existing investments and simplify its transition to more extended UC networks. UC is the integration of real time communication services such as instant messaging, presence information, IP technology, video conferencing, collaboration tools, call control and speech recognition with non real-time communication services such as integrated voice mail, e-mail, text and fax. UC is not a single, but a set of products that provides a consistent user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types. This has a huge potential to significantly increase productivity.

Technology and Enterprise needs

A CIO spends more time on better aligning the IT organization with the business and focusing the organization on business strategy more than technology strategy. This starts with the CIO gaining an in-depth understanding of the business strategy and promoting an IT vision that supports that strategy. Balancing efficiency with responsiveness is another challenge dealt with everyday. Over the years we have worked on consolidating and optimizing our systems portfolio and that has enabled us to be very efficient in responding to rapidly changing business needs. We have a monthly prioritization process with our business stakeholders to make sure we are working on the programs that yield the most return on investment.

Roadblocks and Its Resolutions

It is critical to balance the cost of running IT to ensure business sustainability with the cost to grow and transform the business. The right mix will be to keep the "sustaining IT operations" budget low and invest more on growth and transformation projects. Prioritization of where to deploy and focus limited resources is critical to ensuring the success of an IT organization as well as the company. Simplifying and streamlining the systems landscape is the key to addressing this issue. Consolidation, optimization and standardization reduce cost and drive bottom line savings.

CIOs need to prepare for technology trends for the near future. Investments in Big Data, cloud, social, analytics and mobile will ultimately evolve the role of CIO and the IT organization. There is a potential for IT to be seen as a roadblock to change; CIOs should seize it as an opportunity to be seen as an enabler of change instead. Addressing, implementing and maintaining a robust information security solution is table-stakes. CIOs have to keep up with ever-changing technology trends and security threats in the global marketplace. Our data, especially customer data, is sacrosanct. We have to identify and mitigate all security risks to ensure that the trust customers place in us is not violated.

Innovation and its Significance in an Organization

Innovation is not only about creating game-changing products and services but also about doing things differently than previously thought of to generate savings, efficiencies, new revenue opportunities and providing a differentiated customer experience. To stimulate innovation in our organization, we have deployed internal collaboration systems that allow all employees to share their ideas and have their peers vote on those ideas. The ideas that bubble up to the top are vetted and acted upon. We are also focused on ensuring that we have a good training program so our employees can keep pace with technology trends. We emphasize the importance of protecting our intellectual property by maintaining an IT Patent process that identifies and recognizes IT innovation and inventions. Obtaining patents for IT-enabled innovations can be a valuable differentiator for the business.

Gadget Marvel

My tablet is my favorite gadget . It connects me at work and at home, and allows me to integrate both my home and work life. At work, I am more mobile and connected, with the ability to access information from anywhere. At home, it has enhanced my media consumption experience. It has enabled a great integrated user experience, with the ability to stream my FiOS TV content or Over The Top (OTT) content directly to my tablet, without missing a beat. I use my tablet to connect to my preferred social media channels and news outlets, and I am always in touch and kept up to date. My tablet gives me the capability to always be connected to my work and personal life wherever I am.