Digital business transformation is a concept that tends to be in the eye of the beholder. In fact, business and technology service providers usually have different interpretations of what’s involved. However, they all know they want some form of digital transformation, and they have some notion about it involving mobile computing. Most business leaders, in fact, are more deeply concerned than they care to admit that some disruptive new rival will suddenly appear with little warning and derail their business model.

But figuring out exactly where to get started with digital business transformation turns out to be more challenging than it may seem. Most business leaders aren’t really as aware of the processes that drive their business as one might expect. Too often, business leaders aren’t close enough to new technology developments to understand what’s truly possible. Conversely, IT personnel don’t always have enough insight into how the business operates to make the intuitive leaps needed to transform it.

Tapping Into the Next Era of Digital

The one thing that many business and IT leaders do understand, however, is that the disruption that lies ahead is going to be accessed and delivered via a mobile computing device; they interact with mobile applications ranging from Uber and Airbnb to Slack and Salesforce One every day.

Ultimately, every business and IT leader knows mobile solutions represent an opportunity to get closer to their customers. After all, most people carry around mobile applications on devices that fit in a back pocket or handbag. It’s harder to get any closer.

IT solution providers are in a unique position to demonstrate how mobile applications will transform business as we now know it. In fact, they’re the primary vehicle through which new use cases for IT get cross-pollinated.

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To be truly effective their role, IT solution providers need to get closer to the businesses they serve. But the good news is there’s almost no instance of an existing business process that can’t be enhanced by a mobile application. In fact, there’s a wide range of use cases for mobile applications in almost any possible industry.

There are also professional development tools designed specifically to bring businesses up to speed on trends occurring across multiple vertical industries. Once a business starts to digitally extend their processes, it’s usually not too long before all kinds of new ideas for improving the customer or employee experience start to flow. IT solution providers need to have enough insight into how a business operates to start that conversation.

Additionally, hardware is another factor in the center of mobile computing solutions. Today’s electronic market now offers IT decision-makers everything from mobile phones to laptop-like 2-in-1 devices for their employees on the go and in the office.

The IT solution provider that brings an innovative use case to a customer’s attention will soon find themselves so deeply embedded within the organization, they’ll be impervious to the competition.

In contrast, a solution provider that responds to a request for a solution for an idea the customer already has will generally find themselves competing on price for that business against any number of rivals. Rather than merely being viewed as trusted technology advisors, mobile computing creates a unique opportunity for IT solution providers to truly become strategic business partners in the digital business age.

Adjusting to a Learning Curve

There are, however, very few mobile applications that meet every requirement on the first day of deployment. As any savvy solution provider knows, that’s just a fact of IT. Therefore, it’s important for IT solution providers to set realistic expectations for their device infrastructure. But the truth is that mobile applications are never officially completed; end users expect new capabilities to be regularly added via seamless updates.

This creates an opportunity to not only build the application, but also deliver a whole slew of managed services required to support, secure and update it. Arguably, mobile computing is an opportunity that most solution providers can’t afford to miss.

IT solution providers with mobile computing expertise have an opportunity be at the tip of the digital business transformation spear. It’s also an area in business that IT gurus need to be proactive about — waiting for your customers to figure it out will leave you in a digital dark age.

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Michael Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications, including InfoWorld, CRN and eWeek. He currently blogs daily for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, Container Journal,, SDN Central, Channel Insider and Baseline.

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