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Business demands are changing. The pace of business is quickening. We are in the midst of a business performance revolution, one where companies and customers alike expect instant access to the tools of commerce from anywhere at any time. Mobility is integral to this revolution, as the enterprise mobility phenomenon is quickly becoming a key driver of business innovation. Central to mobile success and improved business performance, however, is the business/IT collaboration that originates in the datacenter from easy access to information within the enterprise mainframe.
Business Performance Revolution Fueled by Mobile Adoption
Improving business performance hinges on providing real-time data access to all constituents, and for businesses spanning finance, insurance, education, healthcare, government and beyond, mobile applications and devices are quickly becoming the dominant data consumption vehicles. Consider this: by 2015 more people will have access to a mobile device than a computer1 and by 2016, the average corporate device will synchronize and orchestrate content with at least five different synchronization services2. And, according to Cisco, the U.S. is currently the largest bring your own device (BYOD) market, with 71 million devices to date. That figure is expected to grow to 108 million devices by 2016.3
It’s clear that successful adoption of mobile applications will become the differentiating factor in elevating business performance to the next level, and companies of every type and size realize it’s those who continue to innovate via data integration that have the best chance of maintaining a competitive edge. From improving operational responsiveness to increasing revenue and bolstering customer satisfaction, simplifying access to mainframe applications, data and processes provides the foundation from which a successful mobility platform can grow.
Mobility 3.0: Reaching the Level of Optimum Operational Efficiency
Today, creating a data-integrated mobile platform that raises business performance to the highest possible level is the ultimate goal of the majority of organizations. But simply having a few mobility applications in place does not equate to true performance innovation. In the May 12, 2014, edition of the Financial Express, Heena Jhingan describes “three stages of mobility” typically seen in modern companies, with Mobility 3.0 being the least-attained, yet most-desired, goal:
- Mobility 1.0 – In this stage companies seek to mobile-enable/optimize their websites and applications to increase customer engagement.
- Mobility 2.0 – With Mobility 2.0, organizations take mobility up a notch and look to transform business processes, like expense reporting, via mobility.
- Mobility 3.0 – In this ever-increasing mobile era, few companies have yet to embark on Mobility 3.0. In this highest stage of mobility, organizations leverage mobile technology to create entirely new business models and revenue streams. Here, both B2B and B2C companies have greater opportunities to directly reach their target markets, improve profitability and add new customers. It’s also where being able to leverage existing mainframe infrastructure assets to tie into a mobility platform is most crucial.
Mainframe Assets Key to Bolstering Business Performance
Mainframe servers continue to play a significant role in the IT infrastructure. According to recent information from SHARE Inc., 96% of the world’s top banks, 23% of the top 25 U.S. retailers, and nine out of 10 of the world’s largest insurance companies run on IBM System z mainframe servers, and mainframe systems process about 30 billion transactions per day.
Therefore, mainframe integration holds the greatest key to unlocking the potential of all data, and connecting that data to mobile applications which in turn elevate business performance to the next level – all to achieve Mobility 3.0. By using today’s advanced modernization and business performance solutions on the back end, it has become faster and simpler than ever to provide a compelling and engaging mobile experience to users on the front end.
The Business Performance Revolution in Action
To see how mainframe modernization and business performance solutions can help revolutionize business innovation. Here are 4 examples of organizations that have unlocked their mainframe data to create value-packed mobile applications that engage customers, reduce costs and improve business performance – ultimately progressing toward Mobility 3.0:
- A French horse-racing organization wanted to extend its sales channel to encompass web and mobile options, and create a more functional website for professional brokers to utilize. However, they could only use existing staff resources, wanted to avoid rewriting legacy mainframe-based DB2 and other applications and needed to eliminate the possibility of downtime, all while operating in a highly regulated environment. With the help of a business performance solution, the organization was able to create a new website, build more than eighty Web services and introduce a new web portal. As a result, it achieved improved customer service and increased product awareness, which translated to more bets being placed for increased overall revenue.
- A leading U.S.-based airline needed to update its maintenance system procedures, which included improving maintenance turnaround time, expanding access to maintenance support systems, enabling system access on mobile devices, and providing one simplified user interface for multiple backend systems. However, it was under a tight implementation deadline and the developers of the new applications had no knowledge of legacy code. By leveraging a business performance solution, they were able to quickly (in just four months) build complex services into the legacy system with no coding, and reuse mainframe services across many “new user experience” apps. In the end, this meant employees could work faster, smarter and more efficiently to report and repair mechanical issues. This led to reduced operational costs and improved “on time” statistics, as well as a substantial gain in overall business performance.
- A U.S.-based specialty benefits administrator wanted to eliminate high inquiry call volumes and modernize its procedures by providing physicians and members with self-service access and online account update/inquiry capability, at anytime from anywhere, via smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Yet, its current “home-grown” system was running on an antiquated platform (even by mainframe standards) and information could only be accessed internally via 3270 green screens. By implementing a business performance solution, the company was able to rapidly deploy an updated “intelligent integration and information” system within three months, while leveraging existing .NET skills and without the need for additional FTEs. This means physicians and members can now get immediate answers and faster, more efficient resolutions to their problems, improving satisfaction and streamlining business performance.
- A U.S.-based insurance provider sought to improve customer satisfaction by providing accurate, real-time insurance quotes, as well as mobile policy and rating access. This required communication to policy and rating engines housed on the home office mainframe, access to all the policy systems, including current accounts, and the ability to incorporate customer discount rates. By choosing to implement a business performance solution, they were able to improve agent responsiveness by simplifying and accelerating access to mainframe applications. As a result, customers are now able to instantly receive and accept accurate onsite quotes – right there with the agent in real-time – via all mobile devices, boosting both their satisfaction and the company’s productivity. Integrated mainframe access means customer profiles can swiftly be updated from any location and new Web services to streamline agent management can be quickly created, giving the company a substantial leg up on the competition and transforming their business model.
Optimized Performance is Within Reach
These organizations ? spanning gaming, travel, finance and insurance ? found ways to leverage their existing enterprise mainframe and applications to quickly integrate next-level mobility platforms and serve as examples of what Mobility 3.0 can look like in today’s competitive marketplace. By embracing business performance solutions, collectively they were able to design new services that add value to their brands and significantly improve customer service. Thus, priming them to stand out in a highly competitive landscape and respond to business climate changes in a more agile, targeted manner.
About the Authors:
Don Spoerke is senior software solution architect, and Dusty Rivers is principal technical architect for GT Software and an IBM Champion. For more than 30 years, GT Software has helped organizations align their enterprise IT infrastructure with their key business strategies by unifying business information across platforms, data formats or programming language.
1ComputerWorld, “Most Will Access Internet via Mobile Devices by 2015, IDC Says”
2Gartner, “Gartner Says Most Collaboration Applications Will Be Equally Available Across Multiple Devices by 2016”
3CIO, “BYOD in Bloom, According to Survey”