China remains the world’s strongest market for the successful implementation of mobility technologies, with two thirds of Chinese businesses citing good progress in meeting their key mobility priorities, compared to just 44 percent globally, according to a study by Accenture. Consistent with this was the finding that nearly four out of five Chinese businesses (78 percent) described their overall adoption and deployment of mobile technologies as effective, compared to under half of others (46 percent) pointing to a positive experience that will help Chinese companies succeed as they implement other digital technologies.
To better understand how companies currently view and use digital technologies – especially mobility, one of the key enablers of the digital business – Accenture surveyed nearly 1,500 C-level executives across 14 countries for the Accenture Mobility Insights Report 2014, including 100 in China. The research found that for Chinese businesses, mobility is a major strategic area of focus compared to other markets, with 59 percent naming it in their top two priorities for the coming year, and 87 percent naming it in the top five, compared to 77 percent of global peers. Overall, Chinese respondents named digital technologies as a higher priority than the global average, with 79 percent placing Mobility, Analytics, Connected Products, Cloud and Social in their top five, compared to 67 percent globally.
Of the mobility priorities that Chinese respondents cited extensive or very good progress on, generating deeper customer insights through mobile analytics scored highest at 75 percent compared to a global average of 47 percent. Driving revenue through customer engagement on mobile devices followed at 74 percent, against just 39 percent globally. China was also significantly ahead of other markets in terms of developing new mobile-specific products or services (71 percent compared to 43 percent on average), as well as in improving asset reliability and maintenance through the deployment of sensors and other mobile technologies, where 70 percent in China have made good progress compared to only 44 percent elsewhere.
“China was significantly ahead of the rest of the world when we looked at digital priorities and progress in businesses,” said Neil Hickey, managing director of Accenture Mobility in Greater China, part of Accenture Digital. “It’s no coincidence that Chinese companies are also more likely to have a formal enterprise-wide mobility strategy than others around the world, with over half (56 percent) stating this was the case compared to just 43 percent elsewhere. In fact, of only four percent of Chinese companies lacking a formal mobility strategy, all of them said they were in the process of developing one, which demonstrates a clear appreciation of the importance of a holistic and well-executed strategy to successful technology implementations.”
While China has demonstrated clear strengths in its mobility implementations to date, there are also clear areas of opportunity for improving results. When it comes to mobile applications, China is actually behind many of its global counterparts. One example of this is around the discoverability of apps and their adoption by target audiences, which 45 percent of Chinese firms named a challenge, compared to only 38 percent of companies globally. Chinese companies suffered in-line with the global average (43 percent compared to 41 percent) from performance issues in apps leading to bad reviews, and fell below par on user experience, with 44 percent of Chinese respondents citing poor experiences that led to a lack of engagement as a challenge, compared to a global average of 40 percent.
More respondents in China (38 percent) than any other country stated that a lack of usage data for applications to identify performance issues was a challenge in developing and maintaining apps. This lack of data to inform decision-making is not only limited to applications, as three quarters (77 percent) of Chinese businesses lack any formal metrics to measure the effectiveness of their mobility initiatives, and 75 percent have no formal process for identifying, evaluating and prioritizing ways in which mobility can benefit the business.
“While China leads the world on having mobility strategies, it seems they are not necessarily ticking all the right boxes with them”, continued Hickey. “Without measurements in place to understand the success – or otherwise – of a technology implementation, it can be impossible to learn lessons for future implementations and improve results. The collection and analysis of data to inform actions and achieve real business results is a vital pillar of a digital business. In the area where China was weakest in this report – mobile applications – it’s clear that a lack of data on the performance of apps is one of the biggest challenges in mobilizing Chinese businesses, and their uptake won’t improve until companies understand what’s going wrong and why. China is leading the way in the adoption of digital technologies, but until enterprises understand the importance of performance data gathering from each area of the business to provide real insight to decision makers, they could be holding themselves back from achieving outstanding results.”
The report also showed that, despite Chinese businesses aggressively pursuing and investing in mobile technologies (62 percent compared to a global average of 40 percent), they are no more likely to report the generation of significant return on investment from their mobile capabilities in the past two years than their global peers.