A few years ago, mobility alone was a powerful disruptive force. Of course, it’s still making waves today, but what’s really disruptive is the incredible pace of change in both tech capabilities and employee demands. For CIOs, the only way to keep up is to remain flexible.

You wanted it. You got it!

CIOs no longer need to be convinced that enabling employees to use powerful mobile devices for work is a good thing. They’re pretty sold on the benefits.

In fact, according to CSC’s 2014-2015 global CIO survey, over half (56%) of them have already invested moderately-to-heavily in enterprise mobility, with more planning to do so soon.

So then, if a consensus has seemingly been reached amongst CIOs that mobility is great and that every business that can use it should, why is it still discussed so much? And why does Ovum still rank it among the top CIO priorities for 2015?

Well, quite simply, mobility isn’t just a fire-and-forget initiative. It’s evolving, in both its capabilities, and the challenges it presents. New trends are constantly emerging, and the more that businesses experiment with their own mobile strategies, the more they’ve found there is to learn and perfect.

Making mobile do more

The line between mobility and core business IT is blurring.

For those with the most ambitious, forward-looking strategies, the focus has shifted from providing mobile access to data and apps that are available in the office, to using mobile flexibility and connectivity to extend more data and functionality to employees than ever before.

Today’s CIOs should constantly look for specific opportunities where mobile technology could improve a particular business process.

In practice, this is going to mean working more closely with line-of-business teams to understand their needs, and scaling up mobility plans to support more people across more areas of the business.

By addressing everyone’s mobile needs, CIOs can start driving innovation and collaboration across the enterprise. New mobile apps and tools don’t just give everyone access to more data than ever before, they also help everyone become better connected at all levels of the business.

Clearly this ongoing strengthening and expansion of mobility strategy and infrastructure is going to require additional investment—and it falls to the CIO to find a cost-effective way of making it happen. The time to consider an “as-a-Service” model to reduce capex pressure and meet scalability demands is here.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

It’s important to recognize that while CIOs are getting better at understanding their employees’ mobile demands, the consumerization of IT is also progressing at a blistering speed.

While CIOs may feel that they know exactly what their team wants, in many cases there is still a great disconnect between what people really want and what’s actually being delivered. It was a problem when mobility first emerged, and it’s still a problem now.

Now, the pressure is coming from more directions than ever before. Line-of-business leaders are finding their own mobile solutions to meet their specific department’s demands, employees want access to business apps on multiple devices, including their personal ones. And, on top of that, other members of the C-suite are looking to the CIO to lead a powerful mobility strategy.

On top of that, some challenges that have been around since the dawn of mobility still persist:

  1. Device costs

Employees want the latest, most powerful devices available. But, they come at steep list prices, and 12-24 months down the line, they’re going to need replacing again. This constant cycle of high spending is pushing more and more businesses to consider an “as-a-service” model for mobility that enables them to swap steep Capex investments for predictable Opex costs.

  1. The cost and complexity of scaling

As your business grows, you need more devices. But to add them on, IT departments often have to rethink their entire mobile environment—and building a new one from the ground up isn’t just time consuming, it’s costly too.

  1. Management and support

When a device is put into an employee’s hand, that doesn’t signal the end of the management workload. Far from it. Mobility management teams have far more work to do; constantly fielding requests and inquiries from users, while still trying to complete routine management tasks such as updates and new deployments.

Take a solid stance on flexibility

Mobility offers such huge productivity, efficiency, and innovation boosting benefits. The risks of not supporting it fully are too great for businesses to ignore. And, keeping up is just one of a range of mobile challenges they need to tackle.

Here are some key things to consider:

  • Build a scalable mobility platform that can easily expand in line with business demands
  • Listen to everyone at all levels of the business—especially those leading lines of business—so you know exactly what those demands will be
  • And finally, don’t get locked into working with vendors who won’t enable your strategy to change as time goes on

How have your mobility challenges changed lately? And what are you doing to overcome them? It may require an entirely new wireless acquisition model.