Nokia: Ringing the changes

Why embracing social networking sites is good for business


“IT doesn’t sit around to make IT, it is there to solve business issues or support business opportunities. That’s the insight I have brought into Nokia,” says John Clarke, CIO and senior vice president of Nokia.

It has taken just ten years for the mobile industry to reach three billion subscribers, and of these, 850 million devices are Nokia devices. The Finnish mobile phone company has the lion’s share of this market, and is the world’s largest maker of phone equipment. “The number of mobile phones in the world exceeds the number of toothbrushes,” says Clarke.

“The greatest thing about my role is that we are creating a new industry, and Nokia is at the forefront of a new mobile ecosystem. Not sure if it will be called Web 2.0 or Mobile 2.0 or Web 3.0, but we are at the forefront of trying to create that vision.” But the behemoth can’t afford to rest on its laurels. It must continue to innovate to hold on to its position.

This includes converging Web 2.0 with mobility, and striking a balance between the need to innovate and security. “We have the ability – given our global size – to create an industry and create a new dimension to that. We are right at the very start of that transformation around mobile services and development. That’s why it’s an exciting time to be a CIO, and be part of the innovation around this whole stream of mobile services, mobile devices, that are changing how we work,” Clarke explains, adding that Web 2.0 and mobility are not yet natural partners and there is still much to be done.

The 20-year veteran of IT explores issues such as: how do social networks form? What is the flow of information? How do business processes work? This questioning is important, because Nokia is undergoing a transformation designed to connect its human resources with the business value. The programme, called Nokia Way of working, or Wow for short, is based on engaging employees and encouraging feedback to create a “flat, networked organisation”.

Clarke describes the programme as a way to engineer opportunities and ideas. One such Wow trend is the explosion of mobility in the enterprise where the next generation of “digital natives” bring their own mobile device to the organisation.

Recently, speaking at a Gartner event in Barcelona, Clarke encouraged this boom of mobility as contributing towards today’s “liquid professional workplace.”

“Most new recruits will bring a multimedia mobile device into the enterprise,” says Clarke. “And these devices that are invading the workplace are growing more powerful, with vaster memories and multiple functions.” Intelligent devices However, Clarke says this plethora of new devices and the use of social networking and new Web 2.0 applications is something employers should “encourage and maximise on”, because it provides enterprises with new opportunities, as mobiles are becoming an “essential, intelligent media device” for the end user.

Find your next job with computerworld UK jobs

"Recommended For You"

Making social networking deliver for you Forrester: IT leaders set to embrace Web 2.0 in 2008