Q&A with Ilicco Elia

Q&A with Ilicco Elia

Ilicco is Head of Mobile at Deloitte Digital where he leads the mobile practice with overall responsibility for the strategy and delivery of mobile apps and services to both consumer and enterprise audiences.

Ilicco has been in the mobile industry since it was dominated by Nokia and Motorola and has built many award-winning apps and services for companies big and small.

He was voted one of the Guardian’s top 100 people in Media and while at Reuters developed the Reuters Mobile Journalism toolkit (2006) which went on to be the forerunner and basis of today’s mobile journalism trend.


You took the role as Head of Mobile with Deloitte Digital last year. What excited you about working with the company?

The opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients and affect change in the way they work. I am interested in how mobile technology can completely change the way a company engages to both its customers and employees and I love it when I can put that into practice.

Throughout your career, what have been the most rewarding projects you’ve worked on?

Projects that use today’s technology in new ways to solve today’s problems. Redefining how journalists use mobile technology and seeing it become mainstream was a fantastic feeling. And more recently taking a client from an idea to a first release of their app in about 3 months - way faster than they have ever done before - is very satisfying.

You spent 22 years at Thomson Reuters developing new technology that redefined how journalists gathered and distributed news. What do you think the mainstream media is ‘getting right’ at the moment and where do you see digital taking the media industry in the future?

Finally they have taken mobile seriously and are building websites and apps for consumer use! Many individual journos are using mobile tech in their everyday reporting lives and more and more it is being heralded as the default way to file stories. So that’s all good. I still struggle with today’s news, but I am not sure that if thats the fault of today’s media… 

With regards to mobile, what companies/brands mobile offerings are you most impressed by at the lately? 

Starbucks took a giant leap a while ago and changed many processes and their entire till system to enable the use of mobile. It took a lot of guts/foresight to completely redevelop their systems “just” to allow a consumer to “pay with their mobile phone rather than with a debit card”. That leap of faith means they are now very well placed to enable remote ordering, mobile loyalty, location based incentives and generally to know more about their customers, which will/has in turn enabled a much better experience and driven loyalty to their brand. That initial leap of faith is vitally important.

What’s your favourite platforms and people for keeping up with digital advancements?

The Politico tech and policy coverage is very interesting in enabling me to see what the government and industry thinks is important, i.e. what policies are about to make waves. In terms of people, I'd say Benedict Evans from A16Z, Lara O’Reilly from WSJ and Mobile Marketing Magazine – which is the closest we will get to a mobile family in the UK. But mostly my amazing RSS feed of hundreds of site and blogs that I read religiously. I started collecting blogs and feeds a long while ago and now have an awesome categorised collection of pretty much all the news (mainly tech) I need.