Mobile Technology is the latest disruption in current business practices as companies attempt to understand the power of mobility and capitalize on that power effectively and successfully. While having a mobile workforce is nothing new to business with telecommuters, field workers, and work-from-home programs becoming standard practices, the technology supporting the mobile workforce has advanced drastically. The benefits of mobile technology are explosive as innovators learn to use all mobility has to offer to impact day-to-day operations without leaving the work office. According to Gartner, an enterprise will succeed or fail based on how it responds to social, cloud, mobility and big data.

An infographic by Gartner describing the various forces acting on the MDM market

Why is Mobility Important to Consider?

Mobility has been primarily consumer-driven; that is, customers are attracted to the advantages of acting on-the-run. These same customers are more likely to stay loyal to a company if they can “access” the company through phone, messaging, or Internet. Companies have generated strategies to share knowledge freely with their customer because of the web and are finding favor when they expand more capabilities for the customer. Business-driven mobility seeks to leverage solutions to exploit opportunities in the market quickly and cost-effectively. In supporting the customer, companies seek mobile strategies which are device-, location- and platform-independent.

As companies grow mobile capabilities for their customer, they have an opportunity to grow capabilities for their employees. 13% of full-time employees surveyed in 2011 believe they had better computing systems at work than at home. 56% of CIOs report a strong demand from employees to support a wider range of mobile devices. Mobile technology has evolved quickly and become less expensive than a decade ago. Most technology providers in mobile devices maintain a yearly development for each new iteration of supported devices. Many IT departments (48%) consider themselves late adopters of social networking applications and consumer-oriented devices. So while the demand exists for mobility in the workplace, the capabilities needed to support it may not be there at this time. The greatest reluctance by IT departments to expand mobile capabilities has been limitations in existing infrastructures.

What is Enterprise Mobility?

Enterprise Mobility is the set of technology, applications, process and policies that support the possibility to perform business activities anywhere at any time. Especially for those not bound to an office chair, mobility allows them to access the same information in real time as their counterpart in the office. This flexibility aids in five areas according to the McKinsey report, titled “The mobile disruption: The next enterprise IT shake-up”:

  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Core Content productivity
  • Administrative efficiency
  • Machine-2-machine sensor networks
  • Mobile solutions to customers

The most prevalent challenge in enterprise mobility is security. The primary issue is allowing access to privileged information from an uncontrolled device. However, 75% of employees are currently using one device for both personal and business use. The other challenge is the complexity involved in developing and deploying mobile applications. While some companies may build web-based applications designed from the start for mobile use; others may be retrofitting their current applications to work effectively from mobile devices. Cost is cited by 41% of CIO as a challenge for moving forward with any mobility strategy.

Where is Enterprise Mobility Heading?

Forbes reports the major trends driving mobile strategies are greater demand for connectivity to job resources, the merging of business and leisure activities (bleisure), multi-modal integration, and a young mobile workforce. Other technologies are also driving mobile adoption, such as social networking. Companies are transforming systems into cloud-based platforms which can be a precursor to mobile access as the data is already available on the cloud. Big-data analytics allow for the collection of data from anywhere and under any situation. Using mobile devices as a collection tool can put these efforts in analytics into overdrive.

How companies look at mobility has shifted significantly. Traditionally, executives have thought of the business in terms of Total Cost of Ownership. This viewpoint is shifting towards a Total Cost of Mobility. Total Cost of Mobility is rational when considering how operational and administrative divisions in processes are becoming transparent and mobility has played a significant role in supporting and merging multiple functions within a company.

Future of corporate mobility

The Future of Enterprise Mobility

More companies will be adopting enterprise mobility strategies if they haven’t already. 77% of CIOs are planning to allow employees to access company data and applications using personal devices. The marketplace is growing for enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites to integrate mobile devices into existing security frameworks and systems. Gartner reports organizations will have need of some or all the features for mobile device management, mobile application management, mobile identity, and mobile content management.