From Mobility to the Enterprise – the Evolution of Enterprise Mobility

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Market Research Store reported that the global Enterprise Mobility market was $ 85 Billion in 2014, and would touch $ 500 Billion in 2020.

Mobile Technology is taking over the world, and the workplace! Right from routine work and office chores to more specialized tasks, we have devices that help perform all tasks faster and in a more efficient manner. In the face of the rapid adoption of smartphones worldwide, many enterprises are still only trying to understand how they can leverage mobility and make it an integral part of the day-to-day functionality of their enterprise. There really is no choice – mobility will definitely overtake enterprises in the very near future so you need a coherent strategy right now.

There are a lot of ways in which Enterprise Mobility can be adopted, delivered and supported. While the finer details will depend on various aspects such as the size of the enterprise, the competitive situations, its business goals, marketing strategies, the end result they are looking at and so on. While you consider how to integrate mobility into your plans let’s take a look at how the adoption of mobility in the enterprise has evolved and whether this evolution offers some clues on what’s coming next?

1) Mobile Connectivity:

Mobile connectivity, as the name suggests, is all about giving access to the staff for basic mobile services such as email, calendar and instant messaging. First introduced by Blackberry, this facility is now being extended to all types of devices. The idea is to open up access to mobile devices in a secure way. New devices are always being introduced in the market with such features built-in, with a hope of capturing a slice of the enterprise market. This has now become the default mode of business, a survey reported that nearly 2 in 3 business decision-makers read their email on mobile devices. Once the basics are taken care of, the next step could be to allow enterprise contacts to be added to the local address book or combining lists of personal and business contacts.

2) Mobile Productivity:

Mobile productivity refers to concepts such as mobile intranet facility, access to documents, management tools, and their collaboration, enterprise applications, delivery of corporate news and other updates through mobile devices. These features will basically provide workers with better work tools on their mobile devices and information when they need it, even if they are not in the office. The trend started with basic office productivity tools but moved smartly into solutions that leveraged the fact that the worker was now mobile, to add features designed to perform special tasks – for eg. Location sensing to gather info. from remote locations. In fact, a research report released by 451 Research late last year, showed that 40% of the enterprises surveyed were planning to mobilize the general business staff, rather than, the more mobile, sales or field service staff. If features like these work well, efforts can be made to try and integrate other similar functions on mobile phones.

3) Offline Functionality:

While a lot of new mobile applications and software are being introduced in the market to accomplish different kinds of tasks or collaborate with different sets of data, most of them require internet connectivity. They support employees in their day-to-day work. But new technology looks at exploring options that provide offline synchronization and eliminate the need for constant mobile connectivity. These might be in the form of single-purpose applications that provide forms or data without the use of the internet. This is particularly useful for employees who may be performing tasks in the field, with limited or unpredictable connectivity. Growth in this field can change the dynamics of how a lot of different kinds of sectors function.

4) Desktop Replacement:

Another form of enterprise mobility is the use of smaller devices which can replace desktops or large devices. These are iPads, Notebooks, Ultrabooks or Mini Laptops – some belonging to the employees, as the BYOD movement shows. New versions of these that are introduced in the market come with high functionality and great performance so they are capable of undertaking as many tasks as a desktop all at once. The Cloud is playing a synergistic role here – as more and more software becomes SaaS-based and storage moves offline the need for having heavy configurations on the desktop is obviated. Smaller, sleeker, faster devices with limited compute power are taking over. Gartner report earlier this year that for the first time worldwide shipments of PCs declined by 9.6% – losing out to mobile devices no doubt.

The key to achieving measurable business results from mobile strategies is by continually focusing on giving the employees an enhanced user experience along with functionality. As such, it is very critical to develop ways to streamline the mobile application development and deployment process and ensure that user feedback is incorporated at each stage. Reducing app development cycles and rapidly evolving mobile systems will both become critical as the market, and employee expectations change rapidly. In future posts, we will dive deeper into the nuts and bolts of designing and developing the apps that will make Enterprise Mobility work for the enterprise.

Larry Page said, “We are no longer in a mobile-first world. We are in a mobile-only world!”. That day may be a way off for enterprises – but rest assured it is coming! The question is only whether we will be ready?

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