Application development challenges, more load on IT support staff, privacy regulation complexities, data security risks on one hand; and employee demands, increase in productivity, sales efficiency, and ROI on the other, has been creating dilemma for CIOs to decide whether to implement enterprise mobility for their business or not. But this indeed is changing with time. Technology investments on mobility are increasing exponentially and expected to rise further over the next three to five years. Mobility will be a driving force for enterprises to adopt for their business in the next few years is what many industry experts think.
Enterprise Mobility Trends in 2012:
Let’s take a look at some of the trends defined by industry experts at the beginning of this year and how things have shaped up along these lines by end of this year. Listed below are some of the key trends in enterprise mobility:
1. Evolution in Smart Devices
There has been continuous evolution in smart devices – phone and tablets, mobile OS, screen sizes, resolution, touch-screen functionalities, new features etc.
- Proliferation of device platforms and mobile devices – As per IDC report – Apple’s iOS (16.9 %) and Google’s Android (68.1%) are the leaders with 85% of worldwide mobile market. Blackberry (4.8%) which is considered to be the right enterprise device has fallen but is trying hard with their new Blackberry 10 set to be launched in January 2013. Microsoft (Windows mobile – 3.5%) along with partnership with device manufacturers has released few Windows mobile phones which are now popular – Nokia Lumia Series, Samsung Ativ S, HTC Windows Phone 8X is in catch-up mode and started competing in mobile office productivity applications and devices.
- Device fragmentation – Android market is the most fragmented with one developer encountering over 3,997 devices, with multiple variations of OS versions, screen sizes and customization required. Google is however working towards some level of standardization. This will take some time, but the move will continue to be in the right direction as enterprise mobility growth is demanding for standardization.
- Tablets usage – Within organizations, tablets are becoming more prevalent with launch of Google Nexus7, iPad Mini, iPad 3, Microsoft Surface etc. this year.
- Windows devices – Many Enterprises prefer Windows as their primary system for enterprise mobility solution and release of Windows 8 with launch of Microsoft Surface (tablet) in Oct, 2012 will drive organizations to implement a tablet based system.
2. Enhancement in HTML5 Technology
3. Mobile Strategy and Roadmap put together by Enterprise Thought Leaders
More and more organizations are realizing the need for mobility solution for their business. Decision makers and thought leaders are investing good amount of time to analyze the ROI and kind of business value mobility solution will bring in for their organization. Increase in productivity (with prompt interaction between customers and employees) and increase in sales are the two primary requirements for organizations. This can be achieved by implementing an enterprise mobility solution. Therefore, organizations are creating a long-term mobile strategy and roadmap before implementing the solution, as opposed to implementing one-off micro-solutions like the beginning of mobility era.
4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) are Fast Maturing
BYOD is associated with legal, employee privacy, security and regulatory issues. IT team now days are more open to BYOD concept due to increasing demand for it by their employees. Past few months, there has been mixed discussions on the BYOD topic. Few industry experts think this trend is declining. But some of the leading mobile research experts such as Forrester & Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) Analysts talk about expansion in BYOD and are giving advice to IT support team to focus in this field. Also, Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) technology solutions are fast growing and are providing secure provisioning and monitoring of mobile devices and applications.
5. Partnerships between Mobile Hardware and Software Providers
There has been quite a few partnerships among mobile ecosystem players and have integrated between their hardware and software technologies. To name a few, Microsoft – Nokia for Windows mobile OS, Google acquired Motorola’s Mobility division and Google tied-up with Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony – device manufacturers to support Android OS. These kinds of partnerships will increase substantially.
Significant Learning in 2012
You have read about the enterprise mobility trends in 2012 mentioned above in this article. Here we would like to share some of our experiences and learning in 2012 – from our interactions with customers at various stages during implementation of our enterprise mobility projects.
When we look back at some of the main enterprise mobility projects we deployed this year, it was a mixed feeling as we started working on these projects – seemed exciting, challenging and finally overwhelming when the mobile service went live.
Our experience might help you learn, think, implement and deploy your mobile services in the right way. Therefore, converting our experiences in the form of useful tips for you, which you might want to consider while building your enterprise mobility solution:
- Right Mobile Strategy: For a successful enterprise mobility solution, a good mobile strategy is essential. You should start with basic requirements – what is achievable, realistic and that provides an ROI. This will help you to manage the complexity of developing a mobile strategy.
- End-to-End Implementation Analysis: Enterprises looking for mobile solution should consider elements and challenges across the development cycle – which mobile OS to select from?, are multiple mobile technologies required?, are there any implications on security and privacy? etc.
- Think long-term: You should plan a roadmap of atleast two years window. More than 2 years is not recommended since mobile technology is fast evolving, we do not know what is coming up three to five years from now.
- Modify Your IT Strategy – Relook at your overall IT strategy with mobilization as a main infrastructure and support issue. Understand how infrastructure might need to change based on mobility requirements. Mobility has a very specific set of requirements, which your legacy IT infrastructure may not be designed to address. Your existing VPN, device management systems, applications architecture might not work over latency networks, you need to have a strategy for that too.
- Select Future-Proof technology option: Enterprise mobility is evolving so rapidly that future proofing your mobile strategy is critical. Selecting technologies such as HTML5 will reduce your risk.
For Mobile Enterprise Application Providers:
- Simple and User-friendly Service: Provide an self-explanatory and easy to use application for your customers
- Study the Infrastructure: Ensure your customer’s underlying infrastructure is right to support mobility before you start developing applications.
- Analyze ERP Systems thoroughly: You need to understand your customer’s business process, security policies and systems properly before you integrate to their systems.
- Detail study of the Business Requirements: You should analyze all the business requirements of your customers, before recommending the right mobile technology option for your customer. Example – what are the mobile OS already supported?, which new ones will add value?, how soon does your customer want to deploy the mobility solution? and what ROI are they looking for?.
- Offline Connectivity: Sometimes Internet connectivity might not be available. Provide a solution which will work offline too.
- Rigorous Mobile Testing: Before deploying the enterprise mobility service, a detailed testing at various check points is essential.
- Regular Update: Post service launch, provide frequent and seamless updates for your mobility solution to your customer. A good frequency would be once in 6 months.
- Change management: Find out and keep in mind the changes which might happen in the business when implementing mobile solutions for your customer, especially around policy and behavioral changes.
Hope our experience and learning is useful to you and do share your thoughts.