The Year in Enterprise Mobility: A Review of 2013

mobile-app-development2

We strive to keep you informed of the challenges, benefits, and ever-changing trends in the rapidly evolving world of enterprise mobility. Let’s take a moment to recap of some of the most important and exciting trends that we noted in 2013.

Enterprise Mobility Is Still a High Priority

The biggest trend we saw in 2013 was that enterprise mobility continued to be a high priority for business. In a 2013 survey of 200 IT executives, 82 percent identified enterprise mobility as very important. On the other hand, only 8 percent of survey respondents have a well-defined mobility strategy. Obstacles include cost, lack of in-house expertise, and especially security (less than 50 percent of respondents have a mobile security solution). The survey suggests that many IT executives recognize the need for outside help, and half of the respondents say that they are considering mobility-as-a-service solutions.

It’s clear that businesses and industry leaders want to take enterprise mobility to the next level, and they understand that in a world of proliferating mobility devices, apps, and support options, planning and strategy matter. We saw more evidence of this approach in some of the milestones that we crossed at Enterprise Mobile in 2013. We now manage more than 500,000 mobile devices across more than 70 countries, and we were recognized in Gartner’s very first Magic Quadrant for Managed Mobility Services for offering comprehensive services across a broad range of software and devices.

 The Mobile Landscape Is Changing

It may be cliché to say “the only constant is change,” but when it comes to the mobile landscape, it’s true. 2013 was no exception, and many businesses scrambled to take the guesswork out of choosing among the latest devices and platforms reaching the market. The next wave of mobile devices is arriving and enterprise mobility is rapidly moving beyond tablets and smartphones.

Wearable technology isn’t science fiction anymore. Most of us have heard about Google Glass, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The UK research company Visiongain found that wearable technology generated US$4.6 billion of business in 2013, and it predicts “explosive growth” in the sector over the next five years. All this rapid innovation might make it daunting to find and choose the best devices for your business, but with the right support and guidance, it’s an exciting challenge.

 BYOD Remains Relevant

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs remained a big force in enterprise mobility in 2013. Allowing employees to use their own devices for work can be a double-edged sword, but as companies develop coherent BYOD policies, they are avoiding potential chaos and opening the door to increased productivity and greater employee satisfaction. As businesses determined the real costs of BYOD—such as management, support, security, stipend practices, and legal considerations—they have started to gather requirements, set goals, define budgets, and optimize their BYOD strategies and execution.

 Mobile Security Is a Top Concern

BYOD or not, dozens of devices, or just a few, security is always a top concern in enterprise mobility. Securing any network is hard, and savvy IT executives know that safeguarding disparate devices, connections, and applications takes a well-planned mobile security strategy.

In 2013, we saw organizations develop policies that address a range of issues, such as regulation compliance, information privacy, device and application inventory, and data storage. Organizations that manage mobile security in-house often find it limiting—not to mention a time-sink for the IT staff. Others find that a trusted service provider can help them meet current threats, stay on top of industry trends, and optimize their mobile environment. By combining mobile device management, mobile application management, and mobile content management software, businesses can build an effective overall mobile management and security infrastructure that gives employees the agility they need without putting devices, apps, or data at risk. The upshot is that effective organizations use rigorous security planning to determine their mobile security path.

 Get Ready for More

2013 is almost over, but it’s not too late to get in on the hottest enterprise mobility trends of 2014. Check out our 2014 Enterprise Mobility Predictions, and learn what you can expect in the new year.

Image source: Forbes


BYOD: Evaluating the Real Costs

ipad-money

While they may be the latest trend in mobility, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs require careful consideration. The idea of allowing employees to bring in any device so that they can be more productive for the company seems like a win-win proposition. But many organizations hesitate when it comes to jumping on the BYOD bandwagon because they worry about skyrocketing costs—and they’re right to proceed with caution.

Not having to purchase mobile devices sounds like a cost saver, but developing for, managing, and supporting a heterogeneous mobile environment is usually more expensive than maintaining a standardized set of devices. Support is the area that causes the most concern: How do we support all kinds of models and platforms? Can we even provide custom apps to our user base? How do we support users getting their own devices and plans? Should we provide a mobile operator plan(s) to reduce costs? How will stipends work out? What are the legal details regarding data and device ownership? What are the costs for additional security software that mitigates risks?

It All Adds Up

A BYOD program, if done right, can be an effective way to enable mobility and increase productivity while maintaining employee satisfaction. The key is knowing if it makes sense for your organization.

There are many aspects of BYOD programs that have an effect on total cost of ownership. The best course of action is to conduct a thorough evaluation, starting with raw device costs and factoring in mobile device management (MDM) software or services and apps (whether off-the-shelf or custom-developed). Next, examine possible support costs, consider the impact of heterogeneous devices on your help desk, etc.

Of course, there are always unexpected costs. For instance, security breaches—the source of many an IT staff member’s nightmares—can happen, and they can have a huge impact, especially in certain business verticals. Some organizations fail to take into account legal considerations. A recent lawsuit charged that hourly employees should get extra pay if asked to check email after hours. Also on the legal side, wiping an entire personally owned device (even one that the user has agreed can be wiped by the organization if it’s lost or the user is terminated) can put the organization in the position of being liable for damages. It’s a gray area—more court cases need to be conducted before we can see where all of this will go—but one that you should think about.

Getting it Right

Luckily for all of us, BYOD programs aren’t all-or-nothing propositions. Most successful organizations take a hybrid approach, using BYOD as appropriate for different user groups. Often, upper-level managers get corporate-owned devices, back-office employees take part in BYOD programs, and field-facing staff might use a combination of the two, depending on needs. International organizations need to be guided by local labor laws and regulations because privacy rules are different around the world.

The most important piece of any BYOD program is to ensure that it’s structured correctly from the start. That means gathering requirements and goals, getting sponsors and defining budgets, and fine-tuning it based on user feedback to make sure the program continues to function well as technologies change.

Learn more about getting your BYOD program off on the right foot through our recent webinar, or for help from the experts, contact us.

 

images via: cultofmac


The Next Wave: New Mobile Devices

Until just a few years ago, if an upcoming device generated buzz, that device usually came from Apple. And today’s big event from Apple continues to bring lots of speculation. Apple still delivers great devices, but other players are making device innovation more competitive, going beyond the smartphone and tablet to bring information to you in new and different ways.

The World of Inspector Gadget

Leonardo-da-Vinci-Inspired-INSPECTOR-GADGET-T-Shirt-Threadless-600x559

Clip-on computers and “personal area networks” are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Wearable computers are becoming more and more prevalent—and it’s not just about dressing to impress. Visiongain, a UK research company, estimates that wearable technology is a US$4.6 billion business this year, with “explosive growth and high adoption rates” coming in the next five years.

Leading the way are health and fitness applications—health monitoring is an easy sell when it comes to wearable devices, which will be built into shoes, hats, and even clothing. But eventually, health and fitness applications will be surpassed by more general personal information applications. Imagine Apple’s Siri, but built right into the clothes you wear every day.

Another wave of the not-so-distant future is motion technology, which expands on the sort of capabilities you see in today’s Kinect apps for Xbox 360 and applies it to just about anything. It’s 3D interaction without even touching a device. From what I can see in the industry, it won’t be long before motion technology is part of our everyday lives.

But Back to Today

transparent-smartphone-concepts

Consumers already have a variety of mobile devices to choose from, and manufacturers are working quickly to deliver even more feature-rich products to market. But, just as twirling or “flaming” icons in an online ad don’t always result in more clicks, flashy new hardware and software doesn’t necessarily hit the mark for consumers. Consumers are increasingly aware of the need for a complete ecosystem of services, and I predict that providers who offer comprehensive services (such as Google, Amazon, and Apple) will receive more attention and better sales in the next few years as that awareness grows.

Later this month, consumers will have a chance to get their hands on Apple iOS 7, which is a giant leap forward in terms of major iOS releases. Apple is working to make iOS 7 devices more appealing to corporate users and organizations with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs in place through features such as:

  • Activation Lock, which prohibits a stolen device from being activated without the proper Apple ID accreditation
  • Application VPN, in which individual apps can establish a corporate VPN connection
  • Extended Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) features
  • Open In control, which dictates the apps that workers can use to open and share documents and attachments
  • Security updates to safeguard against non-trustworthy chargers and batteries

Of course, a few features, such as AirDrop for iOS (which makes it possible for users to share anything from any app using WiFi and Bluetooth), may be problematic for corporations that need to keep tight controls on their data. The jury is still out on whether AirDrop and other potentially troublesome features can be disabled through mobile device management. Stay tuned.

As I mentioned above, the coolest device isn’t necessarily the “must-have” device anymore. That’s certainly what I’ve seen with the Moto X and Samsung Galaxy S4, so I’m keeping watch on both of these products to see if there’s an uptick in consumer interest. And, as always, manufacturers are planning releases for the holiday shopping season, so keep your eyes open for new low-cost Android tablets, more Samsung devices (even wearables!), and an Apple announcement about two new models. It should also be noted that Android OEMs are coming up to speed with “kill switches,” similar to the Apple Activation Lock feature, as anti-theft mechanisms in their new devices—that’s good news all around for consumers.

Keeping up with the endless device launches can be daunting—savvy organizations turn to Enterprise Mobile to find the best devices to keep their employees happy and productive.

images via: Collider, Techcrates


In Case You Missed Them . . . A Quick Recap of July’s Webinars

Summer is typically a busy time, so you may have missed one or more of the outstanding webinars that we hosted this past July. The great thing about a webinar, of course, is that the content is still available, so it’s not too late to take advantage of the following:

The Irresistible Force of BYOD—How to Get it Running Securely

In this webinar, my colleague Marco Nielsen, VP of Services and Chief Mobility Architect at Enterprise Mobile, shares tips for selecting the right mobility solutions for successful BYOD (bring-your-own-device) programs, from strategy through execution and support. Marco talks about the importance of understanding your specific user segments and requirements. Once you’ve reached this understanding, you can develop the correct usage policies and support models to minimize frustration and control IT budget.

Of course, creating those policies can be tricky business. Organizations need to enforce required policies on corporate information while working around the personal information that’s usually installed on users’ devices. Marco details seven key areas for policy creation, ranging from policies around device and data plans to policies about apps and privacy.

For many organizations, implementing BYOD programs can feel like a series of unknowns, but Marco walks through some of the process-related questions that smart organizations ask and answer at the outset. He also stresses the importance of security and proper execution through management solutions. Watch the webinar to find out some useful mobile application management and security best practices, plus how to avoid the “gotchas” related to support. After viewing the webinar, you’ll be able to confidently move forward with your own BYOD programs, staying at the forefront of mobility trends and fostering improved productivity and user satisfaction. If you need help getting started on your BYOD policy, check out the BYOD Policy Template.

How to Simplify Your Mobile Application Development Process

Today’s users expect a lot more from mobile devices than the ability to access email on the go. CRM  (customer reference management), invoicing, sales—the list goes on when it comes to apps that users want on their mobile devices.

As they deepen their commitment to mobility, many more organizations are building new, custom apps to address their evolving business needs. The mobile app development process isn’t easy, so this webinar shares ways to simplify that process. The webinar’s panel discussion features experts such as Neil McHugh, Director of Global Software at Intermec Technologies; Garrick Fiala, Software Engineering Manager at Intermec Technologies; and Marco Nielsen, VP of Services and Chief Mobility Architect at Enterprise Mobile.

Our panelists identify some of the processes that are most worth mobilizing, from field sales to business reporting, and they also suggest the best ways to get started. One of their primary areas of focus is secure mobility—the panel takes a look at safeguarding apps through a multilayered security program.

Custom development of mobile apps isn’t for everybody, so the panel examines cases in which it’s more practical to port legacy apps to new platforms, in addition to situations where from-scratch development makes more sense. The group explores off-the-shelf versus in-house development and notes that if you’re considering developing a mobile app, you need to think about which version of HTML to use based on the speed of your development plans. It’s also important to determine whether to run the mobile app in the cloud or on-premises.

Regardless of where your organization currently stands on the mobile app spectrum, knowing your options and all the pros and cons of custom mobile app development will help you make the right decisions as you continue to invest in mobility. Watch the webinar to learn more.