The Year in Enterprise Mobility: A Review of 2013

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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


Your Budget is Your Strategy: Key Considerations for 2014

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Enterprise mobility gets plenty of attention, but when budget season rolls around, it’s important to focus as much on the fundamentals as on the latest industry trends. Creating a budget is more than just number-crunching—it’s a strategic activity that is influenced by device usability, security, logistics, and collaboration. Focusing on the six key items below will help your organization increase profitability and productivity for 2014 and beyond.

1. Hardware and connectivity.

Companies have a myriad of mobile device options, creating the need to navigate a sea of hardware types and operating system variations. Furthermore, customers must pay attention to the influences created by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. Hardware selection can be based on a variety of factors, such as form factor, wireless carrier compatibility, battery life, application availability, screen size, and more. For corporate-owned assets, evaluating leasing versus capital expenditure is important, not just to spread out costs but to enable a vehicle for consistent device refresh. Hardware, usage, and data costs are strongly influenced by your BYOD strategy. If you’re moving toward a stipend BYOD model and retiring corporate devices, your hardware lifecycle costs might decrease. However, there will be new factors to consider, such as whether employees are being reimbursed for data plans on additional personal devices. It’s also important to take into account the number of employees who still use corporate-liable devices—such as salespeople or those with access to protected data.

2. Security and management.

As your mobile user base grows, so will costs for security and mobile device management (MDM), including software licensing, support, hosting, and administration. With the rise of cloud-based MDM solutions, many companies are turning the capital costs of MDM servers into more predictable operational costs by paying for security software monthly or annually. On the security side, platform- and application-level security measures need to be consistently updated in light of evolving threats. It is also important to invest in user education and engagement, which is an inexpensive and effective way to reduce security risks.

3. Mobile support.

Help-desk costs can vary greatly depending on the mix of employee-owned and corporate-owned devices. For corporate-owned devices, employees expect support for issues involving hardware, applications, device replacement, and more. On the BYOD side, users can self-support to some degree, but BYOD programs don’t eliminate the need for help-desk services. Some companies offer users full access to a traditional phone-based help desk; others provide employee-to-employee communities or limit support to self-service resources. Costs will vary depending on your model.

4. Application planning, development, costs, and support.

Apps are at the heart of mobile productivity. In addition to licensing costs for third-party apps and development costs for internally built apps, companies need to consider the cost of creating, maintaining, deploying, and supporting in-house apps. Corporate-owned devices are ideal for the addition of applications to drive customer service and productivity gains. In a BYOD scenario, ensuring that everyone has access to the apps they need can be more expensive than with corporate-owned devices. Support also comes into play in the app space. If users come to rely on certain apps for day-to-day work, resources need to be available when those apps aren’t functioning properly or if an end user needs help using them.

5. Lost and broken equipment costs.

Sometimes mobile devices get damaged, lost, or stolen. The costs may vary depending on your company’s policies, but the risks should be taken into account regardless. Although, “bring your own” can also mean “fix your own” and “replace your own,” that’s not always the case, particularly if the device is damaged while an employee is on the job. And your organization will definitely be responsible for covering the costs associated with corporate-owned devices. Ensuring that devices are quickly replaced is key to maximizing the value of your investment in corporate-owned mobile devices.

6. Content management and collaboration.

With the basics of your mobility strategy largely addressed, the next step is to extend capability and access to deployed devices. Before doing so, it is critical to consider how content will be securely managed, accessed, and shared. With a variety of tools available, including cloud-based, on-premises, and hybrid implementation approaches, enterprise customers need to determine the best way to enable and endorse content collaboration while mitigating risk.

With your budgets and plans in order for 2014, you have a solid foundation for tackling key strategic priorities. To get a head start on your BYOD plans or mobility strategy updates, check out these resources.


The Mobile Deployment Puzzle: How to Solve It

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Deployment is an often-overlooked area of a company’s mobile strategy. Get it right, and your employees are off and running without a second thought. Get it wrong, and your mobile initiatives will suffer. Part three in our series of solution briefs will guide you through the ins and outs of deployment, including:

  • Strategies for a measured, headache-free rollout.

    Managers and employees tend to be eager to adopt new mobile devices, and their enthusiasm can put pressure on IT departments to get devices into everyone’s hands quickly. Learn what up-front work is necessary—from scripting settings to choosing the right accessories—to ensure that the devices are ready to use and that you have a protocol in place when employees need help.

  • Unexpected deployment situations.

    Sometimes it doesn’t matter how carefully you plan your deployment. Specific business scenarios call for rapid deployment and make even the most organized IT departments scramble for reinforcements. And, much as you might not expect it, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs have an impact on corporate rollouts, too. Read about what you can do to prepare for these situations so you can be an IT hero in times of need.

  • Soup-to-nuts deployment.

    A solid rollout has all the bases covered, including purchasing decisions, app testing, asset management, and device disposal. Even the nimblest companies can have trouble predicting the impact that their mobile deployments will have on their organizations. Learn more about the different aspects of deployment so you can stay true to your mobility goals of optimizing employee productivity and maximizing your return on investment.

Get help solving your mobile deployment puzzle today – download the solution brief.


All about Mobility: How your company can create a long-term mobile strategy

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A revolution is taking place, and it’s happening in every corporate office across the globe. Mobile devices have completely transformed the way we work, and with the increasing capabilities of the next generation of devices, the need to incorporate mobility into your strategic planning is only going to increase.

So how do you tap into this potential? Mobile phones and tablets aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and a successful mobile strategy will have to think long-term in order to benefit your business.

To help guide you, we’re launching a series of solution briefs covering everything from mobility planning to device deployment. We’ll be posting them on the blog frequently, so we recommend you check back regularly. Our first solution brief on enterprise mobility planning offers tips on:

How to get your strategy off the ground

Like any good plan, developing a strategy always comes first. Planning for your mobile enterprise today and tomorrow will help save you money and prevent duplication of efforts. It’ll also protect your corporate data and enable your employees to do more.

Thinking beyond the device

Blackberries used to rule the enterprise, and your mobility strategy simply involved securing the end device. Today, this is no longer the case, and now you have to take devices, apps, data, storage, content and telecom expenses into consideration.

Aligning your business goals

Take heed: don’t invest in mobility for the sake of mobility. This is the easiest way to ensure no return on your investment. Your mobility strategy must align with your business goals and not just your goals for this year, but your long-term business goals too.

Our solution brief on enterprise mobility training is available for download here.

 


Survey of IT Execs Identifies Enterprise Mobility Challenges and Trends

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Organizations talk about the value of mobility in specific terms—productivity, reduced costs, better customer service, agility in the marketplace—but to what extent are they taking steps to realize these benefits? How many even have a strategy for deploying mobility across the enterprise, much less for implementing specific mobility solutions?

A recent survey explores the status of enterprise mobility in terms of its importance to organizations, what kinds of strategies they’re developing to make mobility work, and what their concerns are about it. In other words, what are organizations actually doing about enterprise mobility right now, and what will they be doing in the next several months?

The survey of more than 200 IT executives across a range of mid- to large-size businesses offers some interesting results. Not surprising is the large number of organizations that identify enterprise mobility as an increasingly important part of their business that will play a significant part in their upcoming IT plans. Also not surprising is that many companies do not yet have a well-defined strategy for putting their ideas and plans into practice. What is surprising is just how wide the gap is: 82 percent say mobility is very important, but only 8 percent have a well-defined strategy and have executed on it.

The obstacles that prevent reluctant organizations from jumping deeper into the mobility pool are exactly what mobility solutions and solution providers are intended to address: security measures, cost management, a lack of expertise within the company, and the development and management of mobile apps. Of these, security is the biggest concern, and it overlaps with concerns about mobile apps. Organizations want to understand how apps fit into a picture that keeps corporate data separated and protected from user data. Many IT departments are aware that mobile device management (MDM) solutions can play a big part in providing this security, but very few (less than 50 percent) actually have a solution in place. (And again, even when they have one, it’s rarely part of a larger, overall strategy.)

Many organizations don’t realize how flexible and wide-ranging their mobility options are. For example, beyond MDM alone, they may not realize they can mix and match solutions for MDM, mobile application management (MAM), mobile content management (MCM), intelligence, analysis, monitoring, and so on. If they did realize this, the companies may feel more confident about going forward with deployment. (As a side note, the survey results also reinforce the importance of having a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy to promote security and efficiency—an important reminder for the few organizations that don’t already have a one.)

Finally, the survey shows that many of the IT executives do recognize that their companies will need outside help to address their security and other concerns. Half are considering a mobility-as-a-service model, bundling services, and using outside providers for most or all of these services. Also, most of the organizations that have strategies at least partially underway are emphasizing components that make good sense as part of any strategy. That means outside providers will not have the burden of trying to sell a solution that the organizations aren’t familiar or comfortable with. Still, developing a strategy has to come before deploying any solutions. The key will be for the providers to get involved early and educate organizations on the range of services and solutions that they need and how they fit into the big picture.

To learn more about the challenges of enterprise mobility and how IT leaders plan to address them, download the full research report.


Why the Gartner Magic Quadrant Matters

 

Here at Enterprise Mobile, we believe that we provide top-of-the-line services in the mobility space. Well, it turns out that we’re not the only ones who feel this way. I’m happy to report that Enterprise Mobile has been recognized by Gartner in its 2013 Magic Quadrant for Managed Mobility Services (MMS) for our ability to execute and our completeness of vision.

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Magic Quadrant Methodology

This is the first year that Gartner has applied its Magic Quadrant methodology to managed services for enterprise mobile devices. Gartner focused its research on vendors that manage pools of globally distributed, corporate-liable devices and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) users. The company divided MMS into six categories, all of which Enterprise Mobile provides as part of our composite services:

  • Sourcing and logistics
  • Mobile service management
  • Device and system management
  • Application and messaging management
  • Security and content management
  • Program and financial management

 

Our Differentiators

We like to think that Gartner differentiated us from other providers because of our Enterprise Mobility Planning, Mobile Workforce Support, Mobility Monitoring Intelligence and Analytics services across a broad range of devices. Gartner also called out a number of our strengths:

  • We rated well for help desk, device sourcing, hardware support, and software support.
  • We are considered a strong provider of device provisioning.
  • We were praised by customers for our expense and asset management services.
  • We rated well for program management.
  • We were regarded for our expertise specific to mobile device technology.

So why is being part of the Magic Quadrant such an honor? Because the Magic Quadrant is a trusted, impartial research tool that provides a critical first step for those evaluating emerging technologies. This recognition is evidence of our true mobility focus.

2013 Milestones

In addition to our rating as a top company in this space, we have achieved numerous other milestones in 2013, many of which have positively affected our service commitments. A few of these achievements include:

  • Exceeded 500,000 mobile devices under management for managed services
  • Introduced global capabilities—we now provide in-region deployment and depot services across 70+ countries
  • Introduced a global telecom expense management (TEM) service that allows customers to leverage Enterprise Mobile for e-Procurement and ongoing optimization of wireless carrier spend (with an average savings of US$10 to $15 per device per month!)
  • Partnered with Box to provide cloud-based content management and collaboration
  • Introduced managed services for Mac OS
  • Enhanced our position and services for a variety of mobile device management solutions, including MobileIron, AirWatch, Citrix XenMobile, SAP, Symantec, SOTI, and others

The mobility market is changing at a whirlwind rate, and we’re proud that Enterprise Mobile has the depth of experience and service excellence to be identified as part of an elite group of providers that can keep pace. And we truly believe that we help set that pace, which means our customers lead the pack when it comes to forward-thinking mobility strategy and execution.

 image via: Gartner


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.

 


Key Technical Considerations for Implementing Your Mobile Solution

Technology in the handsA lot of companies launch devices, build or buy mobile apps, or enter into mobility-related contracts without thinking about how those pieces fit into the greater whole. The result? The new stuff may be exciting for employees, but it doesn’t work well within existing environments and/or support long-term goals. Those companies are sacrificing efficient use of resources for a short-term productivity boost.

Just as with any other area of business, getting it right in the mobility space requires planning. Smart companies take into account not only device and app choices, but also infrastructure and management considerations before implementing mobile solutions.

Before delving into the nitty-gritty, consider taking a few key steps:

  • Think about how mobility fits into your overall business strategy. What are your objectives and requirements? By linking mobility directly to your business strategy, you’ll focus on the right long-term solutions and budget avenues.
  • Conduct a mobile platform risk assessment to understand potential risks and see which could be showstoppers and which have workarounds.

Devices. For a lot of companies, it is easy to decide which devices to use. And the growing momentum of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend may remove some decisions altogether. You may want to raise the following issues prior to adopting a BYOD policy:

  • What level of risk does your particular company assume by letting corporate data live on personal devices?
  • What is the right balance between usability and security? How much do you want to lock down devices? What are the right security solutions (e.g., Network Access Control) to protect data while still allowing usability for your employees?
  • What do you need in order to support a variety of devices, platforms, and operating systems?
  • Does your budget cover security for solutions in a BYOD environment? If not, what sorts of investigation and assessment efforts are needed to make the right financial decisions for your organization?

Apps. With 50 billion downloads in six years from the Mac App Store and 48 billion downloads in even fewer years from the Google Play store, it’s clear that it’s all about the apps. And the growth of business-focused apps has just begun. Ask yourself a few questions to make effective app choices:

  • How will your business-critical data be used on mobile devices?
  • Have you conducted an application risk assessment to understand how and where your data is protected and, again, to determine the right balance between usability and security?
  • Are you going to use off-the-shelf, browser, and/or custom-developed apps?
  • How will you support employees as they use those applications?
  • If you’re leaning toward custom development, what platforms, development cycles, budget requirements, and support mechanisms should you put in place?
  • Do you want to take advantage of application security features, such as app wrapping (where you can dedicate specific requirements around existing applications) or custom APIs (where you can designate tasks, such as secure data transport, remote application control, and single sign-on)?
  • What sort of workflow will you follow to purchase, deploy, and update applications for your corporate and/or BYOD mobile devices?

Infrastructure. As you drill down into your mobility strategy and solutions, it will be important to look into the IT infrastructure requirements necessary to properly support them. Mobility projects often start small and quickly grow to take up a major slice of the infrastructure pie. Understanding which mobile solutions easily scale and which come with additional budget and infrastructure requirements is part of identifying the full cost of a solution:

  • Can your company support fully hosted/cloud solutions, or do you require high-security on-premises solutions?
  • Do you have the necessary IT staff and resources to support your desired mobile solutions?
  • Do you have a content management strategy for your mobile workforce so that you can provide secure access to stored information?
  • Are you protected from BYOD risks through Network Access Control, secure email and browsing, etc.?

Management. Determining what is business critical for the lifecycle management of your mobile solutions will help you ensure that today’s decisions have a positive effect on tomorrow’s productivity. Without proper management, mobile solutions will be short-lived, wasting valuable financial resources and failing to give your employees the tools they need. It’s critical to address the following:

  • What level of help-desk services will employees have, and will you accommodate different VIP/CxO service levels?
  • Do you have the staff and processes in place to handle a large number of employees requesting new devices, needing device replacements, or wanting answers to mobile plan questions?
  • If you are a global organization or have employees who travel internationally, can you be staffed 24/7 with proper resources who have the right technical knowledge?
  • What is your financial strategy for mobility management? Would you rather pay to staff your own help desk to cover peaks or pay a service provider a fixed monthly fee?

As you can see, it isn’t easy to put all the right components of a mobile strategy in place. Many companies either have a hard time staying up-to-speed or would rather focus on their core competencies. They choose instead to rely on mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) providers to put a mobility strategy on track and implement best-in-class management solutions.

Read more about what Enterprise Mobile can do to help you reduce costs, adjust strategy, and keep your business growing.


Do You Need a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Provider?

Do You Need a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Provider_BLOG IMAGEAs more employees use mobile devices and create increased demand for mobile apps in the workplace, organizations have to figure out the best way to shoulder the burden that comes with mobility. Gone are the days of managing a homogeneous stable of Blackberry devices. Today, mobility equals complexity.

Some organizations have a large IT staff and the infrastructure to support mobility management, while resources at other organizations are already maxed out. Some decision makers like spending time investigating and evaluating all the device, app, and management options out there, while others would prefer to focus on the company’s core business and leave mobility strategy to the experts. Some want to make sure their infrastructure, help-desk staff, and budgets can handle peaks in mobile usage, while others choose to work with outside partners to make mobility management an ongoing operational expense.

The mobility outsourcers of the past primarily handled device management, but today’s mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) providers offer a complete lifecycle of mobility services. Considering the speed with which the mobile landscape changes, MaaS providers can offer strategic expertise to advise organizations about direction, trends, and how to make the most of their mobile investments.

For many organizations, working with a MaaS provider allows for the right combination of involvement, control, and financial stability. Organizations can rely on their MaaS providers to:

  • Help set mobile strategy
  • Determine the best devices, apps, and management tools for their needs
  • Develop custom apps as appropriate
  • Track advancements in mobile technology
  • Manage the infrastructure
  • Ensure the right mix of device, app, and infrastructure security
  • Provide around-the-clock support
  • Monitor usage and optimize the environment
  • Make strategic recommendations as the market changes

Along the way, those organizations can scale up and down as necessary, paying only for what they need. They also gain flexibility when it comes to device types, apps, and management because their MaaS provider handles the support for the range of mobile solutions. And, of course, they transform their mobile infrastructure and its management from a capital expense into a consistent operational one.

Organizations in highly regulated industries and areas, such as financial services and government, may not be able to benefit from MaaS because many are required to maintain complete control of their assets. This may change over time, as MaaS proceeds along the security continuum.

Many others, however, are taking advantage of mobility advancements and even using them as competitive differentiators, thanks to the insights that their MaaS providers offer. Not all MaaS providers are created equal, so make sure you find the right one for you. Many have skills in a particular area (mobile support, mobile app development, etc.), but very few reach across the entire mobile lifecycle to help with everything from planning to business intelligence and analytics.

Read more about MaaS and how Enterprise Mobile can help you get the greatest value out of mobility.

 

 


What’s Next in Enterprise Mobility

What’s Next in Enterprise Mobility_BLOG IMAGEToday’s mobile landscape is shifting more quickly than a late-model sports car. New feature-rich devices, security advancements, and innovative content management options mean that organizations have a lot to consider. Being aware of some of the coming trends will help you make smart choices as you look down the road.

Emphasis on Apps and Content

Until recently, most organizations have focused on which devices to deploy, but more and more are starting to put thought into enterprise apps (whether purchased off the shelf or custom developed) and content management. New online storage options provide flexibility in the way that organizations think about where content lives and the kinds of connectivity that are required to use and share that content. For example, a retailer could use a solution like Box to remotely push targeted content to the devices used by employees on the retail floor each day. That content might include details about daily sale items, videos about seasonal items, or tips for product usage, all of which employees could share with customers—without needing WiFi connectivity to download the content. Having new, industry-specific solutions to choose from can help you get ahead and derive the most value from your mobile environment.

Expanded Mobility

Adoption There have been several highly regulated industries that have not yet been able to take full advantage of mobility in general and Mobility-as-a-Service in particular. But as more organizations push to equip employees with mobile devices, some of those walls are coming down. Already, governments, healthcare organizations, and even financial services companies are starting to do more with mobile devices in limited use cases. That trend is likely to continue as vendors place greater emphasis on the enterprise mobile environment, rather than the current focus on consumers. Vendors will, by necessity, improve their security and encryption layers to give those in highly regulated industries greater flexibility when it comes to mobile device use and Mobility-as-a-Service options.

Replacement of Traditional Tools

So far, mobile devices have been considered an “and,” rather than an “or” in the business setting. Organizations deploy laptops and smartphones, tablets and traditional devices. But increased device power, processing speed, portability, and robust functionality is changing that. Soon we’ll start to see a true replacement; organizations may stop deploying laptops and only adopt tablets, or they might remove credit card processing machines and have employees use smartphones instead.

Specialty Solutions – Native Capabilities

Today, there are several niche solutions—such as those associated with mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM), and mobile content management (MCM)—that organizations need to consider and deploy to properly manage their mobile environments. As more organizations invest in mobile management software, there will be greater incentive for new players to enter the marketplace, which may cause a quantum shift in the way that MDM, MAM, and MCM are handled. Operating system developers may start to natively incorporate those capabilities. As a result, it will be critical for specialty solution providers to innovate to bring new capabilities to the industry. Even with this forward-thinking approach, it is likely that mobile management vendors will need to deal with market consolidation in the months and years ahead.

Next Steps

But you can’t wait for tomorrow’s advancements. Your organization’s productivity and overall effectiveness depends on putting the right mobile strategy in place today. However, keeping the industry’s fluidity in mind can be helpful as you invest in mobility. Here are a few suggestions for making the most of your mobile environment now, without locking you out of future capabilities:

  • Consider using subscription services rather than purchasing full licenses so that you can get the tools you need without long-term commitments.
  • Lease devices to give your employees the latest and greatest features but retain the ability to refresh as new devices enter the market.
  • Carefully determine the reasons for upgrading your mobile environment; don’t do it just for the sake of staying current. Make sure you’re investing in the right devices, apps, and storage options, and know what’s coming down the pike.
  • Think about storage. Larger file sizes make finding appropriate storage solutions an imperative. Make sure you know where you’ll store your content and how you can access and easily share it.

For help determining the next steps in mobility for your organization, learn more about Enterprise Mobile and watch the recent webcast about putting the right mobile strategy in place.