Five market changes that affect your mobility plans:
Mobility across the enterprise, or enterprise mobility, is, to put it simply, integrating mobile devices of all shapes, sizes, and operating systems into the way you do business. Because of these market changes, it makes good business sense to have an enterprise mobility management strategy and, understand what some of the bottlenecks are.
There are some verticals and some horizontals that lend themselves more readily to mobility. CRM is one such, and all the leading CRM vendors offer a mobile flavor of their apps. Insurance is another area where the very nature of business lends itself to mobility.
First, let’s take a look at some of the business imperatives that explain why we have to deploy enterprise mobility solutions. To begin with, employees are going to be bringing their own smartphones/mobile devices and using them for work anyway. Even if they cannot access corporate email yet on these devices, they will be using them for work at work or home. They may want to search work related information. They may want to edit a spreadsheet; and so on and so forth. If we ask employees to not use their personal devices for work, we risk a backlash of employee discontent, which in turn may affect productivity.
An entire generation of users are growing up with access to mobile devices as a given. Sooner or later they will be joining the workforce. If we cannot offer them the same comfort level with mobile devices at work, as they have been used to personally, they may simply join the next company, or at the very least, be extremely dissatisfied. We have to accommodate them. On the demand side, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders are going to want the agility and flexibility that mobile devices are able to bring to the table.
The Plusses of Enterprise Mobility
There is a reason why enterprise mobility is taking off. Mobile devices afford increased productivity in more ways than one. We can work more flexibly and we can have readily available access to real time data. If we are inputting field information (say, sales data) then we are minimizing the window of error, because the data entry is happening on the spot.
Today’s mobile devices come equipped with sophisticated cameras, location-tracking and software development kits. This makes it easy for us to build or customize apps exploiting these native device capacities. Tablets can be used as virtual private network (VPN)-enabled clients to server applications and database; so we can access a database knowledge repository while on the go.
Last but not the least, if we are open to a bring-your-own-device to work (BYOD) policy, we can bypass the upfront capital expenditure, software licensing, and subsequent maintenance costs or inventory tracking, that we would have had to incur on these devices.
Security is a huge challenge, though by no means an impossible challenge. While it is true that mobile devices are easily lost or stolen, if we factor that in, then we can be prepared to manage or mitigate the risk. For example, we can enable remote wipe-off of data in the event of a theft. We can also have a sandbox that will segregate enterprise data from personal data, quarantining business-critical data from the likes of readily-accessible vacation pictures.
While it is true that we will be saving huge upfront costs, enterprise mobility will not be a free lunch either. We will need to make an initial investment to upgrade our IT infrastructure, so that it can withstand the onslaught of multiple accesses via multiple devices dispersed all over the place. We need to figure out access control; which devices get access to what data, and expense management and billing issues. We also need to figure out a way to distribute software updates and patches to a variety of non-standard devices.
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