Business mobility no longer an option

Businesses are finding that they have to include mobility in major enterprise application roll outs

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Business mobility no longer an option (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  May 14, 2014

With last month’s Mobile World Congress, the annual meeting of the mobile world, to Microsoft’s new CEO promising a mobile and cloud first world, and renewed offerings from Nokia and BlackBerry mobile devices and mobility solutions are very much in focus at present.

The impact that mobile devices have had in just a couple of decades has been significant. In most developed markets, mobile penetration rates are surpassing 100%, and provisioning for smarter devices, that require more and more bandwidth for complex services, is driving both profits and investment priorities for operators.

This year, the number of internet connected mobile devices is predicted to exceed the number of people on the planet, and within four years there are expected to be ten billion mobile devices, or 1.4 devices per person. In terms of connecting people, creating access to information and enabling an always-on generation, mobile devices have had a phenomenal impact.

In some ways, business mobility has lagged behind consumer uptake. Outside of some areas such as warehouses or delivery drivers, it has taken longer for business to see the value in smart devices. Aside from some corporate-issuance of devices, mainly used for voice and email, smart devices have infiltrated the workplace through personnel bringing their own devices to work.

That situation is changing however. Mobility is spelled out as one of the pillars of the ‘third platform’, alongside cloud, big data and social media, but whereas the last two parts of the third platform are lagging behind, mobility is increasingly coming to the fore — lead in no small part by user demand.

More and more business application roll outs in the region seem to either have a mobility component, or act as the platform to build mobility services on top. Projects are not just expected to deliver improvements in processes or data visibility or connectivity, they are also expected to be able to extend those benefits to mobile platforms. IT organisations are increasingly expected to deliver mobility.

The benefits of mobilising solutions are clear. Mobile applications put essential information and services right into the hands of the users, they enable faster reaction time, better flexibility of how they people interact and create easier access to systems for personnel that don’t work on a desktop PC day-to -day. Mobilising an application can also be an important part in driving adoption of a solution, especially as the generation that has always expected mobile solutions comes into the workplace, and it can also help raise the profile of the IT team and give them a chance to show off their skills by delivering a cool app.

While IT departments don’t necessarily have the skills to develop mobile applications in-house, there are more options as vendors include mobility as a standard feature of business applications, and as the ecosystem of mobile developers continues to grow.

Of more importance to companies than working out where to get the skills from, is setting out a mobile strategy to decide how they will implement mobility. Organisations need to decide on points such as which platforms to support, which applications should be made available on mobiles, whether the organisation wants a single unified app or multiple point solutions, device support and provisioning for users, access privileges and security controls. Mobility is here to stay — it is how you manage it that counts.

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