70% Mobile Workers By 2020; Have A Mobile Strategy?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jun 29, 2015

mobile strategy

Mobility continues to be a critical part of the global workforce and the number of mobile workers is expected to spur in the coming years. But to manage the huge challenges arising from this mobile workforce, companies must adopt a sound mobile strategy - preferably a mobile device management (MDM) strategy.

A forecast from IT research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests that by 2020, the number of U.S. mobile workers will grow to 105.4 million, a jump from 96.2 million in 2015. Also by that year, mobile workers will make up 72.3 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Those enterprises having a solid MDM strategy today will be well positioned to cater to tomorrow’s workforces.

MDM is a tool used to manage, monitor, and track personal devices used in the workplace. It allows the distribution of applications, data, and configuration settings for devices such as tablets, smartphones, cell phones, and other mobile computing devices (such as phablets).

Securing the global workforce

Not only in the US, in an earlier report, IDC noted that Asia Pacific will see the largest increase in total number of mobile workers with 601.7 million mobile workers in 2010 and 838.7 million in 2015 and beyond. Much of this is due to the sheer size of the population in China and India, combined with strong economic expansion in both countries.

“Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work,” said IDC research analyst Bryan Bassett in a statement. “This expectation will be supplemented by new solutions specifically intended to manage the challenges associated with the growing needs of the mobile workforce.”

Chris Houghton, Ericsson’s India region head, says the telecom industry is no longer about voice-based services, from which the company now gets less than half its revenues. We predict that by 2020, 50 percent of data consumption on mobile networks will be video content, he told Forbes in an interview. “Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly affordable. Coupled with the growing popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) programs among businesses, mobile device use has skyrocketed in work environments,” he says citing the need for a suitable mobile strategy in place.

In addition, innovations in mobile technology such as biometric readers, wearables, voice control, near-field communications (NFC), and augmented reality are enabling workers in completely new ways, increasing productivity by enhancing communications and business workflows, notes IDC.

Employees in the fields of manufacturing, construction, retail and healthcare are expected to drive mobile device use for work purposes faster than other verticals. The latter is particularly welcoming of smartphones, tables and other mobile devices at work, increasing demand for an MDM strategy.

Meanwhile, a Research and Markets report notes the global MDM market to grow at a CAGR of 25.40% over the period 2014-2019. MDM solutions provide a high level of security to both company-owned and employee-owned devices across the enterprise. Network operators use MDM solutions to manage different devices with different OS that work on the same network. They allow IT professionals to oversee mobile devices and desktop computers as well as to administer synchronization.

According to the report, the increase in the adoption of BYOD policies, where organizations allow employees to use their personal mobile devices for business, is a major factor supporting market growth. BYOD helps improve communication and allows easy access to applications stored on the cloud, increasing work flexibility and improving performance.

Moving beyond MDM

Further, the report states that data security concerns and the risk of misplacing devices are major challenges curtailing the growth of this market. The use of personal devices to access corporate data at any time and from anywhere has made networks vulnerable to unauthorized access, potential leakage of crucial information, and virus attacks. 

“Mobile devices are starting to drown out and replace PCs and laptops on corporate networks. For many, mobile is the primary point of engagement — for employees, customers and partners, alike,” said Mathivanan Venkatachalam, Director of Product Management at ManageEngine, a real-time IT management company, that announced the launch of Mobile Device Manager Plus, its enterprise mobility management solution.

In such a scenario, tech analyst Daniel Newman MDM alone is not sufficient in order to control and manage mobile devices used in an organization. To compete with and control the host of security threats that are emerging, “CIOs need to go beyond MDM and start considering mobile application management (MAM) and mobile information management (MIM) to bring the entire range of data and apps used on the devices within their control.