Enterprise mobility II: 2013 - What to expect?

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 20, 2012

Enterprise mobility IIIn the last part of our Special Report: “Enterprise mobility I: 2012 – A recap“, we discussed how 2012 has been a period of transformation in the enterprise mobility market. In 2013, there will be greater consolidation and some of these emerging trends will continue to shape the mobility landscape, compelling CIOs to change the way they engage with the rest of the business.

It’s All About Mobility
Research firm Gartner notes that the mobile device market remains strong throughout 2013. According to the analyst firm, the use of smartphone and tablet will continue to surge in the enterprise, changing the way they do business. According to estimates, 821 million smartphones and tablets have been purchased globally in 2012. The number is expected to exceed the one billion mark in 2013.

Tablets, Gartner believes, will drive the enterprise mobility scene. Despite this enormous growth, however, Gartner notes that the PC is not dead, as it also will also play its role in enterprise computing.

Experts believe that one of the major trends in the coming year would be consumerization of mobility in business. Although the trend was seen in 2012 with enterprises looking at bring your own device (BYOD), in 2013 mobile consumerization will contribute to a wider scheme of technological innovation throwing up newer challenges and opportunities for the CIO.

Research firm Ovum identifies three major trends shaping the enterprise mobility landscape. It notes that despite security and productivity challenges, BYOD behavior will continue to drive the enterprise market, Windows Phone 8 will make inroads into the enterprise offering for its freshness and user-friendly features and finally, with the enterprise mobility management market set for consolidation, there will be a shift towards mobile application management (MAM).

According to Richard Absalom, Senior Analyst Ovum, “The BYOD trend is set to stay, driven by two main factors. Firstly, the consumer mobile device market will continue with its phenomenal growth, meaning that there are more personal devices around to be brought into work. Secondly, employee attitude demonstrates a preference to use a single device across all areas of their life where possible, and able to access corporate data while away from the office helps them to do their job better.”

In 2013, it will no longer be the iPads alone. Analysts believe Windows 8 will be a preferred choice in the tablet market after Apple and Android. This growth will largely be driven by enterprise demand rather than consumers.

With the surge in the adoption of mobile devices along with the rapid proliferation of enterprise apps, businesses will see the convergence of MAM solutions alongside mobile device management (MDM), which was already on the radar of enterprises embracing mobility. The increased convergence will help in productivity and cost-efficiency alongside interoperability, which is currently an issue.

The CIO’s role
When Aristotle professed –“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” he was certainly not referring to mobile technologies, but his saying is quite applicable to the current mobility landscape, where the CIO is expected to integrate various solutions and practices to create new business opportunities.

Experts believe that in 2013, with continued adoption of mobile technology and practices, CIOs and other C-suites should focus on the impact mobility will have in their day-to-day operations. They are expected to handle critical tasks as well as make faster and more informed real time decisions. This will bring about an obvious role transformation.

As Ralph Simon, CEO and founder, Mobilium Global says, In 2013, social, mobile and cloud popularly called SoMoClo will establish CIOs as forward-thinking IT leaders offering them a converged vision and roadmap for tomorrow’s business. In the coming year therefore, the CIO’s role will not be limited to managing a mobile strategy. It is more about managing the changing attitudes of the mobile workforce.

“In other words, he should manage and monitor the workforce such that it allow them to be truly mobile and enable the enterprise to realize the benefits mobility can bring in a secure and resilient way,” says Samit Ray, Director and CIO, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He believes that in the coming days, the CIO’s role continues to become more strategic with an eye on innovation in business models and processes that can drive value through mobile devices and strategies.

Need for a mobile strategy
Having emphasized on the strategic role of CIOs in the mobile enterprise eco-system, that includes employees, partners and customers - all connected through various devices on multiple platforms, it is obvious that every CIO should be prepared to face certain information security risks and uncertainties while adopting mobile technology.

Therefore, the need of the hour for enterprises is to have a mobile strategy in place. The strategy has to be in line with the enterprise-wide strategy and compliant with the information security standards of the organization, so that core business data doesn’t get exposed to security risks.

Before zeroing on a mobile strategy, CIOs have to keep in mind several factors. He has to define why the organisation needs a mobile strategy and which areas need to be emphasized. “The strategy will depend not only on the company’s IT budget, but also on what platforms and devices are used by the enterprise, whether they run native apps or browser enabled and whether the existing enterprise applications like the CRM, ERP etc talk to each other,” says Bhujay Kumar Bhatta, General Manager - IT Services, ITC Infotech India Ltd. He believes that shift towards convergence would certainly enable organizations to frame a better and more effective mobility policy.

Peter Price, CEO of Webalo, a provider of enterprise mobility software makes an interesting observation in his recent article published in Forbes. He says, “In 2013, enterprise mobility will evolve in the same way that Henry Ford’s assembly line did. At the beginning of his mass-production assembly line, Ford was producing one complete, fully functional car every 90 minutes. By 1920, the line turned out one car every minute at a cost (in today’s dollars) of around $5,000 a car. The process was innovative, cost-effective, scalable, and disruptive.

The enterprise mobility market is undergoing a similar kind of evolution. As Price puts it as, “It is moving from complex, slow, costly tools and processes to disruptive, easy, fast, and scalable contemporary technologies that match the speed of creation and deployment to the speed of business need.”

Indeed, mobility is poised to be the next big disruption in 2013 and thereafter and if leveraged meaningfully, it can usher tremendous gain in the enterprise landscape.