“In 2013, more companies will invest in their mobile strategies”

by Sohini Bagchi    Feb 18, 2013

Tim Jennings

Enterprise mobility is going through an exciting phase in 2013. Tim Jennings, Chief Analyst for Enterprise IT, Ovum, believes that in 2013 and beyond, enterprises will leverage mobility to bring in the next level of innovation in their business and will seek newer ways to stay ahead of their competition. Excerpt.

How would 2013 be different in terms of enterprise mobility?
If 2012 was a period of transition and consolidation in the enterprise mobility space with companies having the basic mobility, including mobile devices, security solutions and strategies in place, in 2013 some of these emerging trends will shape up concretely. Businesses are now thinking of more advanced and innovative use of mobility that can offer greater level of productivity, connectivity and security. Bring your own device (BYOD) will continue to gain momentum, but now enterprises will look at the issues pertaining to mobile consumerization on the whole, while trying to seek complete solutions to their challenges. Most vendors addressing the business mobility market will focus on managing and securing data at the app level. They will increasingly deliver solutions through the cloud platform. Mobile security vendors will take a large chunk of the market and telecoms operators will also capitalize on the high enterprise demand created by mobile consumerization.

How are companies leveraging mobility to bring in innovation in their business?
A machine-to-machine connected world of mobility will translate beyond mobile touchscreen devices and will see the evolution of apps, strategies and processes where mobility can enrich productivity and bring in value. For example, in the healthcare sector, mobile will be used to significantly improve the quality of healthcare, reduce medical costs and expand the geographic reach, taking connectivity and communication to the next level. Similarly the banking industry will look to mobility innovation in the areas of mobile payments and retailers will use augmented reality to extend the physical store to a virtual domain. The same can be said for automotive, home entertainment, manufacturing and other diverse sectors. The most innovative companies will be the ones that can figure out how to meet IT goals and satisfy the end user. The whole approach of BYOD and how companies are dealing with it is also an innovation in enterprise mobility. In some companies, mobile initiatives are adopted by almost every business unit and in some others, they are moving existing solutions and processes from the web and desktop to mobile devices. Every organization and department can typically look to transform business processes through mobility. For example, account reporting has always been a burdensome task with heavy file and paper work. Mobile-enabled expense-submitting process has made it faster and easier. The entire mobile eco-system should encourage continued investment in mobile services and applications to meet the growing consumer needs as well as frame policies for continued growth and sustainability.

How can CIOs tackle the phenomenal growth of mobile consumerization?
Consumerization in mobility, especially the BYOD trend will continue to be driven by the phenomenal growth of smartphones and tablets and also employees’ preference in accessing corporate data through their own devices. This will prompt CIOs to change the way they engage with the rest of the business. In order to handle the situation effectively, enterprises should build a corporate mobility policy addressing the various challenges of BYOD. He should also analyze how other emerging technologies such as cloud and social networks have an impact on mobile consumerization as well as try to bridge the gap between user expectations and the services being delivered by corporate IT. In order to do so, the CIO has to act as an enabler of business innovation, so that he can strike a balance between operational and business excellence.

Ovum reports have mentioned the future lies in adopting mobile business intelligence (BI) solutions. How much of it will soon become a business reality?
Businesses are already showing an interest in adopting mobile BI and this space will see a greater consolidation in the next couple of years. With the arrival of high-performance mobile devices and apps, business executives are realizing the need to make quick and timely business decisions, as a result of which the technology will further proliferate. At present only a few verticals and segments are using it for niche functions such as checking out a report. Going forward, they will use mobile BI not only to check the report, but also take actions based on the information on the report in order to bring greater business value and innovation.

What according to you would be the key areas in enterprise mobility that CIOs should immediately focus on?
CIOs should, are some of them are already focusing on end-to-end mobile security. This is essential owing to the major breaches that happened over the past few years. Unless CIOs learn to address adequate security and policy issues, mobility strategies cannot be a success. Secondly CIOs need to adopt mobile applications across multiple platforms. We will see a rise in hybrid applications and HTML5 as against native applications in the coming months. Enterprise app stores will also be an area CIOs will look into in the next few months. In 2013, more companies will continue to invest in their mobile strategies and teams and most importantly will have to keep pace with the rapid innovation happening in the mobile landscape.

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I agree Tim. In fact, a ‘true’ comprehensive mobile infrastructure provides end-to-end security for custom built apps, as well as the systems integration and offline capabilities needed to effectively deliver on business apps such as BI. The infrastructure should also help businesses as they iterate through app versions, support the distribution of those apps and updates to end users - hence the importance of app store technology as app volumes increase. In addition, there’s the need to monitor, troubleshoot and control all these apps, which we know will be built using diverse technologies and distributed development groups. What do you think? ... 7 Mar 2013, Steve Levy