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Enterprise IT must adapt to the “mobile first” world

Enterprise IT must adapt to the “mobile first” world

The shift to the “mobile first” enterprise will have as big an impact as the introduction of the web. There are 1.6 billion smartphones alone in the market and the number of connected devices is set to see further step change growth through multi-device ownership, including tablets and new wearable devices such as glasses, sensors, and watches enabled by machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.

This proliferation of devices, and the notion that they are a new digital limb that is never more than an arm’s reach away, means that the first point of contact between an organization and its employees, customers, and partners will increasingly be through a mobile channel. Ovum’s report “Mobile First” and the Future of the Workplace discusses how this mobile-first world makes mobility such an important part of the enterprise IT stack, and why enterprise IT must adapt to embrace it.

Enterprise IT must adapt to the “mobile first” world

Consumerisation leads to flexibility, and workers untethering from the desk

In less than a decade, the idea of asking your workforce to go to an office to use a tethered network device will be as much an anathema as the green-screen is to most of us now. Enterprise Mobility is the future, and businesses that understand this and move fast will see competitive advantage – providing a better customer experience and more efficient, agile working practices for their employees.

Mobility is also a democratizer of technology, as seen with the consumerization trend in enterprise IT, with the average man in the street having an impact on what is used in the workplace. Apple and Google are well ahead of the rest of the competition in the battle for scale, ensuring that major OEMs focus on the consumer market first and foremost and creating a secondary channel into the enterprise through “bring your own device” (BYOD).

This BYOD concept does not only apply to hardware manufacturers, as cloud productivity software vendors provide free, easy-to-use services that consumers can use in both their personal lives and at work. “Bring your own app” (BYOA) behaviour is evident as employees source their own applications to use at work, with DropBox and Skype typical examples of applications finding their way into the enterprise through BYOA. Mobile device usage is not the only cause of this behaviour, but it is certainly a factor.

Embracing the multi-screen environment can lead to transformed business process

IT departments need to understand and exploit this new, consumerized behaviour. For most workers, especially knowledge workers, their IT setup is becoming a complex multi-screen environment in which individual users have access to multiple different devices that run on different operating systems and are owned personally or by the company. Mobility will also change the use cases and behaviours around these devices. For example, a home PC is typically a shared resource, with multiple members of a family using it for a variety of purposes, while a mobile device usually has only one user.

This multi-screening trend is only set to increase, so it is imperative for IT to embrace it by looking at how to enable mobile apps and learn the challenges of moving to the new “mobile first” workplace – where PCs and large screen computers are no longer the only devices employees want to use to do their jobs. Employee behaviour is evolving, with innovation, new apps, and devices being used across all areas of an organization, and IT’s role has to evolve with it.

IT needs to adapt to employee behaviour and enable new ways of working, rather than act as a central command and control operation. Employees are best positioned to determine the tools they need to get the job done, while the IT department needs to consider factors such as cost of ownership and governance implications. A balance needs to be found between these interests.

Manage this complex environment properly – or give in to shadow IT

Many businesses will turn to platforms to help manage this hugely complex new environment, and they will be looking for solution providers with roadmaps, scale, and credibility. Providing the right tools is an immediate way for IT to demonstrate value and engage with the business, but if IT doesn’t act quickly enough it risks obsolescence.

Individual employees and line of business managers are already bypassing the IT organization if it does not provide what they need, creating a large shadow IT environment. This has obvious risks in terms of creating new information silos and less interoperability between different parts of the business, not to mention data security and management. IT needs to demonstrate that it is the right body to manage such activity.

 Article Source: http://www.appstechnews.com/