Business use of mobile technology stretches back to the 1980s, and has come a long way since the Motorola Dyna TAC. You would be forgiven for thinking that mobile strategies and deployments in modern businesses have, by now, become so established as to barely warrant explanation.
Yet, as mobile devices and applications become increasingly advanced, challenges do remain – and there is still some way to go before enterprise mobility reaches full maturity.
For example, it is the arrival of in-demand devices like the iPhone 6 that can create significant challenges for IT departments.
Rolling out a new device and provisioning sophisticated enterprise apps for it are just some of the specific tasks that form part of an organisation’s broader enterprise mobility management (EMM) responsibilities.
Above and beyond individual tasks, an all-encompassing EMM philosophy should be designed to focus on empowering the mobile workforce and removing as many obstacles that hinder the productivity of the mobile workforce as possible.
A new EMM survey from Enterprise Management Associatesmobili shed some light on the strategies needed to support an increasingly mobile workforce in modern enterprises.
According to the research, only 15% of organisations feel ‘fully prepared’ to support mobile requirements, despite the fact that 60% consider mobile management to be important or critical to their business – an indication that businesses are struggling to provision adequate mobility management solutions.
The survey also showed that there is a desire for a unified approach to endpoint management, with more than 50% indicating that they have a preference for a single solution that supports both mobile devices and PCs.
It should be no surprise that the significance of supporting a mobile workforce continues to increase in line with the acceleration of enterprise adoption and use of mobile devices.
Overall, roughly 60% of the organisations surveyed regarded EMM as either important or critical to their current business objectives.
Two thirds of businesses with more than 500 employees reported elevated importance for EMM capabilities, while 48% of businesses with less than 500 employees considered EMM an essential practice.
According to this research, there is a direct correlation between an enterprise’s regard for the importance of a mobile strategy and their readiness to support it. Overall, only about 15% of respondents indicated they were fully prepared to support their enterprise mobility requirements.
However, medium-to-large organisations reported they were roughly 50% more likely to be prepared than smaller businesses.
Likewise, the organisations that identified EMM as important or critical to their business objectives were 87% likely to be somewhat to fully prepared.
This correlation is further exemplified by financial institutions that were indicated to be 11% less likely to be prepared to support mobility than technology, government and healthcare organisations.
See also : Creating a mature mobility strategy.
The maturity of medium-to-large organisations to support mobile requirements seems to be dependent on the company’s perception of importance for the technology, rather than on economic or support resource considerations.
Enterprise mobile policies
When it comes to device policies, the survey found that enterprises have adopted a variety of policies for the distribution of mobile devices to their employees.
Overall, bring your own device (BYOD), choose your own device (CYOD), and business-only policies were each indicated by roughly a third of respondents, while bring your own applications (BYOA) was only reported by about 2%.
Also, BYOA was only noted by organisations with less than 1000 employees in the technology and finance industries.
This indicates a clear trend: while device purchase and ownership may vary between organisations, the applications used for business tasks are overwhelmingly being provided and supported by the enterprise.
It is important to note that regardless of which mobile approach is adopted and whether the devices are business-owned or employee-owned, the broad majority of organisations allow devices to be used for both business tasks and personal tasks.
Even among the enterprises that only allow business owned devices to be used by employees, 71% reported they permit some or all of their devices to also be used to perform personal tasks.
This underscores the need for enterprises to logically segment business resources from personal resources so they can secure and manage the former without diminishing the performance of the latter.
The death of PC?
Many in the industry talk about the supposed ‘death of PC’, but this research would suggest that its demise has been greatly exaggerated.
87% of enterprise users that regularly access computing devices to perform job tasks rely on both a PC (desktop or laptop) and at least one mobile device (smartphone or tablet).
It is clear that mobile devices are being adopted to supplement, rather than replace, the use of PCs.
This has substantially increased the burden on IT operations to remotely support a wider number of heterogeneous platforms, while reliably enabling access to critical business applications, data and services – and still meeting enterprise requirements for security and compliance.
Although the majority of PC and mobile management solutions suites evolved along completely separate development paths, it is becoming clear that maintaining separate platforms is no longer a practical long-term solution.
In the kind of business environment revealed by these findings, in which users no longer have just one device but a plethora of devices to manage, unified endpoint management (UEM) processes provide a common interface for performing administrative tasks on both PC and mobile devices, as well as consolidated asset databases and reporting engines.
The expectation is that a unified platform enables improved service management that will help boost user productivity and accelerate business agility.
It would certainly be interesting to see whether the percentage of organisations that feel ‘fully prepared’ for mobile requirements increases by this time next year.