Stroll down any street, attend any business meeting or pop into any social venue and it is highly likely someone will be using the latest and greatest mobile device. Their spread has been dramatic and their uptake throughout the Asia Pacific and Japan region shows no sign of slowing. According to Forrester Research, "organizations [in the region] are also prioritizing the use of mobile channels to connect with external stakeholders such as customers and business partners, underscoring the region's evolution toward the age of the customer."
This massive upsurge in mobile computing and expectation of instant connectivity is reshaping the IT landscape with a blurring of the personal and professional environments. People are now using their own tablets, smartphones, as well as their ultra-portable laptops and traditional notebooks to access company systems and conduct business on the go.
According to Forrester, more than 50 per cent of the information workforce use three or more devices for work while Gartner is predicting by 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes.
The ubiquitous nature of mobile computing is opening up new ways for businesses to grow market share, build customer intimacy, increase profit margins, as well as improve their image as a brand. Instant mobile access to information enables swifter response times and on-the-go decision-making to support customer service and improve employee and supplier relations. This in turn enhances productivity and improves business outcomes.
But in such a connected world, organizations are finding they no longer fully control the technology stack used by their employees, customers and suppliers. And that raises multiple challenges which must be addressed.
Enterprise mobility is more than just cool mobile devices
The move to enterprise mobility involves delivering anywhere, anytime access to people, applications and data on multiple personal and business devices.
While this increases productivity and efficiency, mobility also creates device and network security issues, as well as privacy concerns associated with having personal and company-owned data on the same device for organizations with mobile workers.
The associated costs of managing all these additional devices also require a new financial model. Decisions have to be made on how many and what type of devices are allowed, who pays for them, and whether help desk-support is provided.
These are serious considerations which demand a comprehensive enterprise mobility strategy which has wider implications than just cool devices and flashy user interfaces; it is an approach embracing strategy, policy, architecture, systems engineering, applications development and support services. With technology constantly changing, an enterprise-grade mobility platform must also be flexible enough to adapt to new devices and innovations.
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