2015 is just a couple of weeks away and industry experts are opining that enterprise mobility management will rise as one of the topmost IT agendas. The experts have furthermore advised CIOs in undertaking more proactive roles in transforming respective EMMs into more foolproof systems. Alongside, they are required to upgrade their mobile strategy to comply better with the evolving needs of enterprise mobility.
Smart Technology: The Key Factor Bringing Internet of Things and Cloud Computing Closer
Perfecting the idea concerning ‘smartness’ doesn’t seem to slow down even in the future that comes within the scope of human perceptibility. As of today, everything is smart and needs to be – smart phone, smart computing, smart connectivity, smart communication! The modern dynamics of human life requires this additional ‘smartness’ quotient not only to luxuriate their lives further but also they have realized the indispensability of smart technology in every run of their daily lives. However, having your hands on advanced technology doesn’t necessarily mean automatic addition of the smartness quotient. This is where the complementing and supplementing role of Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Computing comes into fashion.
Understanding Internet of Things:
Internet of Things (IoT) may be a buzzword today but the very concept of it germinated long back, more specifically from the dawning days of internet. Despite the fact that IoT, these days, has become quite a familiar expression, a great deal of confusion still prevails in terms of understanding what it is actually. Quite in contrary to the popular belief, Internet of Things doesn’t always include internet or gadgets that are operating over internet. In one of the recent articles (published May 24, 2013), Galen Gruman has explained about Internet of Things in a simplistic yet beautiful way:
“At its core, the Internet of things means just an environment that gathers information from multiple devices (computers, vehicles, smartphones, traffic lights, and almost anything with a sensor) and applications (anything from a social media app like Twitter to an e-commerce platform, from a manufacturing system to a traffic control system).”
– Galen Gruman, “What the 'Internet of things' really means” (May 24, 2013)
So far so good! But, what about inclusion of the word ‘internet’ in the Internet of Things? It’s like saying ‘slash’ without the sharp factor in it. How can IoT be complete if it doesn’t necessarily include internet? To understand this, you need to know that IoT serves two core functions – data accumulation and accessibility to the data for analyzing it. While the data accumulation and analysis is typically done by software or an application, on the other hand, it requires internet to access the vast data pool or data center that has been created by users.
Integrity that Should be Nourished between Cloud Computing and IoT:
Wait a minute! So, the confusion over Internet of Things is not solely about the extent of its reliance with internet connectivity! Storing huge amount of data output, virtualization and analysis of the same are matters of equal concern! Yes, this is actually the case. Technology, today, is not just robotics or repetition of the same action from time to time but it needs to be smart, intelligent. And intelligent technology is possible only when the results, users receive, are contextual. The contextual correctness, rather accuracy, is possible only when user generated big data is managed, stored, virtualized and analyzed seamlessly. After closely monitoring the shift in user preference concerning the Internet of Things, experts have opined that organizations using IT systems minus relevant upgradation for last 20 years, will not be compatible with the newly emerging Internet of Things; consequently, will be deprived of the benefits that IoT-Cloud conjugality has to offer. At the same time, they have further opined that the increasingly popularity of IoT in wider domains of human lives, beyond professional requirement, has provided Cloud Computing with just the kind of push to penetrate the arenas that were apparently impenetrable or highly time consuming.
Let’s take a look at the domains where Internet of Things is already becoming popular:
- Urban planning (Building smart cites)
- Developing social interaction gears
- Wearable medical monitoring equipment
- Home automation
- Waste management
- Environmental monitoring and planning
- Large scale deployment management
- Industrial application and energy management
Internet of Things, Cloud Computing and Enterprise Mobility:
Considering the vast array of functional domains, that IoT is increasingly getting involved, it is important to ensure that not only contextual data is exchanged but the process also is seamlessly integrated with the respective application. Quite naturally, the alongside the reliance over Cloud Computing, the inclusion of enterprise mobility becomes equally important when it comes to providing IoT with an all round functional stature. What is the driving force in making Internet of Things the new age brand ambassadors of enterprise mobility? Most people believe that materialization of the M2M (machine-to-machine) communication is the essential driving force in establishing Internet of Things as an indispensible component of enterprise mobility. Consequently, this rational has given birth to a popular misconception that M2M and IoT both are essentially same. It is important to remember that M2M is the driving force but in order to complement the ideal of enterprise mobility, Internet of Things should receive further assistance from other aspects, such as,
- M2M software and hardware compatibility
- Assistance from enterprise software vendors
- Support from Mobile operators
- Acceptance from the targeted industries
How IoT Making Cloud a Penetrating Force in Modern Technology:
Earlier we discussed how interdependent cloud computing and enterprise mobility are. With the advancement of mobile technology, it has become almost impossible to distinguish between these two aspects. The smart or intelligent factor in technology cannot be materialized if the benefits that cloud has to offer are taken away. The increasingly prominent presence and inclusion of Internet of Things (IoT) is the much discussed as well as desired smart/intelligent quotient to today’s technology. No matter from which angle you analyze, it will be practically impossible to take away Cloud Computing from the scenario and intelligent technology happen. More the Internet of Things will be accepted in the industry Cloud Computing will be increasingly indispensible. Cloud service providers, thus, need to promote IoT in a manner that they become more and more appreciated in the industry, consequently making Cloud Computing an indispensible factor in the prosperous journey of smart tech.
Google’s recent acquiring of Divide, a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) management platform providing company, is not just another tech news. It also has fueled quite a familiar point of argument: How relevant is BYOD in perfecting Enterprise Mobility?
Why BYOD is Still Discouraged?
Enterprises and industry leaders are accepting that fulfilling the goal of Enterprise Mobility never looked more convincingly possible until the raging advent of smart devices commenced. While EM seriously discourage employees to work in a traditional manner and lets them complete their respective duties through mobile devices, on the other hands, modern enterprises haven’t yet been able to come entirely in terms with the idea of letting employees to bring their smart devices at work. Alongside, many of them have failed to formulate a constructive policy regarding the use of personal smart techs of employees at work. The two most common factors cited for not encouraging BYOD at work are:
- Increased security risks
- Loss of productive time (as employees may indulge in using internet connection for other purposes than work)
Is there any Future for Enterprise Mobility minus BYOD?
Can enterprise ‘mobility’ survive without mobile devices? Of course not! Then enterprise mobile will forever remain a highly appreciated theory and an imperfect practice? Without proper BYOD management, it will be that! That’s why Google’s acquiring of Divide is so much relevant and attracted so much of attention. Google, quite correctly has understood the point of concern of the modern IT. Their decision to purchase Divide shows how the keenness to develop a platform that would let companies to pose a restrain on the extent of internet accessibility that their employees may enjoy through their personal devices.
Reasons Behind Discouraging BYODs:
The recent hacks of some of the biggest computing networks in the world have made one thing clear – securing enterprise data should be the top concern of organizations. Why BYODs can insert a major lacuna in this effort? Here are a few reasons:
- Lost or stolen BYODs clearly impose a major threat against the mission to ensure data security. According to enterprise leaders, the missing or lost devices often contain valuable information about the company. The chance of successfully wiping off the data remotely from the device is less than 25%.
- Unmanaged BYODs are not good accesses for employees in restraining the scopes of data breaching.
- Android BYODs often become vulnerable to security threats if their inbound filters are applied to corporate devices.
Why Should Companies Formulate a Well-Structured BYOD Policy and What Benefits Would They Receive?
Locking down BYODs is one of the most convenient ways to reduce the risks of malware attack but in that way a serious setback occurs in terms of infringing employees’ right to privacy. Afterall, the devices belong to them. Apart from corporate utilities they have several personal things do through these devices. A well-formulated BYOD policy may strike the balance successfully between corporate usability, avoiding the risks and privacy. Formation of the policy should happen with adequate consideration of the following factors:
- End user should be responsible for backing up the personal data
- Clearly laid down directives and guidance for device maintenance, required support and pricing
- Organizations should have the discretion to request employees removal of certain apps
- The network should disallow a BYOD from receiving access, provided a user install any blacklisted app
- Clearly specifying the consequences that may follow if the policy is breached
The Points of Cheer for Modern Enterprise IT with a Solid BYOD Policy:
Experts believe if a well-oriented BYOD policy the modern enterprise IT successfully executes, in several ways it would benefit BYOD users and creation of personal cloud in a corporate environment, namely:
- Clarity for BYOD users: Empowered with a clearly structured BYOD policy, employees receive a clear picture of their rights and limitations in terms of usage. A policy like this delivers a clear message to users about why they should be refrained from using the devices as per their personal discretion.
- Better Control: The organization starts enjoying improved corporate control over the BYODs, adding more protection to enterprise data and finally executing the device’s policy to technical perfection.
- Better Protection to Enterprise Applications: It becomes easier for a company’s security network to provide security protection to many or any particular enterprise application from all levels.
- Implementing Enterprise tools: There is no way that an organization may put a stoppage over consumerization. However, organizations may come up with versatile and user-friendly apps to reduce the use of consumer-based apps for professional access.
BYOD: To Make Enterprise Mobility ‘Happen’ You Must Accept it:
Google’s acquiring of Divide is definitely not the central point of focus of this blog. However, I am bringing this topic back at the concluding section to show that it is not Google’s sole purpose simply developing a BYOD management platform but also they are trying to maintain the perfect balance between professionalism at work and pleasure at personal level. This very finding provides a stronger platform to what I have been discussing above in the blog. Theoretically, there will be a point where Cloud Computing and Enterprise Mobility should meet and that will be magical for enterprise IT. If for the fear of malicious attack over enterprise data and lack of control over users’ personal usage of their mobile devices at work BYOD remains restrained then neither the goal of mobility will be fulfilled nor enterprise IT will benefit.
Let’s come forward with the necessary measures! Let’s make BYOD universally accepted!
Let’s perfect Enterprise Mobility!
Cloud, Mobile – Mobile, Cloud: Coexisting Yet?
Can enterprise mobility ever be complete without Cloud? Does Cloud have any reason to exist without mobile?
These questions can’t be answered separately; rather it is important to find out the point of meeting for cloud computing and enterprise mobility to understand how they complement and supplement each other. Cloud computing and enterprise mobility have been into the scene for quite sometimes; however, surprisingly, even a couple of years back the extent of their collaboration and how it may affect the overall enterprise IT was not providing a clear picture. May be it still doesn’t to many. However, this is for our own good that we must know the meeting point of Cloud Computing and Enterprise Mobility and make the picture clear to ourselves.
The Magic that Cloud and Enterprise Mobility Can Do Together:
In my last blog post I tried discussing how the new world of smart technology is Cloud dependent but didn’t really talk much how true it is on the other way round. Yes! The Cloud platform is equally ineffective and incapable of delivering users as per the promise. Since Satya Nadella has taken the reins of Microsoft, the tech giant has started providing a great deal of focus on developing the Enterprise Mobility Suit, which aims at delivering “a cloud for everyone and every device”. The most obvious question that pops up is why Microsoft is gearing up so hard to bring Cloud to all. The chief has something to say about this and perhaps his remark, I feel, marks the meeting point of Cloud platform and enterprise mobility most perfectly, yet simplistically:
“…I don’t think of the cloud and mobile as two things. They are two facets of one thing. The cloud was created to enable mobility. And mobile devices are really uninteresting without the cloud.
…. Mobile without cloud is limiting. The cloud without mobile is mostly latent potential. But the place where they meet is magic.” [Source: The Official Microsoft Blog]
However, making this magic happen would require a lot of innovation, improvisation and the dare to stick-to-the-choice for organizations that are looking forward to more than just ‘doing good’ in the present.
Enterprise Mobility: The Blessings Are On the Way but Watch Out …..!
Enterprise Mobility, in a quite generalized way, is described as a system that encourages change to the traditional in-office work culture and allows employees to work from other locations. The correct coordination between Cloud platform and mobile devices makes this happen. Furthermore, enterprise mobility is not just about working seamless even on the move but the actual focus of the system is ensuring corporate data mobility. Apart from solving the connectivity issues between mobile devices and Cloud, it is also important to address the crucial security challenges that BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) involves. However, the strongest challenge that Enterprise Mobility faces is evolving with the right methods that would help an organization in making their MDM (mobile device management) strategy compatible with newer applications and SaaS (software as a service).
Despite your sincere effort and quest to install the latest technological infrastructure, the desired level of compatibility cannot be reached and there are three major factors you can hold responsible:
- Dependence on end-user connectivity: The key factor that makes the perfect connection between Cloud and mobile platform happen is connectivity. Employees must find it easy to access data and applications in Cloud any point of time. Frequently, users depend on public networks and try finding the most reliable network. Confusion over finding the best connection or suddenly changing connectivity strength not only affects productivity but also stands as a great obstacle against the purpose that Enterprise Mobility aims at serving.
- The Cost of Data Usage: 3G networks and Wi-Fi are still the best options for users to access Cloud-based data. However, absence or striking lack of ‘pay as you use’ packages increase the cost of data usage significantly. Such high expenditure surely limits extent of the return you were expecting of Cloud.
- Security: Security issue is perhaps the biggest headache that stops organizations from hailing the marvel of Cloud and Enterprise Mobility combo. Apparently, security threats are still looming large over Cloud-based data, despite corporations deploying advanced end-point security solutions.
No Point Holding Ourselves Back! We Have Mobile Policy Management!
Does it mean that the meeting point for Cloud and Enterprise Mobility will be lost forever? Does it mean that modern businesses will forever be deprived from witnessing the magic of this grand combo? Experts are suggesting that there is no need to go through the despair as this, provided the organizations are ready to implement Mobile Policy Management (MPM) over the traditional MDM correctly. MPM, quite in contrast to the familiar Mobile Device Management (MDM), addresses issues like end-user connectivity, data cost control and security problems more comprehensively. Corporations that are eyeing Cloud and Enterprise Mobility as the key to ensure growth are largely expected to enjoy the following benefits with the implementation of Mobile Policy Management:
- Automating the Best Network Selection:
An important feature of Mobile Policy Management is automating the procedure of selecting the best available network. Enterprise IT once gets to stand over the foundation of a reliable MPM platform, the mobile devices, configured as per network selection and access policies, automatically select the best of the available networks. This attribute not only introduces transparency to remote access and connectivity but also boosts up productivity.
- Support Cost Management:
MPM is one of the most construction solutions available to the cost management issues, especially generating due to calls from mobile users to support. These calls are generally made to find quick solution to connectivity or remote access. Implementing Mobile Policy Management empowers mobile connectivity errors and in turn reduces end-users problems, bringing down the overall support expenditure.
- Cutting Down Data Cost:
The lack of ‘pay as you use’ facilities is a big headache for companies when it comes to managing the increasing data cost. Sometimes mobile employees are forced to pay for expensive Wi-Fi networks, as they cannot find any reliable 3G network from local providers. MPM platforms help employees with a white list of networks available and stop them from connecting unnecessarily with unsanctioned, expensive connectivity options.
- Data Security:
Getting access to free or public Wi-Fi zone is always tempting for mobile workers and when connectivity is a headache and they get a strong signal from an open Wi-Fi source, often they fail to resist. MPM platforms allow Enterprise IT to automatically implement network centric security policies and run regular procedures like host checking, security threshold management and any kind of unwanted bridging by malwares. In case, it finds the network not complying with the security policy, automatically the connection is terminated.
Let’s Meet The Future Together:
The point of meeting for Cloud computing and Enterprise Mobility is definitely magical, provided everything falls at the right place. The journey is long indeed but the marvel of quest of human intelligence is quite near to breach the limitations, letting the meeting happen seamlessly. Sooner the industry at large would understand the benefits it may rip from Cloud and Enterprise Mobility complementing each other, quicker would be the journey to reach the destination. The future that many leaders foresaw is happening and awaits being witnessed by the rest of us.
To Cloud or Not to Cloud – That’s the Question:
To cloud or not to cloud – as the idea of enterprise mobility and real-time data sharing is becoming increasingly popular, the new-age enterprises are getting deeper in the dilemma whether or not they should opt for cloud computing. Considering the spectrum of advantages that cloud computing platform has to offer, there is no reason that companies should not opt for this platform. However, despite the magnitude of advancement cloud technology has experienced since last few years, it continues to stagger while ensuring protection against losing data or data theft.
Cloud computing experts and leaders are of opinion that the future will be all about cloud and it is not far. Yet, the constant problem with handling cloud security issues is the major reason that the future is not really happening.
Learn Protecting Data Today for a Better Tomorrow:
Stepping into the future, where real-time data sharing is a necessity and perfecting the idea of enterprise mobility is the ultimate goal, is not easy unless the existing problems with data lose or data theft is correctly dealt with. While incidents like mobile application hacking are quite regular these days, on the other hand, human fallibility also plays an important role in losing data. The process of ensuring data protection and management, thus, takes a complex shape, which not only involves active participation of application-network administrators, programmers but also of individuals who use the data. Here follow some essential responsibilities that application developers, applications managers, organizations and users should follow to reduce valuable data lose, significantly.
Duties of App Developers for Secure Data Management:
The best way to ensure data security is implementing safety measures to the mobile applications, mobile devices and data network. People, who are responsible to maintain an app, should not only start with adding relevant security features to design and developing faculty but also test effectiveness of the security features in different settings, imposing various threats. They should continue improving security parameters and updates of the same should be rolled out on a regular interval only to make sure that the evolving data theft possibilities are correctly handled. Some of the specific and immediate actions that should be deployed in this context with more efficiency and sincerity are:
- Improved mobile device management (MDM) solutions
- Making internet networks and web gateways more secure
- Deploying firewalls and updating them on regular intervals
- Installing identity confirmation steps
- Securing data virtualization or making the data management process more secure so that the possibility of data manipulation from the physical location becomes difficult
- Deploying the latest app sandboxing techniques so that additional security parameters can be installed to the application data, servers that the application is connected with and code distribution sources
Duties that Users Should Fulfill for Stopping the Valuable Data Lose:
“To err is human” and accessing cloud platforms through mobile devices from different circumstances at an increasing rate is simply increasing erroneous actions, leading to losing valuable data. The chances of such lose are highest while using massive cloud data storage systems, such as, Google, SkyDrive, SugarSync or Dropbox. Data administrators, managers and cloud service providers cannot help you in retrieving the lost data. What is required on your part is a bit of sincerity and planned used of cloud. The following steps will surely be helpful:
- Combining a physical data storage system with cloud-based back up
- Better to opt for paid cloud solution providers when it comes to storing sensitive data as free cloud-based storage systems are often not foolproof and the scope of disaster recovery is pretty limited
- Opting for affordable cloud services brokerage (CSB) as with this service maintaining and consuming data from multiple service providers become easy
Plan It! Execute It!
Losing valuable data or suddenly finding that a confidential database that you have been accessing through a mobile app has been hacked can be extremely frustrating. Storing the data on cloud without adequate planning simply increases the chance of lose or data hijack. However, with adequate initiative from both users, mobile app developers and data administrators planning and executing a foolproof data management system can be established. So, whether you are a cloud users or data manager, you need to do the relevant planning and find the best way to execute the same, only to make sure that no data is lost or stolen.
The analysis of Gartner Research on upcoming technological advancements that IT and Outsourcing industry is about to embrace shows that HVDs or Hosted Virtual Desktops are drawing all the attention, leaving behind rest of the technological advancements, associated to this field. The advent of HVDs or cloud-hosted desktops marks a sharp decline of the traditional notion that remained in fashion for years. The industry believed that this technology belongs to niche level customers and only a few service providers (MSPs) have the competence to deliver it from external sources. The literal rolling and swift popularization of DaaS (Desktops-as-a-Service), more technically referred as cloud-hosted virtual desktops, suggests that in the forthcoming years all companies that are parts of the IT and Outsourcing industry will use this technology. Simultaneously, DaaS will empower the very idea of enterprise mobility like never before.
Why DaaS Took So Long to Come on Top?
The wide acceptance of Daas was delayed due to several reasons, namely:
- High installation and maintenance cost
- Bad user experience
- Lack of network latency or speed of the network
- Uncertainty about reliability of the cloud-hosted desktops
- Non-availability of competent sources and service providers that will make the experience with DaaS smooth and hazard free
Thankfully, the days, when customers had to deal with these problems on a regular basis, are behind. Not only has the number of competent players in the market increased but also, respectively they have furnished their service providing skills further, in order to expand their market shares. Ultimately, these changes have helped customers in receiving improved performance from service providers in terms of data storage and management, creating data backup, better security measures and upgrading the overall architecture from time to time. According to a recent analysis, the DaaS outsourcing market values around $30 billion and it is expected that with every 1% expansion the overall scenario will receive the boost of around $300 million. Clearly, the process of DaaS, coming on top, was just a matter of time and the future of enterprise mobility, especially of the IT and Outsourcing industry, will largely depend on this.
The DaaS Impact on SMBs and Beyond:
DaaS or Desktops-as-a-Service became popular through small or mid-size businesses (SMBs), especially those that wish to deliver users with the benefits that VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) have to offer. However, application and reach of DaaS was getting limited as in many cases the SMBs found that the cost of establishing the total infrastructure is becoming too high for them, due to the soaring budgeting and staffing rate. However, the situation is changing since the time enterprise IT and Outsourcing has taken interest into it. The initial cost of DaaS implementation may be high but in the long run it offers several benefits that outweighs the initial expenditure, namely:
- Exceptional mobility to employees that quickens the entire operation.
- Enabling the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs, which allows employees of an organization to use their personal mobile devices and use them as mediums to access confidential information and application, belonging to the company, in a risk-free manner.
- DaaS helps a company to overcome the common security and compliance issues that employees may encounter while working on a personal device in an office environment.
- Ultimately, the entire process becomes significantly cost-effective. Additionally, a virtual desktop requires much lesser investment compared with a traditional PC, as the former one has greater longevity, lower power consumption and operates without local drive support.
DaaS – Boosting Enterprise Mobility, Shaping the Future of Business:
Quite in contrast to the earlier times, business in modern scenario has changed a lot. Business, today, is dynamic in truest sense of the term – thanks to the advent of mobile technologies. Quite naturally, the requirement of clients and customers has changed drastically to their preferred service providers. The organizations, thus, need to reshape themselves in ways that address such demands at anytime, anywhere. The whole idea of enterprise mobility is focused on achieving this goal most conveniently. The long-term benefits that DaaS (Desktops-as-a-Service) has to offer, perfectly comply with the objectives of Enterprise Mobility. More the modern organizations will opt for DaaS, more the chances of success will open up, as they will be able to satisfy their customers’/clients’ requirement to the best way possible. At the same time, the ideal of Enterprise Mobility will also receive the perfect boost that will help in ensuring overall growth and prosperity of the IT and Outsourcing industry.
Finally what seemed like a ‘never-ending’ debate among the tech-obsessed pundits’ worldwide, recent survey findings says it all, loud and clear- iPhone has triumphed over the long-reigning enterprise king, RIM’s BlackBerry.
After surveying around 2,300 enterprise professionals, iPass the renowned enterprise mobility provider for its quarterly report on Mobile workforce found that iPhone has topped with a 45% market share among the mobile business crowd that was pegged at 31% in 2010.
Slipping on to second position was the BlackBerry with a 32% share making up the mobile workforce market, slightly dropping from its 35% share seen last year. To some industry experts, BlackBerry’s tumultuous condition comes as no surprise, since Android and iPhone seems to be creating all the rage overshadowing BlackBerry handsets.
According to the notion of iPass, the current setback of BlackBerry is definitely not indicating that it is losing out on its market share, instead it is testifying how its contemporaries are growing in number as well as popularity.
iPass President and CEO Evan Kaplan reportedly admitted in the report, “While increasing iPhone usage in the workplace was inevitable, this is the tipping point when the iPhone has overcome the BlackBerry on its traditional enterprise turf, and business smartphones are in the hands of nearly every knowledge worker, Today’s mobile employees are critical to the success of every enterprise, contributing 240 more work hours a year than their non-mobile counterparts. Connectivity is essential because work is no longer where you go but what you do.”
RIM’s BlackBerry- Slithering off market share to Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone based handsets:
Google’s Android platform also showed some applauding progress rising up from its 2010 market share of 11.3% to 21.3%. Nokia was ranked fourth with 7.4%, dropping down from its leading position last year at 12.4%. Talking about the overall smartphone use, around 95% mobile employees own smartphones that is a 10% leap from the 2010 statistics. Out of these 95% mobile workforce crowds, 91% incorporate mobile devices for performing professional tasks and that is certainly a significant rise from the 69%, recorded during the 2010 survey report.
The survey report further stated that around 18% respondents are planning to purchase Apple devices in 2012, 11.2% to buy Android devices, 3.6% purchasing Microsoft Windows smartphones and just a meager 2.3% in favor of BlackBerry. About 63% enterprises are offering employees wide selections in smartphones while 42% workers meet smartphone expenses on their own, paving way for the raging trend of BYOD or Bring Your own Device for professional use.
With every step of IT development, challenges keep on intensifying. Information Technology, since its inception has come a long way, evolving from the mainframes to the desktop computer age to the modern mobility era that has even supported a broad spectrum of business activities. With time, a considerable number of individuals and business processes are traced as well as automated but IT is yet to come into the grips of a strange fad. That is the innovation line, previously held firmly within the territory of business technology but has now eventually moved into the consumer’s world.
Prolific use of consumer devices and similar on-demand benefits for successful accomplishment of business tasks has led to the rise of the concept of ‘Consumerization of IT’. The modern day consumers are extremely tech-savvy who find it convenient using the several mobile devices on their move. The subsequent surge of consumer-centric innovation is happening within the domain of mobility where mobile applications are allowing immediate access to applications, information and services. All these innovations are putting a potent question to most of the business concerns- “To what extent is mobility important to a business?”
Majority of the IT companies are finding themselves encircled by a host of consumer technologies, shoving their way in. IT is enclosed by an assortment of technologies that wasn’t meant for the social, flexible, thoroughly distributed and mobile way that we are accustomed working with. There is no way that IT can resist from consumerization, but to augment it to provide easy usability, intimacy and immediacy of consumer technology.
Impact of mobility on Information Technology:
Looking at the driving forces of consumerization and thinking about the innovations of mobility, it clearly brings out all the essential trends while raises the potent issues. Mobility has led to advances in devices, wireless networks and applications. In case an IT department determines to adapt to the various methods and alterations of mobility, the business will become consumerized and reap immense benefits and profit. But the road to an entirely consumerized mobile world from the present scenario of IT is a prolonged trip. To realize the value and benefits of mobility, a number of issues need to be addressed. The most important issue perhaps, is the end of the IT monopoly. Now, users are free to select their devices, install suitable applications and work accordingly as and when required.
When generically considered, it has numerous benefits but this freedom too has its own risks. Bringing back the control of monopoly is just not the solution. A wide range of preventions are required to ascertain security while enabling the technology of mobility to improve performance and productivity. An alarming concern is associated with mobility that is the company data flowing across various mobile applications and devices, most of which are not created to meet the standards of the enterprise. It becomes pretty tough to support mobility on one hand, keeping all company data safe and secure on the other-that calls for new and improved approaches.
Superior quality user experience should be ensured for both consumers and employees, absolutely changing the way applications are built. Everything, that is not possible on a website or on a desktop application, must run on a mobile device with a consistent and appealing user experience. Mobility is capable of changing business processes since various types of tasks are shared among locations and people suiting to individual needs and requirements. Certainly, such changes occurring to the business processes may prove to be the biggest impact of mobility, representing a major challenge to the business process design and also to the existing application structures. To tackle these challenges, IT has to be handled differently. Even though the basic goals of security, reliability and speedy accessibility to the best computing links stays the same, new and improved skills, technologies, and processes are also desirable. Fresh approaches to IT service management, enhanced methods of managing devices along with new ideas of creating applications do depict a point of reference for a long journey.
The development story of Mobile Telecommunications Technology:
Many people would like to know about the development story of the Mobile Telecommunications Technology. The technology of mobility operates through 3 layers- devices, applications and networks. Each of the layers have been meticulously planned, innovated and progressed in the past decade. In the field of networking, wireless LAN’s, WAN’s and personal area networks have all led to the formation of a flawless IP network offering superlative ubiquitous connectivity. Mobile devices have progressed in mobile user interfaces, OS technology, processors, displays, and a wide range of latest features like HD and HDMI video recording. Similarly, mobile applications too have evolved from the basic calculators and scratchpads to media players and PDA’s. They are powerful serving as rich getaways to several cloud applications.
- Conversion of all wireless networks is possible now. However, wired infrastructure must be chalked out based on the depreciation of assets.
- Latest innovation like NFC or Near Field communications is paying off well like its previous counterparts like Bluetooth and RFID. The NFC devices are already put to promotional use in France in public transit.
Creation of a mobility strategy:
There is a clear difference between the two facts- developing a mobile strategy focusing on a specific technology that is a detailed reference for employees to find the right platforms, applications and devices. The second one is a typical corporate mobility strategy that assesses how stakeholders get affected due to the use of mobility. To track and attract customers to the fullest, it is important to prepare an agenda that best explains ‘a customer’s mobility voice’. This will help in analyzing where mobility proves to be most beneficial. Those enterprises wanting to set themselves apart in the crowd of millions can enhance customer-life in a substantial way.
- The roles and responsibilities of an organization are bound to change with the entry of mobility. But the goal should be to assist employees in optimizing the way of using mobile technology in association with other applications augmenting the ROI of the company.
- Mobility technology decision is not a one-sided matter. The partner eco-system and customers has a vital role to play where the organization cannot impose a dictatorship on the use of mobility.
Extensive impact of mobility on the Enterprise IT:
The biggest impact of mobility is the way it actually transforms an entire business setting. In the initial stage, mobility is essentially treated as a zing to enhance enterprise processes, making information and applications available more widely. But the benefit of mobility can only be achieved only if it is deeply and systematically analyzed. The system of information technology comprises layers like information, applications and technology infrastructure. Every layer is utilized by various stakeholders, right from vendors, to customers, to suppliers, partners, staffs and executives of the company. Proper and accurate incorporation of all these levels require a holistic approach of mobility.
- Be careful about the users while selecting between rich clients, thin clients along with on-device applications for providing tailored solution to the end users.
- An enterprise app store has all the latest app versions that keep the users informed about the same.
Impact of mobility in the Banking sector:
One of the potential industries is the banking sector where mobility can be applied successfully. Along with their conventional segmentation factors, on the basis of banking transaction process, mobile customers can be categorized as offline branch customers, online tech-savvy customers and highly mobile unbanked Generation next customers. Each of these segmentations has inherent requirements that the banks must address by utilizing prompt business processes focusing on the user’s comfort level and requirements with the technology.
- In order to attract maximum customers, targeted strategies starting from automated to customized wealth management advisories to virtual banking and location based services with cross selling opportunities.
- Leaving behind the simple and traditional banking based services; banks are too utilizing latest technologies like NFC to offer innovative services.
Impact of mobility in the Insurance sector:
The impact of mobility in life insurance, casualty and property could be gauged through the detailed analysis of the insurance value chain which is ready for optimization and redesigning using mobile devices. The various possibilities of telematics applications are assessed with particular suggestions in relevance to marketing, product development, new undertakings and businesses, distribution, account services and management as well as claims.
- Insurance agents can be mobilized helping the companies to rapidly reach new target segments. Agents having full access to information round the clock will only enhance customer experience.
- By assigning more tasks to insurance agents and improving the self service options, insurers can enhance operational efficiencies and lower down customer service calls.
Impact of mobility in the Manufacturing industry:
More and more manufacturing enterprises are foraying their way into mobility for maintaining excellence in their operations. Right from the stage of purchasing to execution to reaching on the store floor, mobile devices are rapidly turning as standard instrument which is incorporated in all critical business processes.
- Broad use of mobility within the manufacturing workplace is soon going to compel enterprises to re-consider some of the technology policies to adapt to this trend.
- A closer evaluation at the manufacturing value chain is indeed essential to analyze where the scope of mobility can be best applied.
Impact of mobility in the Retail industry:
Presently, the retail industry is dominated by the enterprise mobility concept. Mobile technology is clearly transforming the landscape of retail in many ways that wasn’t seen till the rise of e-commerce. Whether it is to accurately predict any customer behavior or to tackle with a global or extended supply chain, mobility has become the need of the hour. Moreover, all business demands for positive customer feedbacks which is the key to all success.
- Mobile retailing should be treated as a complimentary strategy rather than a differentiator.
- Security is one of the major issues as far as mobile retailing is concerned. No customers will shop if there is any risk of leakage of their personal details.
- Retailers should perceive mobility in the form of a unified customer engagement platform.
The ever evolving scenario of the mobility technology:
Going by the example set by the senior analyst of Gartner, we can get a clearer view of the present day business market along with the areas most impacted by mobility. Mobile payments, an area where technology was all set to show its innovation, has failed to succeed in many parts of the world. This is due to lack of co-ordination among the key market players. The research group predicts that by 2015, mobile payments will be seen operating in the mainstream. Growth of mobile technology in other areas seemed as uneven and organic to Gartner. Traditional devices like cars and refrigerators will be integrating chips with mobile communications abilities whereas smart devices like smartphones and other mobile devices will act as remote control that can be tracked, remotely started and even monitored over the online medium.
Garnering the maximum mobility value:
Every industry has to face unique and complex challenges with end results almost the same across the enterprises. Companies strive hard in order to achieve maximum revenue and superior customer service. The concept of mobile technology or enterprise mobility is undoubtedly a compelling discussion matter. To many people this may even seem truly ripe for adoption. Increasingly, more and more businesses are adapting to various mobility technologies and tools to allow their workforce to communicate, collaborate and work efficiently to cater to a wide market segment.
The prime objectives of a business remain the same, irrespective of the industry type. Company goals must revolve around increasing efficiency and productivity levels, improving customer services, finding unique and cost effective operational methods while creating and modifying the existing business models. However, in order to build a successful and profitable business setting, it is essential to keep up with these objectives and maintain consistency in the growth rate of the company. Not to forget the several benefits that a business these days gets out of the technological advancements and innovations, this has entirely transformed the new-age corporate sector.
Just like any other business activity, investing into technology has to be guided by well-defined business goals. To achieve these goals one must closely evaluate both the short term and long term affects of the decision. For instance, venturing in the technology of enterprise mobility can potentially enhance and strengthen business operations to large extent. But then also you need to determine a detailed goal strategy to incorporate enterprise mobility in your organization to accomplish your mission.
Enterprise Mobility strategy- Looking ahead of short term return on investment:
Enterprise mobility brings tremendous value to an organization. However, ROI on a mobile IT roll out is a gradual process. With the help of a detailed and well executed mobile strategy, you can expect maximum ROI on your mobile IT investment and that too, on a long term basis. A well crafted mobile strategy brings out significant and consistent benefits in the organization’s response time, accuracy of operations and productivity.
A mobility strategy wholly prepares an organization environment to get used to mobility across technologies, people and processes. The mobility strategy is designed uniquely by extrapolating the latest opportunities and trends of the mobile technology to suit different organizational needs and requirements. A well tailored mobile strategy enables employees in selecting the right kind of platforms, devices and applications in order to support the enterprise’s mobility plan.
M-powering the organization with the new M2M approach:
Having decided to m-power your organization, you simply cannot ignore explaining about the new-age approach of M2M. Machine-to-Machine solution is a wire-free technique to connect to a diverse network comprising millions of devices for a smooth 2 way communication. Right from turbines to truck to vending machines to heart monitors, M2M enables network ready devices in connecting and sharing real-time reliable data through radio signals. Managed and monitored remotely, M2M automates and eases complex processes in a wide range of industries ranging from healthcare to transportation.
Whether you take the case of Ericsson’s 50 billion connections initiatives or the Machine-to-Machine partnerships of Alcatel Lucent and TeliaSonera, all these instances clearly characterizes the ever-evolving market of enterprise mobility. Potential innovations are also found in smart homes, smart cars along with other smart objects. Taking the automotive industry as an example for simplifying the concept ‘connectivity on the move’, one can see the amalgamation of advance video and audio applications and electronics for the passengers as well as the drivers.
More features are added to these machines when it comes to presenting something to the tech-savvy automotive users that includes video chat, media players, internet radio, wireless music sharing and place shifting among others. Yet another genius innovation of the automotive technology is the Advanced Driver Assistance Solution which is soon to become a standard feature in the near future. Superior integration of advanced driver assistance solutions with an in-car Human Machine Interface augments driver efficiency while eliminating all risks that leads to distractions. Such a mechanism also includes features like pedestrian detection, sleep detection and traffic sign recognition.
Advantages of M-powering:
Those organizations incorporating the M2M approach are getting in-hand results like savings in operational cost, labor and time. M2M and mobility communications can generate productivity, agility and innovation throughout the enterprise. Mobile devices along with other collaborative technologies enable business associates and employees to share real-time information, clear off customer queries while act on the opportunities instantaneously and virtually. For this reason, more and more businesses are recognizing the capabilities of smart applications and devices that can spread valuable information from an environment or a system to form brand new streams of revenue, improve existing products and services by controlling production costs.
The scope of utilizing M2M and mobility options for powering business operations and performance now seems more appealing as well as justifiable. And just like complementary services, mobility can aid organizations in gaining operational competencies by allowing remote access to its core functionality and applications. This can help an organization to generate more revenue by penetrating into new market segments, improve its services, processing capabilities and response timings while eliminate risk with timely information.
Drawing a mobility strategy:
The concept of mobility has evolved from just being a remote data access system to a more advanced location tracking transaction processing. Based on a survey report by IDC, about 73% of the workforce in the US and 30.4% of the world’s workforce will be managing business ins and outs through mobile devices by the end of 2011. With the mobile workforce rising to a whopping 94.4% utilizing Smart-phones for managing both professional and personal tasks, it is high time that the organizations of today define and develop an accurate ecosystem for the adoption of mobility.
Factors that an enterprise mobility strategy should ensure:
- A winsome enterprise mobility strategy should also make sure that the ever evolving landscape of technology doesn’t end up turning the business investments superfluous.
- Mobile strategy ensures the organization with a sustained competitive edge.
- It also ascertains development and implementation of custom applications specifically going with the organization goals and objectives.
- Implementation of mobile strategies also makes sure that the functionality and performance of the existing vital enterprise applications are not getting affecting.
Creation of a mobile ecosystem:
Just like in our natural ecosystem, both biotic (living) and non-biotic (non-living) components are linked together to create harmonious conditions. The same goes in a mobile ecosystem where the main components like suppliers, customers and partners create a group joined by an enterprise’s workforce management and internal technology team. In an organization, partners and suppliers are like the living components as they have to depend a lot on each other and also on the organization. Customers are like non-living components as they are self sustaining, providing life-blood to other components of the ecosystem.
Closely studying the components of the mobility wheel:
The biotic and non-biotic components of the mobile ecosystem acts as mechanisms of a mobility wheel that comprises the bearing represented by the organizational IT operations along with the axis depicted by the workforce. With the stiffening of mobility, the interdependence of the stakeholders within the ecosystem also increases, that often leads to complexity in the way how products and services are offered. To maximize value of organizational products and services, it is always vital to spot and alter business operations to strike a balance between ‘return and risk’ factors to adopt mobility.
Helping the mobile workforce to hone their skills:
It is no secret that an organization’s success completely depends on its employee’s contribution. With mobility intercrossing the different components of an IT enterprise like infrastructure management, application development, business analysis and architecture design, it becomes necessary for the enterprise to redefine the responsibilities and duties of the people utilizing mobile technology. Delegating roles and duties to the employees calls for planning to help them adapt to the various changes brought by the concept of mobility. While planning the new model of mobility, employees of an organization should be given ample training and exposure about its impact and its various facets. Then only they can utilize those skills matching with individual business requirements and demands.
Challenges of Enterprise Mobility:
When it comes to gauging the drawbacks of enterprise mobility, it is not affordability but adaptability that comes as an obstacle in the way of its expansion. Incorporation of mobility into the existing IT setting has to be done meticulously for creating a mobile environment favorable for all stakeholders. As the workforce of an enterprise is the largest group involved into using IT operations, the organizational IT must take necessary steps towards the adaptability of mobile technology by ensuring a flexible and well integrated environment. While forming mobile strategy, IT has a vital role that includes service management, security management, enterprise collaboration, enterprise architecture, device selection and platform integration. In fact, in managing all these broad areas of specialization, the long term deliberative view gets overshadowed. But in a properly devised mobile strategy, IT evaluates technology promptness and acts accordingly as a reliable business advisor.
Listening to what the customers have to say:
Apart from developing a strategic business plan for the enterprise, there should an agenda designed on the lines of business focused on the customer’s mobility voice. This is certainly not a child’s play as customers tend to assume easy and smooth access to applications and information once they find that an organization id going mobile, irrespective of the device, location or time and day. An organization should rather pay heed to the fact where mobility proves most beneficial to the customers and then see if their investments are fetching them enough in terms of ROI.
Achieving promptness in enterprise mobility:
Mobile technology has become a part and parcel of our lifestyle. Consumers across the globe use mobile technology to varying degrees. If any enterprise is not paying ample heed to the concept of mobility, they are simply going to lose out on competition. Therefore, enterprises should measure the promptness of mobility to reduce associated risks while maximizing possible benefits of enterprise mobility solutions. This assessment will help the enterprise authority to understand more about the traits of the technology, create opinions as well as acceptance and select a suitable technology that fits the enterprise’s work culture the best.
The use of mobile technology and mobile applications are increasing at a rapid pace. It has been estimated that the mobile applications would be responsible for a revenue of 15.9$ billion. According to the prediction of Gartner, the reputed organizations would try out the modern applications to seize every opportunity related to sales and marketing.
Sandy Shen, the Research Director of Gartner Inc, stated that “Mobile applications will be a highly competitive marketplace that attracts the interest of many stakeholders,”. He also said that “Increasingly, mobile applications will define the user experience on high-end devices and device vendors that proactively integrate innovative apps and technologies at the platform layer will have the competitive edge.”
Based on the report of Gartner, here are the best 10 mobile applications:
- Location –based services (LBS) – It provides the users of the mobile handset devices customized personal services to the present location of the users. It completely opens up new market avenues for the operators of cellular networks, developers of market and the service providers to create value-added services. Thus it helps the users to find out about the present traffic situation and the new restaurants situated close to their location. It also provides other necessary information as well. According to Gartner report, by the year 2014, its service would be available to 1.4 billion people.
- Mobile Social Networking – It is growing at a rapid pace. The platforms of social networking are absorbing in huge volumes of network traffic. Thus they are emerging to be the portals, cloud storage and transit hubs for a bulk of photos, videos, games, e-mails, commerce and messages. Global social sites in future would service in partnership with the other third parties with the use of the API’s. It would progress at a steady pace and evolve to be the provider of infrastructure.
- Mobile Search – It adverts to the search of the products information as well as price of products. This application allows the users to carry out functions based on the end result. These functions or tasks are, purchasing a ticket, booking of a hotel, making a reservation and others as well.
- Mobile Commerce – Mobile commerce refers to the purchasing and selling of services and products via the mobile handset devices. Mobile functions, such as the option to add any product item to the shopping cart by clicking a photo of a bar code or product in the physical store and making the retailer aware of the fact that the user is present in the store, would be available soon.
- Mobile Payment – The advanced mobile phones with the facility of (NFC Payment) would be more in use by the year 2015, according to Gartner. The providers of the payment solutions need to focus on the factor of easy to use, smooth installation procedures and security as well. They should also work towards the extension of the coverage area of service as per Gartner.
- Context –aware service – It makes use of the information of an individual, such as history, interests, priorities, choices, activities to predict their desired needs and deliver the needed content and service or product. The developers of the mobile handset devices should also incorporate the other factors such as mapping, directory, privacy controls and advertising according to Gartner.
- Object Recognition (OR) – It refers to the task of finding out a given object or a video or image. The sensor capacity and processing capacity of the latest mobile devices identifies the objects of interest as well as the surrounding environment of the user. In the near future, the users would be dependent on the device sensors or the camera as a tool to be used for the purpose of communication at the time when the OR capacity would get merged with the app functions that are traditional in nature. Thus there would be an enhancement in the entertainment and search functionality.
- Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) – It refers to the technology that lets the users of the mobile handset device to access the instant messaging service with the use of the Smartphones. Gartner’s expectation is that the MIM would shift the attention of the consumers to the advanced types of UC clients (Unified Communication) that are provided by the providers of OTT (Over the top) service, like the Skype.
- Mobile e-Mail – It refers to the e-mailing services provided by the mobile handset device. Gartner predicts that the users of the mobile e-mail service would increase to 713 million by the year 2014. Thus it would account for 10.6 percent of the global use.
- Mobile Video – It refers to the viewing of a video on a mobile device. Large screens of the mobile phones makes video watching a pleasurable experience. The media tablets also serve the same purpose. According to Gartner, the carriers of mobile should establish partnership with the providers of video, such as the YouTube, to make it possible for the users to reproduce their own Internet functions on the mobile devices. The manufacturers should also work towards the integration of the 3D and HD capabilities into the mobile devices according to Gartner.
Look out for more new mobile technology trends that would dominate the market this year as well as in the coming years.