What does the future of enterprise mobility look like?
Change brought by enterprise mobility
Technology is not only changing the way we work but also where and when we work. Enterprise mobility means employees also have the freedom and flexibility to conduct work from anywhere using a variety of devices and applications.
Gone are the days where employees were restricted to work from the office using a fixed designated device. Now organisations are encouraging and giving employees the opportunity to be flexible in their work approach by being more mobile. Enterprise mobility means employees are enabled and encouraged to use mobile devices, tablets, personal laptops – anything they please – to carry out their work duties. Ever since 2007, when modern smartphones and tablets entered the market, professionals across different industries quickly adapted to using them for business purposes.
Nurses, for example, pass information to their colleagues through message apps about when they are changing shifts, those working in sales send customer pitches on their phones, police officers replaced notebooks with more secure and reliable digital devices. Mobile phones are used in various work environments as they became both portable and powerful.
So, the burning question is: what does the future of enterprise mobility look like?
The power of the device
Soon there will be more active cellphones than there are people in the world. These devices have changed how we bank, shop, entertain, travel, learn and interact with customers and employees. Meaning that customers, suppliers, partners – no matter who or where they are – want access to everything, and they want it immediately.
Enterprise mobility changes the entire way business functions, the connection it has to employees, workflow automation, as well as engagements with customers. If companies want to be successful, a proper enterprise mobility management (EMM) plan needs to be at the centre of a company’s strategy going forward. With this in mind, it is also crucial to enforce Identity and Access policy to optimise security and efficiency of consumption of corporate resources.
When an organisation embraces enterprise mobility the changes it brings to the business can be dramatic. Business activity will likely increase exponentially, and it will mean always staying connected to customers. Workforces will need to communicate to back-end systems, and a balance needs to happen between employee and customer privacy requirements with increased digital security measures taking place.
Infrastructure will need to be robust enough to support various devices, apps and the Internet of Things (IoT). The only way to mitigate the risks these changes will bring is to stay prepared with a great thought out EMM plan in place.
An organisation’s EMM strategy revolves around three core policy management functions. It needs to engage customers in innovative ways, it must boost employee productivity and connectivity, and it must enrich the business with new innovative services.
Looking to the future
A proper EMM plan also needs to be flexible to incorporate the changes technology will bring. Previously organisations approached EMM by focusing exclusively on how to make their solutions work on different mobile devices. While still important, this approach is no longer sufficient to cater to a company’s EMM needs. As technology continues to evolve so must its management plans.
Tess Hanna’s article in Best Practices draws attention to the notion that it is impossible to predict how mobility will change in ten years; a good EMM strategy can still prepare organisations for the future. It must focus less on managing mobile devices and look instead toward three key areas which will enhance EMM in the years to come. These are the integration of the internet of things (IoT), a greater emphasis on security and a rise in prominence of artificial intelligence (AI).
The internet of things
By 2020 it is estimated that 24 billion IoT devices are expected to connect to the internet. Promising a new level of digitisation, this will impact how businesses interact with suppliers and customers. EMM plans will need to look at developing and managing new apps to control all these newly connected endpoint devices. Using an EMM solution in conjunction with IoT can be beneficial for organisations. It opens up possibilities for greater employee engagement and customer satisfaction. For example, retail stores can use Bluetooth signals from their customer’s phones to determine where they spend most of their time in store and employees can arrange the stock accordingly.
Focus on security
When putting together an EMM plan one of the main focus areas should be on safety. Unprotected mobile devices are easy prey for hackers, and one severe attack can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, protecting the privacy of employees and customers is crucial. A good EMM plan can help companies to roll out security features such as anti-virus apps and encryption methods as well as being able to remotely turn off and delete any data on a stolen device.
Just like IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more prominent and if planned can work well with EMM. AI can improve decision-making workflow, employee experience and communication flow. If organisations don’t prepare for AI, they risk getting left behind. According to a survey done by MOBI on 100 US IT decision makers at companies with 5000 employees and more, 88% are currently undertaking or planning on conducting AI-driven automaton efforts. These companies said AI was their number one enterprise mobility priority in the next five years. Among these companies, 75% said they had already seen a return on investment.
The time to act is now
Research suggests that global EMM revenues will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25% through to 2021. A survey of 2114 global IT leaders by Forrester Research found that the implementation of EMM is going to expand by 77% of telecom decision makers. How organisations address this challenge could prove instrumental in protecting the enterprise’s ability to thrive in this new environment.
So, the take-home note is that now is the time for IT leaders to fine-tune their organisation’s enterprise mobility management plans and look at the opportunities it can bring to move the business forward.