In his groundbreaking 2002 book "The Tipping Point," author Malcolm Gladwell talks about the sociological perfect storms that leads to sweeping change, whether in society or in business. He compares the widespread adoption of products, ideas or technologies to a biological epidemic: even the smallest things can get them started. His argument is that "things can happen all at once, and little changes can make a huge difference."
Why am I thinking about a six-year-old book today? Because I'm wondering whether the confluence of activity we're seeing in the enterprise world is bringing us near the "tipping point" for mobility in the enterprise. Forrester research predicts that nearly 73% of workers will be mobile by 2012. Mobile information workers will make up 34% of all employees, according to Forrester. Smartphone-savvy young workers entering the business world in the next five years are likely to ratchet up expectations of mobility, while "prosumers" of all ages are making use of wireless in the workplace every day.
End-user organizations are viewing their mobile and wireless deployments and key brand differentiators that give them a leg up on their competition. A major engineering firm, KN Networks Services, recently told me it had gained key business contracts in part because its deployment of mobile handhelds for field service techs made it look more "technology forward" than its competitor. A big part of Henry Ford Health Systems' pervasive wireless undertaking is to enable its new wireless Guest Access that enables patients to use their laptops and other wireless devices throughout its facilities, which is already having an impact on the organization's patient-satisfaction ratings.
Economic woes and high fuel prices are causing enterprises of all stripes to seek solutions that save time, improve productivity, save money and ultimately benefit the bottom line -- things that mobility is particularly adept at delivering.
So, are we there yet? When will enterprise mobility reach its tipping point? Will 2009 be "the year"? Email your thoughts to Editor@MobileEnterpriseMag.com