The Battle for the Mobile Ecosystem

By Chris Marsh, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Mobility, Yankee Group — October 28, 2013

This past year has been a tipping point for enterprise mobility. Yankee Group’s Empowered Employee September survey data shows that 78% of all smartphones being used in the workplace are personally owned. It also shows that 31% of employees currently use consumer productivity apps for work.

This heterogeneity has created several critical pain points with our surveys highlighting how security, complexity and cost top the list.  As enterprises try to become more strategic around their mobility projects, the battle to create a true mobile ecosystem escalates.
 
No Foundation = No Strategy
The challenges above result in a lack of a broad and extensible common foundation for both mobility management solution creation, and make it very difficult to establish strategy for more effective workflows across multiple stakeholders.  Enterprises need a wider ecosystem to make mobility work, the components of which should be as follows.
 

  • Enterprise mobility management (EMM): Enterprises require an integrated EMM platform providing security and policy management across the full technology stack.
     
  • Private app store: With the number of applications being deployed in the corporate environment growing, enterprises need a private internal store to enroll users and publish and manage their apps.
     
  • Advanced device productivity features: Native features like an integrated stylus, mobile wallets and biometrics can extend the utility of the device, but the mobile enterprise also needs accessories providers such as plug-in mobile point-of-sale terminals, multiple device charging stations and attachable whiteboards.
     
  • A solution partner ecosystem: In order to scale their mobile projects enterprises need both a marketplace of “off-the-shelf” application providers and a community of solution partners — for example, providers of productivity and collaboration solutions, field and sales-force technologies; point-of-sale solutions and mobility lifecycle vendors.
     
  • A channel: Enterprises may want to work with integrators, developer agencies, VARs and carrier partners in the build or management of their mobile solutions drawing on all of the above.
Manufacturers Join the Fight
All of this already exists I hear you say. Yes, indeed it does, but the onus has fallen to enterprises themselves to patch together barely compatible proprietary services into expensive and time consuming solutions or to contract a consulting partner to do it for them.
 
However, as smartphones and tablets have become legitimate enterprise computing devices, Apple, Samsung, Blackberry and Microsoft have realized the need to extend their native EMM controls across the full technology stack. From protecting their OS kernel at the bottom of the stack, to the mobile app data and content, and with growing support beyond to the actual mobile users themselves through advanced security features such as face recognition and biometrics, the device manufacturers join the fight to win more of their share of the enterprise.
 
Yankee Group’s IT Decision-Maker data shows that only 4% now believe Blackberry will be their preferred platform in two years time, and only 13% Windows Phone, with Android gaining 43% mindshare and iOS 39%, Apple and Samsung have room to carve out their mobile enterprise ecosystems.
 
With Apple already having a strong base among the enterprise and Samsung building out its Knox security solution and recently launching it’s Solutions Exchange, we are seeing the start of the first ecosystem wars of the mobile enterprise.

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